Poem 10



Why can’t I be like everyone else?

Whispers tell stories any kid can see.


Minor holiday Hanukkah blown up

to act like overwhelming Christmas.


Why can’t I be like everyone else?

Why do I have to be different?

Little Harvey wondered these things.


When the small group of Jewish kids

was taken to the back of the school room as much

to not partake in Christmas as to celebrate anything else

he didn’t realize that it was setting him free to be me.


Different meant he didn’t need to think and act like everyone else.

Different is how he learned to get beyond the laughter on the Catholic School bus

when his name was called as he joined them on a field trip.

Different got him past the priest who told the Catholic kids not to play with him.

Different explained the nuns who kicked him out of the gym.


And different is how he learned that what he chose to do came from an inner place

that didn’t need anyone else to approve.


The curse of my childhood

set the stage

for the freedom that came later.


Because I wasn’t taught to not think, just listen.

I wasn’t taught that the foremost thing was to be a good sheep.


I was taught that there is freedom in different.

And that has been the directive the rest of my life.






2 thoughts on “Different

  1. Thank You!
    That was not one of my favorites…but your comment will allow me to look at it through new eyes and perhaps tweak it a bit.
    I just read your poem 24…love the simplicity you make of basically the story of your life…condensed in poetic form and with a happy ending!
    Best wishes,

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