Type 2

If you can imagine a future for yourself
without, say, bread or beer, one

where your memory
will never fire into regret 

over a stray whiff of either of those,
count yourself among the lucky ones

who have the strength
to move on completely

into some blessed world of shrugging off
any nostalgia for past pleasure

in favor of a grim determination
to get better, to stay healthy, to not succumb

to that which will slay you in increments
thanks to your body’s insistence

upon acting up and doing the opposite
of what it was built to do; if you can imagine

giving up primary sensation in favor
of living in a more or less diminished way 

compared to the way you have always lived
and still finding it worth your time to live —

if you can do this, pull up a chair and speak to me
in low tones of how you do this, for indeed

I cannot entirely find my way clear to any future happiness
knowing that I have surrendered the things that gave me

such past happiness — the tough-into-tender mouth feel
of still-warm bread, crust yielding to cloud of earth and heaven

combined; the deep bitter-over-sweet chewiness of a fine stout
at the end of a bad day and the exhalation, eyes closed,

upon swallowing that first good gulp of stress-relief; Lord knows
I miss these, and if you say it’s a question of dying or staying alive

and it ought to be an easy choice, I say
yes, exactly, it is a difference between dying or staying alive

but as I barely live and barely breathe, 
I don’t know what to call this existence tonight.  Tomorrow

I will surely be OK, and the day after, and in the long term
I’ll figure out some moderation or accommodation; but tonight

I just want some excess of good bread and good beer again,
that good life that exalted me even as it was killing me.

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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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