Monday, April 6, 2009

Bit players*

Like Sandburg’s fog
fractured conversations
would move in,
and on, in their minds:

“They shape our personal stories --
these hardy hands
in factories and fields…."

“They create wealth and histories
not yet their own…."

“Except in true red zones,
they remain nameless
invisible to bourgeois mores….”


Back then, they thought -- and they struggled --
that their lives were petty and feckless
like the bit parts that bit actors profess
they only suffer for food on the table.

They imagined themselves progressives
taking on lead roles for love of the masses.
They referred day to day to little red books
presuming the act bestowed vanguard status.

Down the long road, slowly stripped of dogma
layer by layer, they learned in practice --
there are really no bit roles, only bit players.
They serve the people -- even teachers in classes.

Perhaps the flaws they've unraveled
will better inform future journeys
of new travellers

now less naive.

*Chapter 2, Fractured Memories

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