Steven Kent


Mr. In-Between

I’m Mr. In-Between, said he,
And my position’s very clear—
I’ll straddle any line in sight,
My feet on both the Left and Right.
I’ll be the man you’d have me be
And say the words you want to hear.

I’ll lower taxes just for you
And raise them on some other Joe.
Since you work hard while he does not,
You’ll get much more of what he’s got
But then the same I’ll have to do
For him in fairness, don’t you know.

I’m with the troops—God bless our boys!
Still, I can’t bring myself to vote
To raise their pay or ease their load,
For in the middle of the road
I’m firm—I dare not make a choice,
Or stand up now and rock the boat.

The rights of all minorities
I do support—in fact, with pride—
Though I won’t ever plead their cause
Or try to alter unjust laws,
For doing so might well displease
Some voters on the other side.

I have my principles, dear friend,
And these in stone are firmly set
Unless you tell me you object,
And then I’ll simply resurrect
The ones I lived by last weekend
Or find some new ones, better yet.

I’m Mr. In-Between, said he,
And my position’s plain as day—
I’m here, I’m there, I’m back and forth,
I now declare for what it’s worth
That I will always, always be
The same tomorrow. Let us pray.

Losing My Religion(s)

I make a bad Buddhist, I know—
I aim to be better and still
Despite all my trying
Mosquitos come flying,
And I go right in for the kill.

I make a bad Hindu, I know—
I’m all for nirvana and bliss,
But I’ll be frustrated
If reincarnated
To live again lower than this.

I make a bad Muslim, I know—
I so love both bacon and beer,
And travel to Mecca
Would leave me a wreck, a
Most pitiful pilgrim, I fear.

I make a bad Christian, I know—
I struggle with mercy and grace,
And, like the disciples,
I’m hung up on trifles
And miss what’s in front of my face.

I make a bad pagan, I know—
Though Earth I do long to protect,
It’s unrealistic
To be pantheistic
And therefore I don’t genuflect.

I make a bad Buddhist, I know—
I’ve been awfully patient somehow
But frankly, Gautama,
I’m done with the drama—
I want my enlightenment now!

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside ( His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, and Snakeskin, among others.