Martyrdom As Social Strategy

You make a long journey
into your worst vision 
of the wrong side of the tracks,
obsessed with 

whether you have the weapons for this,
the right tools for the job,
the right answers to the questions
they are likely to ask you —

all the time thinking
you’re a fraud and they’ll shit you out
after eating you still alive.
You imagine being swallowed

all the time.  You think it’s going
to hurt.  Unbearable pain’s
the only thing you can imagine
for a destination, so

what a surprise to learn
that once you’re there 
nobody’s about that.
Nobody’s threatening you

or even caring about your
momentous presence.
You carried everything you had
to this point only to learn 

it was extra baggage all along —
such a heavy journey. 
What a shock, what a shame,
what an outrage.

It occurs to you to start a fight 
to prove your relevance. Maybe
you should assert yourself enough
to win your rightful ending? To make

all the fear worthwhile? Prove your mettle
to the locals and impress them with
your prowess? You open your stance
and prepare. They want a war, you know,

so you’ll give them yours.  
You labored over it
long enough. Someone
will surely appreciate it.

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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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