That Poser’s Life

Disappointed that my body
has pushed through another night,
I flush with anger for harboring 
such desperate selfish longing 
for an end to this cycle 
of sleep and wake 
and sleep and wake
I live a poser’s life,
keep enthusiasm for living
a sword-arm’s length away.

It’s such a privileged life,
such a privilege to be alive
and yet want to die 
without moving a finger 
to further that desire,

a privilege to feel entitled
to an easy passage.

Once, years ago,

I took the steps — bought the pills,
bought the razor blades,
tried more than once to use them.

I learned from those attempts
that I am a coward when it comes
to getting what I want, or what
I claim to want —

for perhaps I don’t want to die at all?
There are those who tell me that,
who say that what I did not do
I did not do not from cowardice,
but through the body’s stone resistance to 
the fact of finality. Something
within held me back. Maybe 
that’s so, but I can’t shake off
another thought —

that the reason
I did not succeed
was not from fear of pain
or afterlife censure, but from
the suspicion that once I’d crossed
I’d find everything there
to be much the same 
as here,
and once I was on that side,
there would be no way out.

So instead I wake up daily
dimly disappointed that I have
done so yet again, ashamed at
my inaction and my lazy wish
to have it handed to me in my sleep,
embarrassed when I think of those
who fight each day not to pass,
jealous of those who die in their sleep;

now and then each day
I push myself to feel 
a modicum of hope
that tomorrow

I might rise and know
something of what it’s like 

to be glad you’re alive.

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

One response to “That Poser’s Life

  • Eileen

    I love the part about finding everything much the same, but no way out.
    My husband used to say this life was actually hell………
    When I couldn’t walk for several years in my 50’s after the children had all left and I was alone most of the time, I thought of escape, but realized I was such a klutz that I’d probably mess up and make my life much worse……so pretty much accepted that I was trapped by my own ineptness. Then someone came up with a medicine and set me free, with a much greater appreciation for small, but wonderful, opportunities I’d missed during those those years.
    Again, love your writing and your honesty about life’s realities you describe so well.

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