Defining a Commitment to Mediocrity

photo credit: Vivek Subramoniam
photo credit: Vivek Subramoniam

Couldn’t get
off the color,
though maybe
it would have helped
if I could,
as for 10 long years
that polo was me
and I was it.
Through my
skinnier then hell years,
past that brief
chubby situation
and leaving behind
‘way too young
to be having
a midlife crisis
so getting
all buffed out’
it played more
than a witness
to my life.
It was not a
consecutive 10 years
mind you
as there were those
months when they hired
somebody directly
above me
and so I had to quit
– honor and all,
– but 6 months later
I came back
as a regular guy,
not too much pride
to put gas in the tank
– gave up my title
but they let me
keep my pay
– knowledge cut
– and through all
the ups and downs
that polo
defined my decade.

Lit up like the tip of a flame,
blurred out
and dumbed down
to represent
not passion
or fulfillment,
but a slow and steady
to mediocrity.
It was not as gloomy
as mud
but not as alive
as a fire engine
it was everything
that my life
had become
– getting by
to get by,
just getting paid
to make it through
the need
of government
not persistence
but rather
a societal insistence
on moving.

From just
before Lauryn
was Killing us Softly
‘till just after Kanye
was remaking a
Gold Digger,
I was rockin’ that polo,
the color
of old liquor,
until they
tried to roll
back the clock
telling me
it was time
I reclaim
my old job
– slight pay increase
for more stress
– and I laughed
in their faces
and made clear
all my cases,
saying that I would
more quickly agree
to submit to 50 lashes
before ever again
for their
pathetic asses…
Maybe that was,
until now,
left unsaid.
Maybe I should
have kept
those words
locked away
in my head
the next day
when I
went for my break
they called me
with all of the
papers in place,
and they informed
without hesitation
or an awkward
that they
to tell me
that I was
“laid off.”

Everyone wore
that same polo
but to me
it was a badge
of lost potential,
bad decisions,
or more often than not,
failing to make any
decision at all.
And now
that mud-less,
fireless color
represents nothing more
than a lost decade
– a lost decade
and slimy
middle management
that I am happy
to be rid of,
now that I’ve
traded in my polo
for a little mojo,
and go toe to toe
with my existence
every day.
Freed of the need
to let a cloth
and a color
define me,
I would rather
walk this earth
letting the Lord
refine me.


Written for the Monday Poetry Prompts #24: to describe a color without using the name of it


  1. Truth hurts. TRUTH heals. We look in the MIRROR and see Jesus dimly but the more we look He burns away the flesh and replaces our stony hearts. We are changed into the image of the ONE and we can truly fulfill our calling. Serve. That, alone, is true contentment and joy. I love your conclusion!


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