Three Poems (#2) – Tony Brown


Praise Song For The End

Praise today for the pancreas 
that’s killing me, for the blood
unbalanced, for the ache
in my right knee that thwarts
me, for the hair that won’t stay
in my head — the individual 
hairs leaping out like rats 
who know the score; 
praise them all for doing 
exactly what they should be doing
in my disrepair; there’s nothing wrong here
that a good old grave won’t cure
and really there’s no other cure
for what drives it all; I can manage
and maintain and stave off and 
fleetingly deny, but in the end 
there is only the End, so praises
for the End, here’s to settling in for it,
here’s to how I am now slowed 
to think and feel differently
as this body slows and shifts; 
praise for the acceptance of this age,
praise for the acceptance of this fight
as ultimately futile
yet worth every stroke and blow I land
as a tribute to how much I have loved
and fiercely pursued love and life 
in all the years
of damage I’ve done to myself;
praise to that wounded, bloated game-piece
I call my body, with its hitman organs,
its fatal surges of desire and satisfaction;
praise to how this all is closing down
over a long time, giving me so much
to consider, to savor, 
to curse, to praise.

Thanks, Joe

There he is again: Local
Joe, Can And Bottle Picker, 
wound up in scarves and
old parka with patches, gray
shapeless hat like a pudding
on his head, fingerless gloves,
his fingers dark with labor, coming
gingerly down the icy street from
recycle bin to recycle bin seeking
his livelihood as he does each
Wednesday, Thursday if the week
contains a Monday holiday.
I say hello if our paths cross
as I’m taking my stuff to the curb,
let him know if there’s anything in my bins
worth his time, ask if he’s been beaten
to the spoils this week by the Maxima Couple,
so-called because of the late-model Maxima
they drive from bin to bin, the man getting out
at each stop to pick the bin as she waits for him
staring straight ahead and neither
ever talks back when I say hello — not like
Local Joe who’s friendly and non-defensive,
matter of fact, after all this is business, this
industry of walk and pick, walk and pick,
and he never has a bad word to say about 
the Maxima Couple who get me riled up
over what looks like their unwillingness
to defer to those who provide for them,
their choice not to provide me 
with the kind words and 
warm feelings I get from Joe
who appears appropriately grateful 
at all times; thanks, Joe,
you make my trash day complete,
see you next week.

Gawking At Ruins

When gawking at ruins
in far off lands, when taking
photos of them and of 
the picturesque locals
for your collections,
please remember
that each person you see there
is in their own way also a ruin:
beautiful, vital and worthy
of attention and respect
from you, still here and surviving
right where they were placed,
yet still a ruin
in terms of not being today
what they might have become if,
too often, armies and generations
of people like your own had not come
and swept all before them 
into collections
of their own.

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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