when the first smart boy was born

im quite sure they never thought it would turn out

to be me

how mistaken it turns out they were

for emerging from my mothers womb

i proceeded at once to begin to startle the world

it was the last thing i was known to do correctly

as they say

but this has in general been true of smart boys

throughout the aeons

we are neither particularly liked understood nor rewarded

for our peculiar and unsought distinction

but then we seek no reward and recognize

the impossibility of success and fame            whether

they be eventual accidental or merely historical

we do like to drink lots of good coffee and

smoke sinister types of cigarettes

but we are not interested in hurting anybody

so you see we are not as smart as we could be


it is difficult to be a smart boy

it is difficult to be a jew

it does not help if you never have any money

so we seek your unmerited kindness

to see us through the savage incomprehensibilities

for the years we have been granted

on this most peculiar and unpeaceful planet

therfore we are thankful for the smallest and most modest

of miracles that occasionally befall us

the typewriter that works after many years in homeless shelters

a lousy job that lets us pay our rent and a

landlord who out of pity kindness or incomprehension

is generally willing to accept the money             not of course

without the little mano a mano struggle

that goes with landlord/tenant love affairs


so you see

it is not that we have nothing to be thankful for

sometimes we unrightfully envy the success of the stupid

until we realize it is so far beyond our reach

that the sentiment is the ultimate possible waste of time


and so we stumble on through the peculiarities of our history

and try not to make too much trouble for anyone

with decades of pain and practice we begin at last

to achieve a few little successes this way

we begin to eat and defecate properly

wear clothes with minimal tears and stains when

we go among the planetary lunatics who

inhabit all civilised communities

we are careful only to take with us only so much

money as we can afford to spend lose or be robbed of

we are no longer surprised that no one cares to talk to us

we try hard to memorize a few essential rules

we have been forced by life circumstances to learn

and hope our smartness will not interfere with

our coming home safe sound and still a little sane


(VAYETZE                       AND JACOB WENT OUT)


All material: Copyright Big Step Down 2009.