Wisdom Is Free


The prompt:           The poem:  Conversation With Myself At A Street Corner

                                         Everette Maddox


I talk with myself all the time.  I used to give people the old Bert and I joke when they ask why I do it.  “I like to speak to an intelligent man, and I like to hear an intelligent man speak.”  They chuckle, write me off as a complete loony, and I get to go on my merry way.

The fact of the matter is, I use these moments to arrange random thoughts and try to get myself organized.  It hasn’t worked out so well, but hope springs internal.  As I mouth words to myself, I try to draw ideas out of my subconscious.  I know, I am utterly convinced, that the answers to all of peoplekind’s questions are floating around in the vast reaches of my brainpan. That idea doesn’t scare me as it does some others, but it does infuse me with a sense of obligation to the world to come up with answers.  I am utterly convinced that my inner intellectual is sitting in there, just waiting to be invited to say a few words on the fate of the world, or the direction to the center of the universe, or how to solve the problems centered around the US national debt.  I’ll give you that one for free.  Move.  Just pack up and move to another country, preferably not Greece, but one perhaps just as pretty but fiscally slightly more conservative.  Did I mention that I want to move to Prague?  Leave the wasteland that the US will become before too long.

Did I mention in the abstract to this article that I am a personal optimist, but a social pessimist?  The basic tenet of this philosophy is that the whole world is going to Hell at a rapid pace, but I will survive and thrive amidst the chaos. Good luck, and could I please have another sausage sandwich, prosim?

This verbiage is flowing onto the page seemingly at a randomly rapid pace.  I do stop now and then to consider my words quite carefully, but it is always possible to overthink things, so I have to be careful lest my motives be misconstrued.  There actually is no motive, as you will realize if you refer back to my personal philosophy in the last paragraph.

The talking to myself that got me into this train of thought will probably get me an invitation to a bed at the Brattleboro Retreat, which is a lovely place for drug addicted folks and doddering old fools, which is what society calls those who talk to themselves.  The biggest attraction of the Retreat as I have heard tell is the petting zoo, which was added to keep the residents calm and compliant.  I can see the appeal of spending the day just sitting with a pet bunny in your lap, or staring down a baby pig.

The train of thought here seems to be indicating a lack of focus on the task at hand.  I’m supposed to be showing the world of writers how brilliant I can be if poked with a sharp prompt.  What I seem to have done instead is to put my brain in neutral to coast a bit.  The lesson tonight just may be that there are limits to what you can do in any one span of time.  The expectations of those around me are going to take a hit if I keep it up, and I will be exposed in all of my human weakness to be just another clothed larval life form waiting and hoping for enlightenment.  Welcome to my world.

That would have been the perfect closing line for this sitting, but the expectations, both internal and external, revolve around writing for a set amount of time.  As that set amount has not yet been reached, I will have to extemporize.

Back to the talking man.  These days, seeing someone speaking in a slightly raised voice walking down the street or through the local grocery is perfectly normal.  We understand Bluetooth.  Consider, however, the impact of all these fellow travelers on the poor folks who are speaking without the aid of electronic device, and still feel the need to put voice to the thoughts running through their heads.  We walk down the sidewalk talking with someone who may be on the other side of the planet, glance to our right at the guy with his cap in front of him, sitting on the sidewalk, talking away just as we are.  We don’t consider that he may be vocalizing the cure for cancer or a path to world peace. The judgment leaps to our thoughts without that intellectual filter that we all seem to lack these days. “I’m talking to someone important here, crazy man, could you please keep it down or take it to another town?  Hmm?  Please?  And, no, I’m not going to give you my hard earned money.  If you want some, get a job like I have and you’ll be fine.  Now, shoo.”   Back to the conversation with the person on the other side of the world.

Which of these is the crazy one, and which enlightened?


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