“ON” All The Time
By Jim Meskimen

When I was just a boy of nine
when grownups gathered for party time
I’d take it on to entertain,
do voices, clown, and I’d take pains
to make best efforts to amuse
to ease those weary, grownup blues.
(For adults seemed a weary lot
who joys of childhood had forgot.)

But frequently, instead of praise
or tolerance, I was amazed
to hear, as if it were a crime:
“Kid, must you be ‘on’ all the time?”

That comment always stopped me dead.
I couldn’t get it through my head
why anybody would object,
or treat me with such disrespect.
“ON all the time?” We’ve barely met!
Just how impatient can you get?

I’m not some infant smeared with mud,
I’ve got show business in my blood!
Don’t scold, consider my intent;
To spoil your evening I’m not bent!
I’m from a family of actors
and honestly, I need the practice!

Though I should have ignored that wheeze
I factored in my goal to please
and backed off from performing, though
it cut the legs out from my show.
And so, convinced of my “mistake”
I rapidly applied the brakes,
pulled myself over to the verge,
and parked my own creative urge.

The problem is, once stopped, my friends
It’s hard to get in gear again
after an interrupted flow,
as any critic’s victim knows.

Truth is, my critic lacked the skill,
or even worse than that, the will
to entertain, divert or charm,
and factually meant me harm.
As murder’s too overt, you see,
he sought to murder my esprit.

The goodness which a child bestows
he couldn’t bear to just let grow.
It went against his basic plan
to subjugate his fellow man.
To him a child should be as silent
as some undertaker’s client,
who never speaks or laughs or coughs,
but is quite permanently “off”.

Eventually, I grew to find
him pitiful, but, never mind.
The laugh’s on him, for all his pains,
I’m “on” for good… and shall remain.

©2023 by Jim Meskimen