Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Fool's Game"

This poem came out of the March 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette and sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.

Fool's Game

In The Lone Ranger,
things were upside-down and backwards:
the black mask was worn by a white hat
and the Indian was a hero, not a villain.

What I remember is that
the sidekick often saved the day, and the hero,
Tonto darting in at the last minute
to protect the Lone Ranger's identity
or release him from bondage.

What I remember is that
a horse ridden lightly was more use
than the bandits' broken-down nags,
a horse-whisperer working his hidden magic
in a setting where the rule was force, not subtlety.
Silver was as precious as the metal for which he was named.

What I remember is that
these two men were friends,
Tonto and the Lone Ranger inseparable
beyond law and order and vigilante justice,
beyond what their societies thought of each or both,
a hint of fellowship that touched even the culture
telling their stories: for sometimes,
ideals are stronger than reality.

Perhaps what I remember is so,
perhaps not so much.
Perhaps I saw the stories
not as they were, but as I was.
Perhaps everything and nothing is true,
but what matters is less the story
than the ripples it leaves in its wake.

It wasn't until many years later that I learned
tonto  meant "fool" in Spanish.
It made me laugh,
a trickster's secret laugh,
for the Indian fool is not a figure of mockery
but a spirit-touched hero, a sacred clown

who does everything upside-down and backwards.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, entertainment, ethnic studies, fishbowl, history, linguistics, poem, poetry, reading, writing

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