Sotto Voce

shhh.

things you do
indeed make you a bad person.  

laughing wrongly
while believing rightly,
thus contradicting yourself,
makes you a bad person.

loving inappropriate music
and not thinking hard about the lyrics 
makes you a bad person, yes.  

the other body hitting the ground hard enough
that the sound of striking elicits not sympathy
but great good relaxing humor and relief 
makes you a bad person.

yes it does.
yes it does. 
shhh.  
shhh.

remember those times when

you did not take a firm no for an answer.

you allowed relaxed attention to detail
to screw another, mildly but 
deliberately, and you did not take the blame.

you cheated on tasks and duties.  
you barked up the wrong trees,
then set them on fire

so no one would know.  

breathing in this climate
makes you a bad person
in this bad world.  you can’t
not be, at least
mostly, even through
holiness delusions
of namaste
and shantih, 

shhh.
shhh.
sotto voce, in a voice not to be overheard.
speak plainly, if sotto voce,
all your objections, your rationalizations,
sotto voce, as they say in 
italy.

notice that
I still speak to you.
you’re a bad person

but I still speak to you,
of course, if only

sotto voce.  get used 

to hearing this voice all the time
struggling to remake you and failing but still 
speaking, sotto voce, getting it right until 
you do.  

shhh.
shhh. 
you’re not right or good, but
listening’s

something, I guess.

shhh.

don’t make me
raise 
my voice.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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