David Brooks Writes a Sestina About Meeting Poor People -The Toast

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I’m sorry I forgot to meet any poor people
I’m sorry I forgot to pay attention
To the bad kind of masculinity
That doesn’t result in wealth.
Please join me as I experience self-abasement and other intriguing feelings.
Watch as conservatism’s ugliest turn yet makes me rethink my column.

Bad, bad column!
Ha. That I could chastise you as people
Chastise dogs. I once let my feelings
toward Saddam Hussein lead to recommending military attention-
resulting in an endless battle between righteous wealth
and savage masculinity

and I do not wish to repeat this idiocy. Oh, errant masculinity!
You have not heard the last from my column!
Chastised by this sudden revolt of the hurt I cast aside my trappings of wealth
(Farewell Mark Bittman recipes and “My $120K Vacation”)
To dutifully shift my attention–
Even against the strong tide of habits and feelings–

To fellow humans, who are but animals with feeling.
So many of them, full of the bad kind of masculinity,
Rage around at lost empires when their true desire is attention
From a thoughtful dad. Believe me when I say my column
Is on the case to finally notice the kind of people.
I’m literally going to have to like, go find somewhere. Indeed, wealth

Has heretofore not furnished me with a wealth
Of experiences to access the deep feelings.
of, you know, derelicts and other damaged people
Luckily, when harnessed properly, my masculinity
tends to produce a determination that transforms lives. And columns.
So stand back and watch us (me/column) pay attention!

See the magic that our attention–
At long last bestowed on those without wealth–
Will bring to this column!
Sure, lots of bad feelings
Mean that the Republicans are about to nominate a cartoon of masculinity
Instead of a man with more palatable heinousness- but I am here now, people,

Ready to give normal, regular people my attention
To fuel their hopes that masculinity can indeed result in responsible wealth
And that never again will their feelings be ignored by my column.

Sarah Miller is the author of the novels Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She has written for many publications and lives in Nevada City, CA.

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