Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Poetry—When You Wear a Hat as Long as This One

The hat was brand new on New Years Day 2002 when we gathered at the Art Institute cafeteria before heading over to a Lake Front anti-war vigil — with Michael Brennan, Ira S. Murfin, and Arlene Brennan.  at Art Institute of Chicago 

From the And-Now-For-Something-Completely-Different-Department after yesterday's long, intense political punditry.  Something, as they say to cleanse the palate. 

The hat walked with me on my last campaign for Nunda Township Trustee in 2009

When You Wear a Hat as Long as This One

When you wear a hat as long as this one—
            you know, the old brown one
            with the broad flat brim
            and low crown,
            the one Kathy bought you for Christmas
            the holiday after 9/11—
you learn to understand that the Universe
            is falling down upon you day after day
            that stardust, ashes, and cat dander
            sift unseen and constant
            day after day,
            year after year,
            one decade into the next
drifting into the creases of the crown,
            balling just a tad if you rub your
            thumb or fingers across the brim
            which has subtly changed color
            under the weight
nothing to be done about it
            the heaviest downpour does not
            wash it away,
            nor can you brush it,
            or beat it against your leg,
the stuff clings to the fine wool fibers
            of the soft felt
            and where the sweat and
            oil from your dirty hair
            touch it, it becomes a little hard
            and shiny
and the old band twisted and stained
            must be covered by one braided from
            bright fabrics somewhere in Nicaragua
            and even that band is faded and
            dusted in its folds an knots,
and the universe continues to fall unconcerned.

—Patrick Murfin

It rallies for Marriage Equality on a bitter day in Crystal Lake in 2013.

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