Persona Non Grata
"Hi, handsome," sweet Karen the waitress says.
"The number two with mashed," is handsome's reply.
"What to drink?" next from Karen.
"Iced tea," the restaurant patron says.
Mr. "handsome" doesn't feel very handsome.
He has his meal as usual and leaves his tip.
Slices of life, vignettes fill up a collage.
Let me give you a sense of the life I live,
the spry writer thinks.
There: a good deed done in one place
(is written about),
a tryst in another (is described), and
a tale of a disgruntled employee in yet another.
If I am afraid to walk in a crime-ridden
neighborhood, what are the thoughts
in the inhabitants' minds?
They wish to mug or attack me.
Am I welcome or unwelcome?
An unemployed warehouse worker is a
persona non grata in a suburban mall.
In short, the very poor.
The rich have to live.
I'm not well-off, myself.
I hesitate at a suburban mall.
I have a mind.
I think.  I reflect.
Karen can call me handsome.
I know what streets I feel comfortable on.
Elitism and snobbery are the factors here.
I work as a bookstore manager.
"I can't afford to buy books,
but I'm here," a customer in light jeans
and a flower-patterned blouse says.
"I have a hundred credit cards,"
a rich bitch declares on another day.
"Oh, well, I'm spending some disposable
income," the jocular one who's practicing
his jocularity says at the counter to an
acquaintance right behind.
Business, business, is all I care about.
There's war on TV.
We're sending troops overseas to kill.
I was so proud of myself when I
finally figured out what causes war.
Emotions get out of hand.
Whole groups of people fail to discuss
and debate logically.
The mind thus reaches for a weapon
to resolve the dispute.
Agreement and disagreement become irrelevant.
We must bear all trouble to the maximum.
I'm going to stay in my bookstore.
I'm going to do my manager's duties day to day.
I shall decide on the whole human race.
Everybody strives to keep their own bookstores
in order, to live for today.
If I stray from my manager's seat,
I proceed at my own risk.
My bookstore manager's eyes are all
that count in this rotten world.
Have you felt welcome?
I do not advise you to dare where you do not.

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frederic
Poetry
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