The longer one spent with Michael
the easier it became not to like him.
Whatever topic was being discussed
be it life or love
art or the arcane
he offered what was imagined the final word
one of pomposity and self congratulation.
A generation older in a young person’s world
age was a benefit bestowed on him
before the maturity to stop wishing to be young.
And we, half a decade removed from our teens
lacked the wisdom to know old from age.
Deference was expected and assumed
coffee break conversation a personal monopoly.
Innocuous questions a lure
to long tales of chaos and confusion
resolved only by the application of his genius.
A small interdependent workplace
scorn would have been stowed – an emergency kit prepared
occasionally gallows humoured referenced
never expected to be used in anger.
The ability to attach himself
to the smallest amount of credit
and abdicate any association
with the faintest trace of error
rotted goodwill to intolerance.
It would have been easy to think more of Michael
if he had thought less of himself.
When he looked in the mirror
what he saw was very pleasing
he was deeply puzzled by our indifference.