The cartography of competition…

A little while ago, I met someone for the first time, and took a dislike to him.

It did not really matter- we are not likely to have a lot to do with one another. But it troubled me as it was quite a strong reaction.

I bolstered myself with an examination of his faults. He liked to talk- all the stuff he had done, how good he was at things. I followed standard meet-new-person procedure, and asked him lots of open leading questions about himself and his stuff, but after a while I stopped as he did not really need the encouragement. He asked nothing about me at all.

After an hour or so of this- I was annoyed, and… strangely depressed.

Of course things are never one dimensional where human interaction is concerned. This man had been through a tough time and was rebuilding his life. He was also someone who had gifts in similar areas to my own, and the talent comparisons were inevitable- given the fragile self-esteem issues we artistic types tend to suffer beneath.

There was a whiff testosterone-competition in the air, and I did not like it, or what it did to me. It had no place in my idealised understanding of the elevation that art brings to the soul.

Not to mention the Jesus way of being that I set myself stumblingly towards…

But there is was.

In dysfunctional style I chewed on it all. And wrote the poem below.

We meet and move about one another
Probing, exploring borders
Negotiating
Presenting our petition
And revealing this badge of office-
Sewn on sleeves whilst our hearts stay hidden
Revealing carefully edited glimpses
Of whom we want to be
But are not yet.

Then begins the measuring
Of the size of armies
The bore of canon
And the reach of your rockets
As we carefully deploy our camouflaged troops
To occupy the high ground
To hide uncertainty behind
A cloak of accomplishment
And capability.

Sometimes it seems that who I am is only revealed
In understanding what you are not
In seeing you
And finding you wanting
In mapping out your strongholds
And avoiding them
And raising up my tattered flag
Above this uncomfortable alliance.