Poem: Not The Best

chester VT antiques 2

Not The Best

What about the rest of us?
The ones that aren’t quite the best?
Merely good, or wonderful or slightly spectacular?
Or ordinary, with a flash or two of originality?
Do we get lost in the masses?
Do we get seen?
Do we matter?

as we live our ordinary lives,
fixing cars, fixing dinners, fixing ourselves
in a patchwork life half surging ahead,
half floundering in the wild waters of life?

What is we have no platform?
No TV show or You Tube channel with millions
of voyeurs watching in to listen to our rants and mayhem?
No safe place to espouse and preach,
no angry-making inspirations tower to be heard from?

What of our quiet?
What of our gentle spirits?
What of our broken attempts at repair,
all duct tape and prayer?
What of our extra few pounds, our bald heads,
wrinkles and scars?
What of our houses, paint peeling,
our second-hand cars
and cats that refuse to be cute for the camera.
What of our struggles to pay the pile of bills,
to survive the trauma past and the trauma
still living in our heads?
What of our hunger. Body and yes, that fractured,
misunderstood thing we call a soul?

How do we live knowing we will never appear
on Entertainment Tonight, on The Enquirer or New York Times?
That for most, we are at best, a statistic,
counted by algorithm, listed in columns,
a bell curve, a report somewhere in the vast lost world
of databases.

What do we do with the things we create – the art; the music;
the photographs and poems, the gnomes in the garden,
the midnight dances and metal statues often mistaken for junque?
What do we do with the families we create?
The houses, far removed from Architectural Digest?

How do we convince ourselves,
when governments large and small abandon us like dying kittens,
when commerce reduces us to numbers,
digital sheep to be herded not heard,
the sound of cash registers lost to the click of keys,
that we have more value
than the world around us allows?


Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Find your tribe.
Find your joy.
Claim love.
Claim the love of your God,
of the people around you.
Press out.
Reach out.
use your own love to draw love.
Grow in spite,
in defiance,
in determination that the best rarely is
more than the noisiest, the loudest,
the flashiest.
It flashes its daylily color
and dies for a season
while the rest of us live like weeds,
beautiful, hard to kill, color that emerges
despite the gardeners that want only roses.

Refuse. Refuse I say,
to be ignored.
Grow like ivy, like hens and chicks, like Kudzu.
For the world is made of us,
ordinary and remarkably wonderful,
never the best,
something different:
Beautifully mad.
not for some artificial measure
but for our willingness
to stand tall, scars and all
and sing opera, to sing Queen, to rap
in today’s church of brands and polls
and refuse to be
but ourselves.

About this poem

Ranting time. Forgive me.



  1. I hear you Tom
    I am one of the extraordinary ordinary
    thanks for putting what I feel into words
    I will now make breakfast for my husband
    and sing along joyously with Queen.

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