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institute Sesquiotic


How to train a shoe

published in Broken Pencil, issue 28

You will not like
the laces. They are
evil, they lash out
at you, the aglets
ripping your surprised skin
like two cat tails.
The eyes do not
watch, they hate luxuriously
but they do not
watch. They are holes.
The hateful lace slips
through them like sweet
lies in your ears.
Your mouth could learn
from them, that wicked
tongue of yours. But
the sole, down there,
it takes a beating.
The uppers are fine,
so sweetly rubbed to
a pure soft mirror.
You could fall asleep
with them and dream
of big soft cows.
Inside it smells of
course, they always do;
it smells of coarse
socks and rough fungus,
hard sweat, annoying days,
overuse. But the sole
is what is forever
being erased, rubbed off
on the gum-spotted
walks and steps and
deep platforms. So much
left behind. And what
you take in exchange
you do not want.
Where is this leading
me? What steps shall
I now take? I
tell you this shoe
is a bleeding contradiction,
it hates you so
well it needs you.
And please remember this:
you always have the
tongue, the soft tongue,
lined and bitten by
the traitorous laces, to
save your tender instep.
Why is this not
your tongue? Your tongue
is not so soft.
I would wear you
like this smelly love,
your slippery metal eyes.
But now put on
the shoe and walk.
It will do what
you want it to
knowing you know it.


All contents © 2000–2005 James Harbeck