Friday, February 5, 2010

Day #26: Nin Andrews reads her poem

Hoi Polloi

There were seven of us eating enchiladas at the Casa Romera when Tony Papadakis stood up in the middle of the restaurant, raised his fist and shouted Obama is a man of the fucking hoi polloi! We all stopped and stared as he left, the door swinging behind him.

Who are the hoi polloi? Sarah asked. No one was sure. Three women thought the hoi polloi were the rich, sort of like the hotsty totsy, and three men said the hoi polloi were the poor. We all agreed that being a member of the hoi polloi was not a good thing.

Does that mean we love men to be rich and women to be poor? I asked.

No, Steve said. It means it’s best to be neither-nor. We Americans love those who take the middle path. Sort of like Goldilocks, we want to find the bed or bank account that’s not too big or too small, like the bowl of porridge that’s not too hot or too cold.

But Goldilocks was a burglar and a thief, Molly argued. Which is something both the rich and the poor are accused of being from time to time. They’re always taking from others what doesn’t belong to them. Feeling entitled. Making themselves at home in a world that doesn’t love them.

Tom disagreed. He said the hoi polloi are the average men and women, the kind no one wants to be. They’re the faceless masses, the passers-by, like the extras on movie sets. They’re designed to look so familiar that no one notices them. Their job is to be everyone in general and no one in particular so that the heroes and heroines can star in their own lives, forever enjoying the distant sound of our applause.

Nin Andrews is the author of several books including The Book of Orgasms, MidlifeCrisis with Dick and Jane, Dear Professor, Do You Live in a Vacuum?, and Sleeping with Houdini. Her next book, Southern Comfort, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press. She lives in Poland, Ohio. Yep, that's right. And Poland, Ohio went for Obama. (This poem was originally posted on 2/14/09)

(Click here for a link to the MP3)


  1. I've always been confused about who the hoi polloi are. After hearing your poem I will never forget. Thank you for a great poem.

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