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The Last American Outcast
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bipoet001 posted:

The Last American Outcast

So I went to the Smithsonian
and sought out the lunch counter
taken from the Woolworth's in Birmingham
some fifty years ago.
Slipping under the velvet rope
I pick the pink leatherette stool on the end
and wait to be served.

All these weirdos
the stench of outcasts stlll lingering in the air
catsup hemorrhaged like blood thickened by the musk of history,
me, the last of them
here
right in their spectral midst.
I had never known nor ever even imagined
for a heartbeat
that it would come down to a person like me.

The curator is called
and comes clicking swiftly perplexed.
"You are in a restricted area. What do you want?" she says in a stage whisper.
"To be served…like the others", I say.
"But you 're not even black…" she pleads quietly.
"No, and I am not Irish or Muslin or paraplegic…they all would be served."
"Who are you? What do you want?"
" Just a stuffed tomato with chicken salad …and perhaps an ice tea, no lemon."
" Who are you?" she asked again,
cocking her head like a chicken looking for defects unseen to her naked eyes.
"I'm a mentally ill American. "

Her eyes widen and she speaks quickly into her phone calling for back-ups.
"I have legal rights. You cannot discriminate",
by then, suited men pick me effortlessly off the sacred pink artifact and carry me away.
I glance back at the ghosts,
eating grilled cheese sandwiches and sipping cokes
clinking glasses together…the Jews, Gays and Latinos.

My time has not yet come.
The last outcast in America,
not welcome at the great lunch counter of this free and accepting land.
Reply
 
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ibex7 responded:
And don't forget a free paper cup of flat root beer. . . .

if you paid for yours, yesterday.
Sometimes you don't mean to say what you mean to say you mean.
 
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slik_kitty responded:
very good. did you write that?
 
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bipoet001 replied to slik_kitty's response:
Yes. There was a NAMI writing contest and I entered. It was published in my local newsletter than several others asked to use it. I've tried hard within my life and career to express stigma. This poem seemed to hit home with many, so I shared it here. I haven't posted in a while, are poems allowed? David
 
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monkeybee replied to bipoet001's response:
Beautifully written and such powerful words to stand up for us...thank you for sharing this!
 
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slik_kitty replied to bipoet001's response:
of course poems are allowed.
 
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ibex7 replied to bipoet001's response:
Your product is truth and meter, David. Thanks - Goat
Sometimes you don't mean to say what you mean to say you mean.


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