By Irving Vanderblock-Wheedle.
I celebrate and sing some other guy,
Some guy who is doubtless just as good as I am, but not quite.
Some guy who has the same molecules, the same atoms,
The same subatomic particles,
But not quite as much poetic sense
Because he is not a Poet.
At all times I am surrounded by other people,
And I am filled with admiration
For the endless countless myriads of other guys
Who are almost as good as I am.
A child said Why are there so many people?
And how could I answer?
I do not know calculus.
I guess it must be because there were people before them,
And they had children.
I guess it must be because of the procreant urge of the world,
Which was just about the finest euphemism I could come up with
On a moment’s notice.
And lo! every single one of them is an Other,
Because every single one of them is not I.
I am not the Other,
But sometimes the Other is the Other,
And sometimes it ain’t.
A street-sweeper leans on his broom,
A Buddhist priest mutters a prayer,
A school-board member misspells “curriculum,”
A waiter drops a tray full of glasses,
An engineer designs a new flashlight that will be sold at the dollar store for $1.
And they are all the Not-I.
But I also am the Not-They.
They look at me and say, “Not I.”
All day they look at me.
All day they are saying, “Not I.”
I think I shall go mad.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
I am a little out of sorts.