“Yes, kid, I speak no lie when I say
That I’ve seen the whole world with my eyes,
I’ve sailed through waters, trudged barren lands,
Climbed tricky mountains, dived from high skies.
Different masters, different creases pressing
Into my not-soft but not-so-hard skin, I’ve graced
Different shoes of different colors,
Materials, textures and shapes!
A hundred years I’ve lived in the best shoes, yes sir.
Finest, smartest leather sole, that’s me.
Don’t go by the frayed edges, kiddo,
There ain't no place where this black body hasn't been.
Ha! Look at those young eyes grow big already.
I hope you don’t faint in awe when I tell you
The story of the famous hunter who would
Silently surf deep jungles in his pointed boots.
Lions would yelp and tigers would weep,
For he'd never miss a mark when he’d shoot!
Or the one about that daring pirate whose lucky sole I was!
Only with me would he climb wealth-laden ships to loot.
Or maybe, that one, about the valiant soldier,
What an honor it was, kid, to accompany him as he ran,
Gun in hand, grit in heart, yours truly in shoe,
Single-handedly slaying armies for his Mother Land.
And you must have heard about the mighty landlord?
No? the one with the bungalow with a thousand rooms?
No? the one with the gold and silver in piles?
No? oh I was there too, inside one jewel-studded shoe!
Your ten-year old imagination can’t even wander
To where I’ve been for real.
And after an exciting lifetime of adventure,
I just decided to retire, and so I ended up here.”
Little mouth opened and shut in wonder,
As the tattered sole lay in his hands covered with dirt,
He listened in rapture to stories of victories and riches,
The tales penetrating his innocent heart.
O great leather deity, come with me, I’ll take you home,
You’re going to have fun with me too!
He squeaks; takes a piece of rope and ties the sole
Around his uncovered right foot.
And walks away, pleased, hitching up
His rag-picking bag on his thin shoulder.
One foot strapped with discarded, torn leather,
The other, dragging bare over the earth.