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Shoulds and Shoulders

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For Mamoru Osiko, who asked me to say hello to the Sky:

I had a long argument today...
Whilst sitting by the 
surcharging charging airport port,
shouldertoshoulder with this pastor.

Delayed flight and low juice
kept us there, squared off;
shoulder to shoulder.

He with his Righteousness,
me with my Right View.
He with all his carefully tended and
Sunday-stoked Fighteousness,
me with my caringly intended and
Hyundai-broke plighteousness.
He with credentials, 
me with my inconsequentials.
He with his Holy Spirit,
me with my holey heart.

He in the collar,
me in a cat tee.

Both with headphones:
He on a FaceTime with family,
me with my Bose®-
drowning out the mechano-industrial buzz.

We argued for 70 minutes:
He laughing and story-sharing with
folks in his living room.
Me in my head with a shadow over my

railed against "Cardboard Cathedrals."
reflected on getting to Heaven on a "sugared diet."
said the Arts are the "Foam of Civilization" -
the sweets after the steak.
remembered the rotundity of Pastor Violette.

Never sharing a word
or a view
(or a point of view),
we sat shoulder to shoulder.

Now aboard, a middle manager
in the middle seat
repeatedly using my arm as a cushion
for momentary instants.
And then, the inevitable 
startling himself to
a less-drooly upright.
Followed by a temporary
recommitment to upright vigilance.

The couple in front,
latched in by a seat belt extender,
share a game of solitaire
on a tablet.
Its unwrit rules of Love
make me think perhaps
it's the one Moses lost...
They are so aware
and spend that awareness on compassion
and that compassion reveals itself at least
as often as I am shoulder-wetted.
All-too-ready with a laugh,
and a double-check on me if their seat
shifts even the slightest.
"Am I OK?  I'd be happy to move it back.
Twisting their twin corpulessences
from Economy row D
to Economy's row E,
which is me,
to offer a snack and 
then a stick
of gum
or a tissue, if I so much
as sniffle.

The girl on the far side, an
exemplar of postural consistency,
has earbuds in- 
stares ahead,
her complexion battered and
her countenance an unwavering,
unwaving Memorial Pool.
Her opinion of anything, it seems:
unfavoring, unsavoring.
Her thoughts lost in
her mental cookery:
white rice, white potatoes.
No salt, no seasoning.
The sullen vapidity of unflavoring.

She carefully (so carefully!)
eases her adjustable armrest down
between her and he in need of sleep-
The better to avoid the societally
enforced and awkward faux-explanation
rite to the middle-aged middleman in the middle seat to her left- 
and-but-yet still ensure a dry 

I return to reading:
something about a poverty park.
In disrepair and worse...
City life.  Standard report.
Bureaucracy and battlings.
But the next sentence
(Thank you, The Times.)
rockets out of nowhere,
a lyric left to my head!
I am rollicked and wracked with 
well not with City Desk prose.
"Mrs. McQueen reared back and leaned against the universe."
Then snap-back like
a defiantly non-sleepy neck,
to city council meeting reviews
and man-on-the-street interviews.

and me? 
I'm thinking of a man I know,
'bout expectations never met,
'named' Mamoru and whose name,
like everyone, is surely someone else-
lost or buried or hid or forgot.

and me?
I'm singing Sanskrit to the Sky.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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