We Were Told There Would Be No Math

Something has occurred to me.
I don’t like that. I thought I was done
with that. I’m 73% of the way
to average life expectancy and it’s
an imposition to be pushed too hard

to revive critical thought and 
discernment. Really want mostly
to slip through the remaining 27%
I’ve likely got left and settle into bed
one last time — oh, a hug would be

good too, and less pain, and less
concern about the hardness of living —
but here I am and here’s this new thought
about what I’m supposed to be doing,
and I don’t like it. In fact I’m terrified

of it. I feel like it’s going to rob me
of at least 75% of the 27% of time
I had left and take up 93% of my energy
and that will leave me less than I need
for hugs and slipping into bed and 

ending up comfortable when I’m done
breathing. Ideas and passions notwithstanding
I thought I was done and now the times
put ideas into my heads that someone 
ought to be making real, but why 

it has to be me I don’t know. I don’t
think it’s a God thing — I gave that up.
And I don’t think it’s a sense of obligation
to people in general — have you met them
in all their wasted splendor and sick clinging

to maintaining life as they know it? Somehow
it seems to have fallen to me and maybe
ten or fifteen million others to act upon
this thought that’s occurred to us, and 95%
of us are likely sitting in bed or at a bar

or at a kitchen table tonight while the family sleeps
and asking themselves why they’re 99% certain
that this new idea about what’s to be done,
this song of mayhem and disruption, needs us
to sing it, and how do we start, and isn’t there someone

or some cohort of someones
who know better than us how to do it
with 86% more efficiency and less injury
to themselves than we would incur, and 
why is it that these ideas always occur

to people like us who can look at what’s being asked
and understand what would be required of us
and understand the ridicule to come and the depth
of violence and pain to come from being
the ones with the ideas and the calling 

to follow through? All we want is to get through
the 57% or 35% or 68% of life expectancy we’ve got left
with as little fuss as possible and here it comes:
all the fuss, all the weight, all the dread and all
the obvious fear. We sit up in bed or at the table

or at the bar and say: we were told there would be
no math and look, there’s math.  There’s math about
calculated risks and divisions and separations and
the number of minutes we could stand to be tortured,
and the arithmetic processes of how to time a revolution

perfectly. I’m a long way from happy about this. I never
wanted this hugless, bloody, spitfire examination
that I will likely fail. I’m not prepared. I didn’t study.
I’m neither smart enough nor strong enough. I’m 
73% of the way to death without it and here it is

presenting a word problem: if a world view
gains power with 400% more hunger
than it showed before — it’s always been hungry
but now it seems fatally famished — and zero
concern for others,

and another world view starves
as the first feeds, how many of us
will it take to choke the first one dead,
and how long do you think it will take us
to get enough hands around its gargantuan throat?

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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

2 responses to “We Were Told There Would Be No Math

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