The Kissing Man
I haven’t seen the kissing man lately
Though I used to see him everywhere—
Poised outside the Presbyterian Church,
Perched on the steps of the Draughon Library,
Running on the track at the high school,
Or standing on the corner of Magnolia and College,
Waving and blowing kisses to all that pass.
To his way of thinking everyone needs
A kiss, young and old, rich and poor,
Male and female, and he throws kisses
Without distinction. He will not stint
Or cease from doing this task. He will be
A tireless promoter of the kiss.
The kiss will bring goodness and understanding
To all it touches. The kiss will heal
The sick, comfort the lost, house the homeless,
Feed the hungry. Some complain.
Some want him arrested or taken away.
The last time I saw the kissing man
He stood under an oak tree and threw kisses
To a gathering crowd, a darkening sky.
My wall’s not like that wall,
The Great Wall
That goes for thousands of miles,
Took millions of workers to build,
And cost billions of dollars.
My wall’s not even a wall,
A fence, I’d say, a bit
Of wood and wire that stretches
One hundred seventy-seven feet.
I don’t need to patrol this fence,
To put guards out to watch
For barbarians, or to maintain
Huge armies to repel invaders.
I think of The Great Wall,
Of how it did not fail
Because of design or lack
Of vigilance. It failed
Because General Wu fell
Victim to the smile
Of a pretty face.