It does not happen
overnight, but

one day your neighborhood
reveals itself to be

your enemy. You realize
the streets long to cradle

your crushed face. All the familiar
walls are reaching out,

first to hug your back 
and then to hold bullets

that ache to pierce you 
through and through. Soon

it becomes a daily race
to go from stoop to work

and back to stoop 
while menaced

the whole time by place.
You spend every night

huddled in a room
you are not sure

you should trust. This
is where you’ve always lived;

you know you should belong in
your town, your place. But

what you know
and what you feel

are different. What you do 
and what you should do

are different. This place
as it is and as it should be

are different and
suddenly it appears that

exile is no longer a function
of where you live.

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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