Instrumental Asylum

I know a Hank where the whiled time goes
as fast as a CEO’s income grows.
Though nursing fixed views in his head, he’ll schmooze
with more civility than cable news,
without assuming hoity-toity airs.
He says whatever points of view he cares
to. In the sheltered building where he lives,
he’s snug as corporate executives;
but his lobby’s more keen for an ID
than special interests. Clearly, he can see
the many homeless living on the streets,
but leaves it to policemen on their beats
to do the work that he’s disposed to shirk.
At least he doesn’t give a righteous smirk

if it’s not done. He cares, but isn’t swayed
to do much more than protest in parades.
Nor are there cockerels and clucking hens
pontificating in his cloistered pen.
For he’s sequestered from the smug decrees
put out by CNN. At perfect ease,
we chat. There are no wires in his ears
to obfuscate the mandates that he hears
inside his head to give more than a yen
to help the needful, weary veteran.
He doesn’t keep repeating gibes deemed cheap,
to serve as mantras for a good night’s sleep.
I would have shared with him another cup
of tea, but visiting hours were up.

Frank De Canio was born and bred in New Jersey, and works in New York. He's been published in Danger, Pleiades, Genie, Write On!, Red Owl, Blue Unicorn and Ship of Fools, among others, and moderates a Café Philo in Manhattan. Read other articles by Frank.