August 2012



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P Facets


Barely a wisp of a Boy.
Cold steel eyes with a level gaze
Contain the naivety of a child
And the weariness of an adult.

Gentle gestures,
His hand given to help me up
And shoulder proffered to lean on.
Offered up CD player to share a song,
We could discuss its meanings all ride long.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw
The dull steel eyes light up in interest.
He always questioned.
What was going on in my life?
Why did I look upset?
Why would I continue practices
That make me unhappy?

Not long after that I noticed
The shift from interest to an intense watching
In those liquid steel eyes.
He was assigning everything a value placement.
The world was black and white.

His sister was smart and going places;
He was destined to fail.
His mother was fragile and gentle;
His father was dirt that shouldn’t live.
Women were good and in need of protection;
Men were destructive demons that hurt without remorse.

There was danger in him.
My awareness grew of his
capacity to hurt.
Behind caring and genuine worry
Hid a calculating mind.

Selective concern for others,
    “A worthy few most precious,
All the others no more than pitiful bugs.”
He is moved to violence against them without hesitation.



Author's Notes:

I've talked and written a lot about this poem in the past.  Part of that is because I think its probably one of the first really good things I've written where there isn't any "but" after the "good".  I mean it is the first profile poem I've ever written, in fact as of 2007, it is still the only profile poem I've written.  It's also really my first narrative in that it tells a progression from point A to point B.  Before this its all about emotions or commentaries on society or some sort of personal self absorbed drabble.  What would lead me to write something like this? 

Initially it was this one kid I met in IEP Sean, who sparked this work.  He was quiet and sensitive and shy.  He didn't really socialize well and hung out with mostly Kathleen and I.  We got to know him well.  And I can remember feeling there being a fine line between his gentliness with us and his general hostility and desire to harm the world.  He was a good kid.  Like most people he kept those destructive desires in a tight leash, just every now and then I'd see it slip and there would be this cold look in his eyes (those eyes are really a large part of what I'm trying to capture in the work, that and the feeling that it gave me)...  He hadn't shown any inclination to being violent at all, in fact, if anything he seemed passive and highly tolerant of other being assholes, but the idea was in my head.  This little profile here, is sort of about him.  Its sort of about a lot of men I know, as I pulled from a couple of other boys for bits and pieces.  Still the CD song and the discussions and the eye color, that's all Sean. 

Honestly, I think its pretty good.  It pulls the reader in.  There is a good balance between showing and telling.  The ending is creepy.  The poem sort of flows out and isn't too choppy or forced.  You know, all that important jazz.