Nº 9 of 12


The Man In The Bear Outfit

1. You Don’t Say

– Have you heard the one about the guy in the bear outfit?
– The guy in the bear costume?
– No, the guy in the bear outfit.
– What’s the difference?
– The guy in the bear costume’s dressing up, he’s just pretending to be a bear.

2. Who Is To Say

Most of the time he’s docile
we never see him, he’s sleeping.
Most of the time we spend watching
the Observation Channel
we never see him.

We’re told he can be dangerous.

We spend most of our time
exploring the four corners
of the flat screen
watching the movie mirror
for proof of his existence.

Most of the time we don’t find him.

Granddaddy said he saw him once
dipping his paw into a silver lake.
He said his fur got awful soggy
but the ripples, he said, the ripples
reached across to the other shore
Granddaddy said he was lucky.

Mind you Granddaddy had stayed up awful late.
In fact Granddaddy’s been up a mighty long time.
Sometimes I think that Granddaddy
might be the man in the bear outfit.
Something about his eyes

like they’re not his real eyes.

3. Let It Be Said

The man in the bear outfit
fits the bear outfit.
The man in the bear outfit
hunts by night.
The man in the bear outfit
does not think he is worthy of the bear outfit.
The man in the bear outfit
considers the bear outfit​ from the inside.
The man in the bear outfit
observes the changing of the seasons
knows well the long summer months
is grateful in winter.

The man in the bear outfit
is generally aware of how ridiculous
the bear outfit is.
The man in the bear outfit
does not choose to wear the bear outfit
but does so despite its irritation.
The man in the bear outfit
is ready to die in the bear outfit
but not because of the bear outfit
ready to defend himself
knowing that the bear outfit
offers him no obvious protection
apart from the fact that it is a bear outfit
knowing that it is not the bear outfit
that he will be defending.

The man in the bear outfit
knows that every bear outfit is different.
The man in the bear outfit
does not know his own colour.
The man in the bear outfit
can’t be whether or not he is a woman or
just a man in a bear outfit.

The man in the bear outfit
winks at the girl in the chicken outfit.
The girl in the chicken outfit is unaware
the man in the bear outfit
is winking at her because
the man in the bear outfit
is wearing a bear outfit.

Tonight
the man in the bear outfit
remembers
how cold the world is and
how lonely it is being
the man in the bear outfit.

He zips up tightly and prepares
for another sleep hunting dream hugging night

of moons reflecting on placid winter lakes
of a million silver fish in cool water pools
of rolling over and over in the snow
and how it would be
to be with all this
and without his bear outfit.

4. What The Man In The Bear Outfit Never Tells Us

Under his bear outfit
the man in the bear outfit sometimes wears
another outfit.

5. What We Don’t Know

Is the outfit
he wears under his bear outfit
another bear outfit?

6. What We Shall Never Know

Which outfit
the man in the bear outfit
considers to be his one true outfit.

7. What We Shouldn’t Want To Know

What the man in the bear outfit
has on when he takes off
all of his outfits.

8. Some Answers To Some Of Questions That The Man In The Bear Outfit Is Often Asked

No, no I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
No, I told you it is not a costume.
No, not a uniform.
Not fancy dress
No, it is necessary.

I do not dress up for state occasions.
Yes, no, yes.
What you see is not what you get.
No, yes, no.
No more questions.

Please,​ no more questions.

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for Kim