The Task At Hand

You thought it was going to be
slow blues from here to death,

but here you are, fist up
at the edge of the pit again.

You thought these days would be lyric
and pastoral, and instead

you’re back in the narrative, 
hoping surreal hopes.

Upon consideration 
you surrender to it and see

that you’ve always been 
at the mercy of surprise

whenever you thought
things were settled once

and for all. No matter how you try to be
for you, you always let yourself be drawn

back for all and as much as you know
you can’t do otherwise, as much as you know

you’ve never done otherwise, 
you wish it had not fallen to you

to be here one last time —
fist in the air

at the edge of the pit, 
shouting the story of

the dissolved timepieces, the bruised
American hearts you thought you could count on,

because this is such an American tale, isn’t it —
this fable of reinvention, this constant

faux-noble bewilderment at the rush
of circumstance through

your remaining time here. You’re 
no hero, you know — just another

aged-out scene kid praying it makes
a difference when you put your body

and voice into one more time
on one more front line. Understanding at last

you’d do it with no hope at all
because you couldn’t do otherwise

and look at yourself 
ever again. So: fist in the air,

waiting to die, hoping there’s one last
twelve-bar respite ahead of you,

you plunge into chaos
shouting against a bitter end.

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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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