Thanks Due

to the co-worker
who got into my face
thirty five years ago
and called me selfish 
for having no children,
planning to have none,
and refusing to explain why;

to the dentist who looked over
my prescription listing, saw
Lithium and Seroquel,
then asked me if I lived 
in a group home
as he picked at potential cavities
in my blood filled mouth;

to the supposed buddy
who suggested,
none too gently,

that I was too “addicted to 
recreational arguing”
when I pushed back
with passion upon

her dismissal of
my rising fears;

to the manager who chided me
for not being a leader, 
for being too moody,
for wearing my sorrow
too openly,

for exuberance beyond measure
in strange moments,
for in general

not fitting the mold;

to all the friends who set me aside
for my toxicity and disturbances
of our social fabric, to all the friends
who stepped away and turned away
because I was difficult, to all the friends
who laughed it off and said I needed
Jesus or sleep or exercise or smudging
or less of one food and more of another,
less of one drug and more of another,
less of my headspace and more of theirs;

to the therapists who didn’t listen
or did and misheard 
or did and heard right but
cared only for the text book answers
and the end of the fifty minutes
couldn’t come fast enough
until there I was, standing outside
yet another door.

Thanks due to all
for those rides along this road
that got me here 
on this December night — broke 
and broken, old and
in the way, terrified of 
real demons afoot in the land
and not just in my head.
Because of them

I know how to bite a bullet
and not chamber it.
I know how to
look pity
in its jaundiced eye
and spit
the same way I spit
into clueless
dismissals and clumsy attempts
at comfort.

I may be 
all messed up,
but damned
if I don’t suspect

that I’m better equipped 
for what this
messed up country

is about to do
than some of my 
friends and acquaintances
will ever be.

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 “Thanks Due

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