trapped in opposition

Trapped in Opposition

He shows up
in line
behind me
in the
upper county
Safeway in a
suit & tie
wearing a
name tag
beard & a
ponytail.
An incongruous
combination,
but he’s
in transition
after years of
fist in
the air &
piecemeal employment.

 

Hey Waco, I say
(it’s the only
name I know him by)
looks like you
came in
from the cold.

 

He doesn’t
laugh his
normal laugh,
he frowns
instead &
adjusts his
new company
glasses.

 

Yeah, I finally
came to my
senses, he says.

 

You saw
the light,
I say.
You bought the
full enchilada.

 

That’s right
he says,
neither humored
nor insulted.
Full medical
sick pay
paid vacation
retirement.

 

Waco held out
longer than
most,
he’s in his
40s,
but it’s not
a matter of
holding out,
it’s a matter
of being
something else.
It’s what pissed
me off about
the hippies,
even as I
frolicked among
them sporting
my own
long hair &
beard.

 

Maybe it’s time
you get your
act together too,
says Waco.

 

Too late for me
I say.
I’ll just have to
forgo the
benefits.

 

I had my
groceries sacked
by this time,
& as I was
leaving I
tapped him
on the shoulder
with my fist
like in the
old days.

 

He pulled back
& brushed the
sleeve of his
suit coat,
like it was
swarming with
stigma.

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