Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Wonder of Naming

Proposed Antiphon: Take time to understand

The men and women sit around on plastic chairs
They wear boots held together with packing tape
Their socks mostly don’t match
Their pants are dark and worn, but not torn.
You won’t get sent out, if your pants are torn.
They are washed and clean shaven
You won’t get sent out, if you are scrufty.
The bosses don’t like it.
There is soap and razors if you need them.
Soap and razors for those who can’t afford them.

One or two of them will talk – will talk a lot
These are the new ones, the ‘I have a dream’ ones
The egotists, the scammers, the ‘cover-it-with talk’ ones
The rest say only what they must
They are silent, and mostly still
They are here to work

They sit around and wait for someone to call their name
It may be the only time they hear their name all day
Unless someone at home speaks it
Whatever home is for them
Wherever they go at night
Other than that, they are nameless

It is bad to make attachments
A waste of time to litter your mind with names
Names of people who don’t want to be here
Names of people who don’t want to be remembered here
Names of people who will go, and you will never see again
Names of lost people, people like you

Oh they have names
Names that are important to the bosses
Names that are called out sometimes to go work
Names that must appear on checks or vouchers
And in reports and tax forms
And sometimes in legal documents
That take what little they earn

But mostly they have bodies
Legs and arms to lift and carry
Hands to grasp and open and close
Brains are not required
And names are just labels anyway
They could just as well be numbers

But sometimes life breaks through;
Someone stops, and smiles, and the smile is returned
Someone speaks a name
A name for no reason
A name that shows someone remembered
A name that shows that someone cared
Enough to add your name to the list
To their personal litany of remembrance

Whether you are lost, or not.

No comments: