Shades of Sameness

I
“My name is Jack,” he says
with confidence that his is the best
name ever. And why not?

“I was in the Australian outback
with my granddad last winter,
and now we are on our way
to ride a horse through the Badlands.

We have a Tesla and a BMW.
I love to fish—caught a Trigger fish
in Oahu two weeks ago. I’m nine.”

“That’s a lot of privilege
for one so young,” I say.
“And I love to travel,” he adds.

As we speed down the tracks
through Colorado’s Red Canyon,
he chatters, oblivious to my wonder.

And it’s the day of the protest
about children escaping oppression
only to be separated from their

mothers in our foreign land
for which they hold so many
dreams about shelter, food, and water.

II
I drove up on my first day
in the Chevy my parents
helped me buy.

Unaware that in minutes
the lot would be filled with
Mercedes, BMWs, even a Ferrari.

The drivers were sixteen—
Their cars costing more
Than my annual salary.

Three decades later
I still drive a Chevy,
and they think I am like them.

III
He spent his money earned while a Marine in Vietnan on a 1971 Landcruiser; drove it off the showroom floor.

Thirty years later, he spent
his inheritance restoring it
and cruzin’ the West side.

His sister bought a BMW
before dying of breast cancer
days before her grandchild was born.

The ah-ooga horn bellows
when he ventures near
a pasture of grazing cattle.

Indifferent to his disturbance,
they chew their cud and shake their
heads at the human obsession with horns.

IV
And I wondered about the depth
of the canyon below us
as the Zephyr picked up speed.

And the Charles River lit up
with July fourth flares,
and cheers for the Republic,

And children wept for their
lost parents, and veterans
wept for their lost innocence.

And the cars sat in the driveway
of the privileged, hard-working
men and women of America.

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