Friday, May 21, 2010

The Word Thief

Cleaning up old files, I am running across some of my older writings and so I'll post a few I feel like sharing and don't think have been placed on the blog before. This one is from June of 2007, apparently after someonewhoshallremainnameless came to visit. My sister and I had a discussion about this person not long ago and I am finding over time that I can be softer on him as I find out more about what probably made him this way.

The Word Thief

Zeroing in on familiar territory
Her guard down despite experience
He slithers in between sheet and sentences
Allowing her to think she is being heard
But only for a moment
A brief one
And then even all feigned interest
Is dropped

He steals the meaning
Removes the weight and importance
Until, while lips left moving
Even the air gets stuck
And what she set out to say
Loses all meaning
And eventually all sound
Until she herself
Can no longer hear
Anything of import inside her head

Disguised as “helpful feedback”
He offers to share her story
From his perspective
(as if he could)
Providing minor corrections
And tangents from her account
Taking it impressively from her
To here to there

He offers
His observations
Of her shortfalls
Her twitches and excessive blinking
And his theory on why she can’t spell
And why her marriage failed

And then takes over
All conversation

At this moment he is going on
About what his classmate’s
Three sons,
Each of them,
Got degrees in and
What they
Are well known for
And how he met a man
On a train
Who was a General’s advisor
And how he straightened out
A young man’s misconception
On why the vultures
Who eat off the flesh
Of dead Parsi Indians
Are becoming extinct
And how many species of fish
He has recorded
And, with a “you are so silly smile”
Why it is foolish to believe in God
Even if it were to mean
He could be with his bride
Her mother, some day,
And all she gave him
Was an opening
To her world
Which he
Didn’t want

She witnesses his crime
As he commits it against others too
Two excited innocents
Share with him their sightings
And he, in his purest himness
Says “oh, I am from here.
I see those (only more
And bigger)
All the time”
I tell him that he should have been
More gracious
More enthusiastic in their joy
He laughs and says “I know”
I shudder

My father
In rare admission
Of any fault at all
“I tend to pontificate
On factual matters”
And I can’t believe my bravery
As I look at him and say
“No shit!”

I am trying to wrap my heart in cheesecloth
Because I miss my mother
I “un hunh…un hunh”
Feigning acknowledgement
Of pontifications
Trying to ignore
The pushing of my own voice
That wants to tell him
To shut the fuck up
I really couldn’t give a shit
We’ve been here before

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