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Contacts with Trotskyites

Kathy Shaidle
From:   Lobotomy Magnificat. Oberon Press, 1997.

I discovered one hundred dollars too late that
my round wire glasses
attract a certain type of man
attracted to an uncertain type of woman and you know
the least they could do is conceal their disappointment when,
to quiet their drunken insistence, I finally do remove them.
They mumble their "You really should get contact lenses" party line,
then suddenly have to go home.

And now even the Trotskyites are accosting me.
This is what happened:

You know those piles of eyeglasses at Dachau? Now
I know where they went,
I said to Nairne and Tracey on our way to the anti-apartheid rally,
for all the banner-wavers around us were--
like the three of us--
wearing those infernal lefty lennon spectacles and we
were all laughing about this and I was pondering the
possible ironic connection between poor eyesight and
social awareness
when a spotty, plaid-shirted pamphleteer leapt in front of us
and yelled:

Bishop Tutu is a fool
Sanctions are useless
Passive resistance is counter-productive
Violence is the only alternative

Having recited his lines to perfection, he smiled and his
dared us to respond with equal eloquence

through glasses just like ours.

I read the name of the shabby newspaper he'd so thoughtfully
shoved in my face and
I knew we were in for a real fun time and Nairne said
There have been many successful non-violent revolutions
and he said So name one   and I said The women's movement and
he said Is that so   and I said Well women won the vote
with a minimum of violence and he said Yeah but
democracy and elections are bullshit anyway   and I said Only because
you couldn't get yourself elected Capitalist Running Dog Catcher
and he said You obviously know nothing about the history of feminism
So Tracey screamed Then tell us all about the time you were gang raped
And the three of us pushed him into a grey Globe & Mail box
and stomped off to join what had been advertised
as A Day of Peaceful Protest.

So I was seriously reconsidering all of that unsolicited
alcohol-induced optometrical advice and said
Maybe we should dissociate ourselves from dorks like him
by getting contact lenses and Nairne said
When I was younger I thought glasses would make me look smarter
and people would take me seriously but
and Tracey said Besides, men are just like contact lenses
cause men can be hard
and men can be soft
but mostly they can just get lost

When I saw a female ice cream vendor on the Queen's Park lawn
selling an orange popsicle to
Mister Trotskyite She
was smiling at him and he at her
(nope, no sign of passive resistance there, by God)
both smiling even more when she gave him another popsicle
for free
Smiling even more when she employed that flirting device
we astigmatics are only too familiar with:

taking off her glasses and pretending to clean them.

And I wanted to tell her that
she was all wrong.
That it wasn't his stomach
or his crotch
or his eyes
she should aim for;
that the way to a man's heart
is through a small incision
just beneath
the breastbone.

Kathy Shaidle's works copyright © to the author.

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