Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Anatomy of a Common Misfit," by Hans Ostrom

Sometimes he observes
neighbors, how they drive cars,
converse with each other, walk,
stand, live; and it seems to him

they're really comfortable
with these tasks of living.

He feels awkward by comparison;
and he compares. He feels
not comfortable.

He wishes he had sought
special training in his 20s,
not on the tasks themselves
(he knows how to do them,
and he does them)
but in the being-comfortable
part. Comfort with what
is alleged to be routine.

Now he can't change,
even if he wanted to.
The most he can do
is pretend to have
adapted properly. And
that's not so bad. He'll
leave genuine easy
living to the neighbors,
whom he waves at
in terribly awkward ways,
for example.

He belongs to a demotic
species--the Common Misfit.


hans ostrom 2014
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