Jon Bennett

Proof I’m a Great Artist 

My parents were folk dancing 
you may wonder what type 
Balkan folk dancing 
it was always Balkan or Greek 
until mother weakened 
then it was just father 
doing Scottish reel dancing 
Anyhow, they were doing Balkan 
folk dancing 
in a community center somewhere 
Off to the side  
I had my G.I. Joe doll 
and was putting him through his paces 
He ran along the weird 
institutional wainscoting 
across the backs of folded metal chairs 
he did flips, G.I. Joe did, 
occasionally flew, spun 
Yes, I really put him through his paces 
A woman was watching me 
I was cute, 6 or 7,  
and she came up and said, 
“You’re going to be an artist.” 
I remember little of my childhood 
but this proclamation stands out 
it’s an ego thing 
So now I sit here 
with my feathered quill pen, 
my brushes, paints, the kiln, 
the marble blocks and chisels 
and my voluminous  
silken ascots 
still seeking validation 
it’s like a soul-sized hangnail 
following me through life 
So I’m vicious, laying waste  
to my competitors 
with my razor sharp tongue 
I was good with that G.I. Joe 
but maybe the woman was wrong 
maybe what it meant was 
I’d make a good 
soldier. 

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