My Rhetorical Roommate

Rhetoric is defined as “skill in using language effectively or persuasively” but also extends to grandiose speech “full of hot air”. We often hear the term “rhetorical question” as used in a sarcastic way to make an obvious point that requires no reply. This poem describes how the “voice in the head” may behave and how one may eventually “win” themselves back from the tyranny of this rhetorical roommate. Enjoy!

“My Rhetorical Roommate” – written and read through Walter

I sit quietly on my chair
acutely aware of my roommate
who scans the latest headlines
and opines about what he finds.

He can be very persuasive
to the point of being invasive
having earned an honorary doctorate
from the “School of Rhetoric”.

Not to be distracted from silence,
I ignore the opportunity to respond
and remain quietly beyond
as he drones on and on and on.

The slightest glance his way
is to bite and invite
without pause or respite
and dive into a trite cesspit.

I remain still, until,
after sensing my detachment,
he grows bored and falls asleep,
snoring, muttering, then hardly a peep.

Now blissfully solitary,
I chop and I carry,
smelling the roses,
with time now to tarry.

I do rouse him at times
for he is quite astute
regarding practical matters
or planning a route.

Now sharing silence and stillness
these make a tonic that soothes,
enjoying peace and contentment
beneath the very same roof.

4 thoughts on “My Rhetorical Roommate

  1. Wondering what relationship each has toward the “realty” co-inhabited? The poem suggests the narrator is landlord and the roommate mere tenant, not a tenancy-in-common (TIC). Perhaps explaining their lack of reciprocity?

    1. They are the very same voice, these two roommates each taking turns to speak or remain silent. Each borrowing their space from the landlord who also lends them their apparent existence. Many do not make the distinction between the positive/negative/complaining voices that seem to speak and therefore think these voices are “me”. But as you rightly intuit Elderberry, the only reality is the one who lends the realty to the apparent voices that arise. Thank-you friend, you always provoke deeper thought!

  2. It is when we can become total friends with the roomate that all becomes playful and fun again. (I believe or does my roomate) Sometimes enjoying the peace and quiet of slumber, but then allowing the play and movement to be free from within and shine out. But then it is only experience and drift, a dance with the self as always. Awareness… hmmm

    1. Indeed, the closest of friends with that roommate to the point where they are known to be just mind activity. At one time hard to live with… now when engaged the energy is helpful, kind, polite, and, as you say, fun and playful.

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