You replaced
your mental image
of your anatomy
with a weather map

Though map
is not territory
this has influenced your core
into becoming a named storm

Centered among the isobars of rib and spine
a cyclone of terrible size gaining strength
Enough intensity to change
the landscape so completely

you would need a new map
You need one now in fact

You traded
your natural trust
for trinkets to hold
as you prayed against fear

A gun or a knife
Some talisman for a promise
that if Danger loomed
you would strike back

A bottle or some jumble
of pills and smoke 
kept close to ward yourself off
if you became Danger

You held so tightly to them
your crabbed hands could never hold a child

You swapped out dark for light
then reversed your decision
then reversed that decision
then reversed that decision yet again

with the speed of a sewing needle
in an electric machine 
stitching together a garment
from contradictions

Blind stabs into whole cloth
to make a scratchy cloak
for whenever you stepped out
to face the world

You were naked underneath and
terrified that everyone could see

So half naked and fully armed
and built from bad weather
you are still here
in spite of yourself

All your fallacies intact
All shades of hunger and want
remain the same today as they were
when you first lied about them 

You’re really just a lonely old body
made of pure ordinary and
if you surrendered now
the howling within might lessen

What name would you give
to that quiet 


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

3 responses to “Retrospective

  • Eileen

    Wonderful! Let me know.

  • Eileen

    Whatever you are, you are one damn good poet.
    Jesus, Mary and Joseph! That stanza:

    “You’re really just a lonely old body,made of pure ordinary and if you surrendered now, the howling within might lessen
    What name would you give to that quiet”

    hit me between the eyes and in the gut. It’s what I came to on an intellectual level several years ago…..but, never have really gotten there on an emotional level….
    though there are quite a few days where I am at peace with it.

    I have known or been related to some people who accomplished a lot and gained considerable fame and/or fortune and in their last years they felt the same way. “They should have done more in the world, they should have been better in relationships..etc”. It seems to go with the territory of being old enough to “see the door” and has more to do with our delusions than our failures.

    We are only challenged to play the hand we were dealt….a package deal complete with delusions and civil war between our persona and shadow, our intellectual and our emotional selves. I used to think intelligence was everything, but important as it is, it isn’t. And recognizing the inner conflict helps integrate the warring parts.

    And the quiet isn’t named failure or defeat or illusion or quitting. It’s a LETTING GO,NOT OF THE EFFORT, but OF SEEING THE RESULTS. That’s called peace.

    I understand that you don’t like to dialogue. So, you needn’t respond. And if my responses are a distraction, let me know and I will delete them instead of posting them. You provoke so much introspection and insight and me being me, I need to somehow express it to integrate it. But that’s more for me than you, so I don’t have to post it, just express it.

    At this moment in time, you just happen to be the only one in my life that provokes this much thought, for which I am very grateful, though it does make me face how lonely I am intellectually.

    Thank you for being you and keeping an old lady alive mentally and spiritually.

    Any chance you have collections of your poetry? I have a nephew and some children in their 50’s that I think would find it very stimulating and challenging.

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