He Lurks

He lurks, enjoying what he reads
But too afraid to say so.

He would be criticized if his friends knew.
He would have to face the heat for his beliefs.

He would have to take the stand that the author takes,
And defend it himself
Against the foolish criticism of others—
Or not.

Indeed, he tried it before once
But ended up retreating from the backlash.
And that’s when he learned to lurk—
To fly under the radar—
To avoid detection
And conflict.

Why, then, does he admire the author
Who dares things he will not,
And yet not figure out his own shame?

Why does he see himself as being on the right side of things
When he’s afraid to declare a side?

He is not the champion he’d like to think he is.
He is, rather, a fugitive in the very society whose approval he seeks—
Or, perhaps more accurately, whose disapproval he avoids.

He will not write.
He will not take a stand.
He will not enter the fray.
Yet he considers himself brave by association—
By an association he dare not acknowledge.

With the one writer,
Nine others engage, one way or another.
But the lurker is among the ninety who will not—
The ninety who lack either the courage or the conviction
To get in the game.

And so the lurker enjoys the security of the silent masses
Who have not learned to hash a thing out
Or to invest themselves in principle
Or to help a friend who is wrong—
Who dare not speak
For fear of rejection—
Or for some other priority
That keeps them from
The particulars of
This real world.

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