Dilemma of Politeness
by James Martyn Joyce
This is not about taking the final biscuit,
Or feigning gratitude for favours gained,
Nor questioning the swing of things in general,
Towards flaunting all the wealth
We’d managed to accumulate,
The only shortage being the time required,
To spend it, or enjoy it, or give it away,
Or not, as our version of the absolute decrees.
Neither is it the hunting of relationships,
Deleting affections from week to week,
Sliding down to the next sure thing,
Exploring the greener side of every hill,
In search of the bigger bar with nuts,
The latest cocktail frothing at the mouth,
The most potent mix injected or inhaled.
Or entombed in our bleak back-gardens,
Charcoal broiling for our thickening waists,
Or out beyond the coral reef, in the deep stuff,
Treading fast and watching for the fin.
No. But to observe the wrong step taken,
Recognise awareness and denial etched
In equal shares on a smug face.
To see the greatcoat turned,
The small-town yoke shook off,
To question nothing ever,
For the fear of finding flaws or losing face,
The caul of greed gripping the numbed heart.
This is our dilemma now.