Describe The Glass

Here stands
the glass.

Here stands
the question: is it
half full or half empty?

Of course we know,
that it’s full, always. 
Whatever that clear
liquid is, it stops where
the air begins and thus
the glass is filled with both
at once in equal measures.

To press the metaphor further,

let us pose the question
another way:
how do you feel
about water, how do you feel
about air?  Which do you
side with in your observation
of the glass before you?

If you choose air,
do you say what’s there is enough
to fill and overflow and
thus the glass is brimming 
of air, air laden with traces
of war from world over or wildfires
from half a continent over,
air which the world calls clean
and then says that
is the same thing as being 
half empty? 

If you choose water — 
do you assume what you see 
is water? Perhaps it is not,
but let us assume for the press
of metaphor that it is;
let us further assume 

it is clean water,
unadulterated, water not from, say, 
Flint or Standing Rock, with
no added solids to complicate 
the question; do you choose
water with all its uncertainties
and say the glass is bottom-full 
of water, which the world says
is the same as being half full?

There plays the news,
there lies the country — 

when you look at the news,
when you look at the country,
is the glass half full
or half empty? 
If half full, is your half full
a clean fill, if half empty,
is your half empty
crisp and honest?

When the metaphor is pressed
will you say that in truth it’s
nothing but shattered 
and the space where it was 
is now broken and boundless,
full only of wind and flood 
and storm and poison?

There stands the question.
There stands the glass.
There you stand between them,

asked to describe
the state of the 
glass when you aren’t sure
there is any glass
there at all. 

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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