“The only person KVK doesn’t know is himself probably.”
- Colleague at work to others, in response to an apropos remark of mine.
He’s profoundly unaware of what he’s said.
He’s part of what I call canaille, not my kind;
I indulge his inane jokes and grin
inanely back, hiding distaste behind
a forbearance wearing tiresomely thin.
But this once I widen my eyes instead,
stopped short by the remark’s unwitting truth:
“Out of the mouths of babes” – the image
sits grotesquely with his frame,
and is quickly discarded as sacrilege.
Still, wondering whence his wisdom came
(for the chap is nothing if not uncouth),
I essay a tentative bow, an awkward nod
at humility. Uncondescending, I pat his back,
smiling more at circumstance than at him,
while he, confused, senses a different tack,
mumbles a thanks, ascribes no doubt to whim
this strange indulgence (distinctly odd),
and moves on to wonted worlds where he’s
at home. Alone again, I take two drags, flick
the butt in an arc, missing the bin…Damn.
Somehow never quite learnt that trick –
as indeed many another, making me what I am,
whatever that may be or is.