Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The Illusion of Ferocity…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Life & Death,Rage! — Bob at 7:21 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Illusion of Ferocity by Robert M. Katzman © August 25, 2019

Opening the heavy public door

Of the small town’s antique shop

Windows so thick with dust 

The Sun must hunt for scratches

To slide a beam through

As my eyes adjust to the dimness

I turn sideways to squeeze through 

The jammed aisles

Under buzzing fluorescent lights

Passing a disintegrating moose head

Black and White Raggedy Ann’s 

End of the War!! 

Headlines on wrinkled yellowed newsprint

Screaming in tall black letters

Which war? I don’t care

And I keep moving

The wooden floorboards bend under

My footsteps, squeaking in annoyance

“Keep on moving, ya old fart”

They seem to be saying to me

I think in reply 

Our silent dialogue

“What? I’m not old!”

But I do as I imagined I was told

Passing racks of vintage clothes


To me that means before I was born

Because after that

Nothing is old


Not old


Lying to myself as I pass the 

Quaint slim Coke bottles

The chipped Howdy Doody freckled marionette

A worn VHS of “Ding Dong School”

A brace of Roy Rogers six-guns 

Snug in their black holsters

Then I pass the army knives cabinet

In and out of cracked leather sheaths 

Weapons gleaming, wicked, ready 

World War One bayonets

And I flash back to when

Once I carried a honed Buck knife

Everywhere I went 

Handy on my thick belt

In its black leather sheath with the silvery snap

Nobody better mess with me

Because, well, 

I was good with a knife

In a drawer now, someplace

It was just too heavy to lug around

Then came the rifles and pistols

Lining a wall, locked 

Rich brown stocks

Black steel barrels

Triggers once delivering death!

Different times, different wars

M-I’s and Winchesters

Colts and Sharps Rifles

Springfield’s and Navy revolvers

I had a rifle once

Dad brought it home from Japan

Which my small hands held 

 When all of five years old

Man, I was dangerous

I stared, imagined, moved on

Didn’t need a weapon anyway

After it was stolen fifty years ago

I could kill a man with my hands

Like lightening

Punch a bad guy’s throat

Twist his head until I heard the crack

Walk over the dead body not thinking

Indifferent, ready for the next one

I could do that

I think I could do that


Walls of that crowded antique shop

Seem to move in on me

All my thoughts filling up

Every available nook and cranny

I was the guy

You step aside

And all the bad guys did that

And then I’d mount my horse and ride

Confident and proud no punk

Would dream of back-shooting me

As I turned to escape my 

Imagined fierceness of a

Churning kaleidoscope of 

Dimming memories

Some must have happened

Most didn’t 

I’m sure I was a terror

Once upon a time

When was that time?

Then my shoulder brushed

A dust-covered gilt framed mirror

Reality exposed me

Fake gold, but honest reflection

I dared look

Saw the old face

Random white hair 

Sagging ears and baggy eyes

Sloped shoulders

Waddles on my neck


A lie!

I was a dangerous man

With a knife

With a gun

With my hands

I could kill evil

I was feared and respected

But the mirror

That damn mirror

Who was that fluffy old guy 

In that gilt-framed mirror?

I turned sideways

Swiftly sliding through Time

Object after object 

Pushed against that heavy door

Out in the sunlight

Leaving Time behind me

That mirror

It, it was a mirage

Because everyone knows

I am still

A very dangerous man



Comment by Brad Dechter

August 26, 2019 @ 7:05 am

Ahhh, the good old memories about who we once were. Good thing in that mirror- if you’re like me- you couldn’t see your stomach!
(The old washboard is more like a soft pillow now!)
Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Bob

August 26, 2019 @ 9:49 am

B, thanks for responding. I wanted my story to be as visual as possible, so people felt themselves being trapped in that crowded, dusty story of time-trapped objects. I wanted people to lose themselves for a moment, if the story works right.–B

Comment by bruce matteson

September 6, 2019 @ 8:10 pm

yeah, the scourge of cast iron skillets large or small…

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