April 15, 2008

NaPoWriMo Day 15

Finally caught up! Hooray!

Untitled (Portrait)
He is an expert in idealism
not academically, but
his whole self is trapped
in his bleeding-hearted passion

How does he know nothing of cynicism?
How are his illusions
so perfectly preserved in
the burning arrows of statistics,
of polished rhetoric, of thorough research?

He is forty-five and somehow lacks
any experience beyond
his library card and internet connection
but for all his reading
he limits himself to agreements
can't finish a work of dissent.

No job, never a job
dropped out at sixteen
welfare kept him out of hunger
since his father's death five years ago
Welfare, the single greatest
anti-poverty tool in history
after social security, that is

Perhaps the most privileged poor person
on earth, he survives by needing
only books, only chat rooms
only ramen, only cigarettes
like a college student, but
knowing even less,
learning even less,
trying even less

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