That Bowl Of Smoke

Go at once to wherever you keep
your coffee cups and take one down.

It needn’t be your favorite cup; perhaps a gift cup
with a chip in the lip that you can’t toss

because of who gave it but won’t use
because of the hazards involved; maybe

something left by the previous renter,
long in need of a purpose, 

a cup never used because you don’t trust
a particular stain inside

but it’s hung around the shelf
“just in case.” (You’re poor. You don’t toss

things you get for free — at least,
not until now.)  

Take that cup and go somewhere
far away from the usual people.  

Pray over it, or do whatever you do
that’s a prayer for you;

pour whiskey into it, burn a bill in it,
it’s yours to do with as you wish;

when done, hurl it into the distance
and listen to it break. 

The next time you have a coffee 
first thing in the morning — gray-lit, still tired

and dim headed
as you sip the weak automatic brew —

remember that sound.  
You put it into the world,

that prayer, that bowl of smoke.
You filled it and broke it open.

You made sacred
what had been profanely 

Whenever you recall that sound
you will know what you’re capable of.


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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