I was silly enough to eagerly read this poem, hoping to see someone break down one of the great divides in human history. For really, what could possibly be more important than a detailed analysis of the differences between one of the most delicious things in the history of human beings, and it’s horrific imposter?
It will take me a couple more reads to fully understand what’s going on here, but what I think David Lehman is doing is painting a detailed picture of a personality. Everybody has these little subtleties, these little nuances, and he is showing us an example of just one. Here’s a guy with extremes. He’s a man who can’t see what’s obvious, or what’s in front of him. He has very little self-awareness, and yet, when he pops open a Coca-Cola or a Pepsi, he can tell the difference. There are tons of other little things he can differentiate as well, but none of them really delve into the bigger picture. He’s a man who can see what’s right in front of him in great detail, but at the same time the significance of what is right there totally shoots over his head.
I liked this poem a lot. I don’t know whether Lehman is saying that the difference between these things are miniscule or not, but he is making a point about the personality of humans. Awesome.