Tuesday, December 22, 2015

DUMB SHOW

In the cold streets, 
I watch them pass me neat 
and swiftly,

carried on two stiff bits of sticks
toward various green leathery 
destinations—rumpled behind desks, 

or else shining, golden and 
auspicious somewhere, over
substantially heavy polished counters—

the old man faces. These
supposed geniuses of our race,
whose noses flair, gravely

exhaling smoke and fire and iron 
across the quaffed silver arches 
of their vast incombustible mustaches.

And yet, I cannot resist 
giggling a little 
to imagine—their children,

or, more likely, their 
children's children! Somewhere 
warm and safer—perhaps

back at home, if they're 
lucky—but with infinitely more convincingly
austere looks upon their faces

than these scowls now parading
past me can muster. 
For here, I suddenly feel cocky

and confident,
that no mask 
can affect the true look of solemnity, 

which isn't still malleable 
enough to render 
into realistic expression

just how severely 
frivolous—is 
the whole masquerade.

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