What "the Man" Said

(Unrevised from a poetry workshop. The object was to use a repeated phrase as a springboard for stream-of-conscious writing.)

The man said,
From the height of his mountain,
"You alone can prevail
Against the waves of savage circumstance,
Against all infirmiry [sic],
Over all your demons
Which swarm like ants upon the leaves
Of your wisdom.
I charge you, each of you,
You alone,
Not some God or TV scam."

The man said,
"I am hungry,
For my senses have been castrated,
Cauterized with the false bliss of ignorance.
I am blind and deaf to all but memory,
And my memory consists of groping through the dark."

The man said,
"Save your soul through Jesus!"
I change the channel instinctively.

The man said,
"Leave me alone! I don't need your sympathy!"
Struggling with his wheelchair up a handicapped ramp.
A sticker on the back of the chair said,
"Leave, follow, or get out of the way!"

The man said,
"Why do I always have to
Be the one to start things?
Why can't she initiate the conversations?"

The man said,
"Give me liberty or give me death!"
But there is no free lunch,
We must play our hand
As it is given.

The man said,
"Stop. Pencils down."

George Chadderdon © 1996