Ode to a Shoehorn

A shoehorn’s a sort of
spoon-shaped chute
for the foot,
not for the shoe.
Or at best, a social lubricant
between the two,
with or without
the Freudian interpretation.

Boots are for those
who toot their own horns,
sporting as we know
the handy bootstraps,
which give the so-called
self-made men
a better metaphor for rising
to their own occasion.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

10 Comments


  1. Hard to read this one without the Freudian interpretation! The last two lines — the last stanza in fact — are going to get you in trouble with the booted set.

    I like the word “chaps” there; it carries a lot of weight.

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  2. Finally, a citable authority on why I shouldn’t buy boots! Boots trample all over fashion-mad Sydney, looking about as appropriate to the city as SUVs most of the time.

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  3. Of course you could be accused of using the shoehorn merely as a lubricant to get your poem into its boots. But I suppose that’s true to the shoehorn’s purpose, and fate …

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  4. Jarret makes me think of a 1970’s photo of the sculptor Anish Kapoor visiting an aboriginal site in the Australian outback, teetering in London street boots as he posed by a vaginal orifice in a stone outcrop. It’s the boots I remember. They looked conspicuously useless, but I now wonder if hadn’t been told to wear them as protection against vipers.

    I really enjoyed the new take on interpretation!

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  5. Sorry to go on about Anish Kapoor (hopefully to completion). He was young, soft featured. It was before heavy steel and stone work became routine to him. It said so much that all he had to camp out in were slick soled party boots.

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  6. dale – Thanks. I was a little pleased with that myself.

    Peter – Well, you know, I’ve been known to wear boots quite a bit myself. Good protection against Lyme disease out here.

    I deliberated over “chaps”; end-rhyme isn’t my favorite thing, but being under the spell of Kay Ryan, that’s where this one wanted to go, it seemed.

    Jarrett – Boots are still in style, eh? I’ve never quite understood why the fashion-conscious focus so much on footwear.

    You’re right about the ostensible focus of this ode. Poor shoehorn! I hesitated over including it among the tool odes, and now I notice the series navigation link doesn’t want to show up. Maybe it’s a sign. (Update: Got it corrected. It was a numbering problem.)

    Bill – Hey, you’re right – that is kind of a new take on “interpretation,” isn’t it? I outwit myself sometimes.

    There are such things as party boots for men? I didn’t know.

    I’m kind of fond of the Cabela’s boots I’m wearing now. First pair I’ve had in a very long time that have lasted more than a year. They don’t have bootstraps, though.

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  7. I was going to comment on how you are so obviously under the spell of Kay Ryan, but then you went and made that comment yourself.

    Well, I am still going to say it: you are so obviously under the spell of Kay Ryan.

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  8. True at the moment. But in fact I’ve been writing this kind of poem off and on for a very long time – which is why I so enjoy Ryan’s approach.

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  9. Party boots for men?

    I DON’T KNOW!!

    I just made that up. Dress boots I guess I mean to say.

    And I didn’t mean to write take on “interpretation”, but to write What you DID with interpretation. Much more of a shake than a take.

    Reply

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