Passport photo followed by brief reflection

Take off your glasses
Don’t smile
That’s what they told me
When I had my passport photo taken
So I look like a drug smuggler
That’s what they want
I look tired and pissed
And a little dangerous
If I was security at an airport
And I saw that face
I would take me aside for questioning
A person who looks like that
Might be hiding something
It’s in my eyes
That I want to take down the government
Even more seriously
Why do you want me to look like that
On my passport?
Why don’t you want me to look
Like I’m having a good day
A good life
Like I’m someone who believes
That we’re really here to learn how to love?
Why do you want me to look like
I want to take your head off?
Hand me my glasses young man
Hand me my smile
Hand me my dignity
It’s not your fault
It’s no one’s fault
We’re just along for the ride
Only where are we going?
This poem came forth in one piece. No edits. It was just sitting there in the poem ready-room, waiting to be summoned for its mission — to draw attention to the joyless, loveless, soul-less system of ID-ing ourselves that we submit to, just to be able to (drive, travel, or work for a company or corporation) . . . In this poem (which on the surface, seems mostly humorous) I am shining a harsh light on my experience of having my passport photo taken at CVS. The young clerk was nice enough, but he stuck to the book: He actually said, “Don’t smile.” When I take my glasses off I am like a deer with glaucoma, if there is such a thing. Everything is blurry. (Very bad for the deer.) If I was in a big city I would feel extremely vulnerable without my glasses. (Which makes me feel bad for our homeless people, many of whom [due to natural aging, poor health, bad nutrition, lack of sleep etc.] are probably subsisting in a blurred universe! Hard to imagine what that would feel like, since even with perfect vision they are surrounded by risk and danger 24/7.) So the poem tracks the complex of emotions, or my rapidly darkening / deteriorating state of mind, that I can easily trace in my expression which that seemingly innocuous official snapshot brilliantly captures.