In the Cruel Nature of Things

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer

In the Cruel Nature of Things

The fat man
Egg-shaped body
small feet at one end and
small bald head at the other
Walking down the city street
in a white golf shirt and gray pants
Feeling just right about how
he’s pulling off
City Dweller
but
they could tell him that
they spot him right away
as a fake.
It’s just something they know,
him being an outsider and having no herd
he belongs to
And so he’s prey
Something he doesn’t know
yet.

 

egg-shaped fellow, mail art postcard, 2013.

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6 thoughts on “In the Cruel Nature of Things

  1. Well I can definitely identify with that feeling of being an outsider. I spent over a decade in a tiny, remote town where it didn’t matter how involved in the community you were (and I was very/too involved) because, if your family hadn’t been there for generations, you were definitely not local and were an outsider. And now, of course, as an immigrant, I stick out like a sore thumb as an outsider. Even if nothing else gave me away, my accent certainly does. Unlike your subject, however, my solution is to not even attempt to blend in or feign insider status. If I am an outsider then so be it. Far more confidence comes from being one’s authentic self than in adopting the facade of belonging anyway.

  2. Yes, I know that feeling of being outside myself, my accent also marking me in my adopted home for the last 40 years. But you know, in this poem, I also think, how do we know this fat man might not turn out to have a nice big bite himself? I think of people who, when their dogs run up to me and jump around, say, oh, don’t worry, he is friendly, and I think, how do you know I am??? Appearances can deceive…

  3. I think how you are feeling inside is the most important thing. Rejection doesn’t work if the person being rejected doesn’t notice it. And if you feel like an outsider, you are, whether others perceive you that way or not.

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