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Poetry By
  Hal Sirowitz

Published on: 2/25/2010
Command of Language

Drawing on my fine command of language,
I said nothing." - Robert Benchley

Drawing on my impeccable command
of language - I can change from
a Brooklyn to a Long Island accent
In less time that you can eat a frankfurter
after a 24 hour fast - I told the wannabe
mugger, 'I think I saw a cop,' - with emphasis
on the word 'Cop.' People of my social status
say the word 'Police.' But I was showing
him empathy - how I could put myself
in his shoes, or 'When in Rome, do what the Romans do' '-
even though I wouldn't be caught dead
in his shoes - one was unlaced - but I kept
thinking of my vulnerability and whether
I could defeat him at hand-to-hand combat -
when he read my mind and said, 'I only rob
friends. Don't be afraid.' And I was
scared of that missing shoe lace.
Maybe he was going to use it to strangle me.
It was a perfect weapon. I was a genius
to think of it. But he had thought
of it first. He was a genius of crime. And
I was a genius of language, telling him, 'Goodbye.
Hope to see you later,'' He said, 'I doubt it.
We belong to different social circles.' He -
to the mugging elite. Me - to the victims
of crime. But not today. We belonged to the same
circle - those who use language to say what they don't mean.

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