Monthly Archives: May 2017

Buzzard Song

So.

An odd moment: the transition
from fearing for the world
and all I know of it

to being obsessed with
the numbness in my hand
and why it hasn’t ended
with a good night’s sleep
and how hard it’s going to be 
to function until it’s gone…
if it goes…
if it goes…
at all.

Like a buzzard 
who has been wheeling
and seeking

the dead,

like a buzzard
spiraling in
slowly from a great height,

certain only of 
the fact of there being
something down there
that requires

greater attention;

how interesting,
this matter of 
how the fear 
that a short day ago
sang within me
in broad strokes

has shifted
to this small
humming

without missing
a note: the

same buzzard song
in a different arrangement.


Patreon page added

I’ve added a page to the main menu here.  

If you look at the header on the blog site, you’ll find a page labeled “Patreon” which has information and a link to my monthly crowdfunding effort.  

Again, I’ll never make the blog anything other than free to all.  If you’d like to join the community of folks who’ve gotten involved in funding any of my other work, the information to do that is on that page.

Thanks in advance.  

A direct link to the page itself:

http://www.patreon.com/TonyBrown


Nothing Of Myself, Nothing

If you had asked me
when I was young,
I would have said

(upon the end of my first
and what I thought would be
my last and only love)
that my broken heart at least
gave me shards to throw
against every wall in town.

They made splendid noise
when hitting brick and stone,
even better when
I walked upon the crumbs
and crunched them into 
a clay-red dust with which
I stained every bar and
temporary bed I could find
for weeks and months after.

I got a little over it soon enough 
and said back then that I was
healed when I wasn’t at all,
but it was the right thing to say,
and it came true in time.

I must tell you
that it is different now, now
it has happened again and
I cannot say those foolish words
“broken heart” because now
my heart is so much weaker
than metaphor,
an aged and damaged muscle
full of scars and fat and bad motion.
I will not insult or weaken it by adding
this new desolation to its burden. Instead

I will call this a long howl of wind
as I try to move forward,
like the cry of a ghost
in my shirt pockets that appears
when I fumble past slips pf paper
that feel like they might have been
in her hands at some point;

I will call this a dimming of light
so subtle and so profound
that I re-imagine the color of pain,
seeing now instead of red everywhere
a gray fog that further blurs the dark
that’s already shoved its thumbs into my eyes
and leaves me sharply terrified
that I’ll never see a way past this,
that I am too old to do more
than grind it out from here,
day upon night upon day;

only letting go when,
spent at last,
spoiled for the future,

I am only left with her face,
voice, name, touch, and breath,

and nothing of myself,
nothing.


For A Living

When they ask

what do you do for a living

it is understood that the question
is about money
and that they say

what do you do for a living
instead of saying 

justify to me how you stay above ground

They never intend the sentence
to be heard 
with a word like
God or 
glow or 
love
at the end

Imagine if the sterile greeting
instead customarily meant

what do you do for a living glow
or
what do you do for a living connection to all other beings
or
what do you do for a living love

Or if it became known
as a traditional absurdity
meant strictly to break the ice at gatherings

as in

what do you do for a living lobster
or 
what do you do for a living return
to those thrilling days of yesteryear

In your head now
is the germ of an idea

To respond now and then

What do you do for a living…what?

They will laugh and seem 
nonplussed but

one day it may be
that one will look into 
your eyes
at the close of the odd exchange

and nod and say

indeed…that is a good question indeed…

and you watch
I promise it will happen
You watch

Both of you will feel at once
the world shaking
as it waits for the answer


Breaking News

Breaking news
from another city, this time
one of ours,

full tonight with new war: dozens
or hundreds of brand new dead or
injured in an attack
on a theater or bus station
or another place in which we are unused
to seeing such things; tonight, we see them
over and over, splashed in
the familiar colors of our flags.

At the same time, in the same old war zones,
the same old bombs fell again
and the same old dozens or 
hundreds once again died or were wounded,
the same ones who are always dying or 
wounded. Their bodies are only rarely

shown, chalk-dusted,
red-splashed, pulled
from ruined hospitals,
theaters, mosques, wedding
tents. They look the same
every time to us.
We don’t even bother
to post pictures of their faces
and who knows what their flags
look like? Who among us bothers
to learn their colors?

I want to introduce our own dead
to their dead in some place
beyond flags, somewhere beyond
the rooms where it is decided
what is breaking news and what is
a passing mention.

I want to see if,
once they are joined
in the aftermath of
such a sudden detonation
of their lives, they hold each other
and sob for each other
as we apparently cannot.


Big Step

Hi, folks…

I’ve made a decision and wanted to let you all in on it.

In an effort to make life a little easier, I’ve gone ahead and created a Patreon site.  Patreon is a site that allows artists to develop a monthly income to help them create freely with less financial pressure.

You don’t need to sign up; the Dark Matter blog is going to remain free regardless of whether this works out or not. I’m merely presenting the link to you if you’re interested.

All the background and information is here.

Thanks in advance,

Tony


America Got Sick

America got sick,
turned and looked
for someone
to hear it complain,
said:
“Why am I sick?”

And people all over,
even right here, people
who’ve been sick for
a long time, some
sick unto death, replied:

“You’re sick from
eating the same trash 
you’ve fed us for years —

just, perhaps,
a little more raw.”


Diet

Originally posted 11/1/2013.

To fall in love is to
gulp uncertainty
as if it were

fresh pineapple juice,
even if you
have never liked 
pineapple juice,  
even if you are 
allergic — to fall in love
is to fear deliciously as you
fall into wondering 
what will happen next.

To fall in love

is to burn the roast,
oversalt the potatoes,
boil the green beans
to mush, break 
the good china, then

as you sit there
in the ruins of 
a traditional family feast,
having watched all your relations
storm out to seek a meal
elsewhere,

you pick up
one green bean,

stuff it in your mouth,
and ask yourself how
one green bean could have
escaped the carnage to be
perfect, and enough, 
how this one green bean became
sustenance enough
on its own;

to fall in love
is to swell with joy
and disbelief

at how
your questions
have been answered.


Purple

browbeaten
people glad
to hand off
judgment to
others and
curl up under
them. sad little
mouth open
no head game
people with all
the time 
they’ve robbed
from the rest of
the planet. as it sinks
they’ll be seeking
hot dogs and
blast shields and
not in that order.
stoked to be
alone in charge of
wastelands with
the right flag flying
above. with a song
in their sores. with a
skip in their amputee
step. with a thought
and a prayer for
the descent into
finality as long as
jesus is with them
and there aren’t any
of those others
invited. wish there
were enough hours
in a time machine
to have done this
years ago. wish we were
in dixie, indebted
to the song of the
old south and the new
rest of the directions.
wish for a heavy stone
to cover all when it’s done
smoking in its crater.
wish for rain to clean it,
lightning to split it,
thunder to keep it 
awake till something better
takes its place. 


Podded

Oh, sure, it’s
a puddle, 

this place:

this watery little hole
in the mud called
my town, built at
a river’s headwaters
with a secret canal
rolling south from here;

sweet puddle
teeming with invisible life —
invisible to those 
who won’t look — 
to those who see nothing
but mud here; 

notice to people 
who want to stomp it dry
or pave it
or make it into a 
golf-course pond
or a scenic beach:

do that and
the old water,
the original water, 
will go

underground, sit there

in the dark, waiting.
Do that and we go
dormant till you forget
about us

podded and safe in the dust
on your shoes,

waiting. 


In Animal Space

I soften
in animal space.

Not much; I think
I am already softer than 
most people can see — 
and harder too, in ways
I do not let them see.

Whether in close quarters with
a young cat or an old dog,
or with joy-spasm ferrets
of any age; when I am

in the near space of something
large — a horse, or one perhaps far
from its natural home, a giraffe
or the odd country fair llama;

even when I come upon
(with what I admit may seem
a frightened side step)
a flash of snake or blur of
unknown wild mammal,

this righteous shell I wear
in human company 
shivers and dissolves a bit
in an inward shower
of glad tears

as I witness and bow
to the presence of life
without opinions, life beyond
right or wrong,
God-talk or God-war,
complexities
of love and hate;

in animal space
I soften,
become

more being than 
human being.


The Lake

After a lifetime
lived under the water
of a deep cold lake called

the art of 
finding new ways
to say old things
and sometimes even
of finding new things
to say

sometimes by
using old ways and
sometimes by
creating new ways

I have risen to
the surface
in daylight
looked
and searched
and shouted

and realized that

up here where
the people
who allegedly 
wanted me to say
things
were alleged to be
dying for my news
of old and new

the shores are empty
as they are all
living perfectly well
elsewhere

I tread water
in panic
certain to return
to my breathless depths
but whether I shall go
by diving 

or sinking

I do not yet know


The Seat

I’ve been seeking
the actual seat
of my Mescalero nature
within my body.

I believe I’ve found it, but
I will not tell you
where it is.

I will say
it does not pulse
or move much
when in place.

I cannot call it
a bone or bones
or a limb intact
or blown out into
components.

I will say
there’s a glow about it,
something
that is dimmer now
than it used to be
but in that dimming
it has become stronger
even as it has become 
harder to see, more
elusive.

I cannot call it entirely
pure, nor can I even suggest
there’s a ineffable quality
to it as a secret in the face 
of all the pains of the country
it must hide within.

I will say that playing twenty questions
won’t get you there.
I’d have to speak
a language I can’t use
without betraying it entirely
to explain it, even as it sits 
in plain teasing sight of everyone.

I cannot, cannot, cannot
be a party to its revelation
without saying 
this is not a part of me,
and that would be a lie.

I will say
there are stones in far deserts
that would call to it if they saw it
and it would answer. I’d have

to go along with that even if
it killed me.  I think that’s 

a clue to it: it would kill me
to let it be fully itself inside
the poison shell I hide it in
because that would kill it
swiftly and I
would completely follow.


Self-Care

Not summer yet
not for another month
yet too hot already for

all the pets
panting in the house so 
I replace their water constantly
and add ice to their bowls
and now and then check on
the new kitten for her tolerance
to this high temperature

She seems fine
so all I need is to watch her
and join her play and try to avoid
her minuscule claws and teeth 
as she learns her limits
as I have learned mine 

The other animals around me
have learned theirs more or less
with the big kitty sprawled near a window
and the ferrets in their cage sound asleep

As for my limits
I’m staring into a famous suicide 
while thinking of slow-motion genocide
and a billionaire imploding dangerously
from the weight of his wealth and utter Whiteness
and his ego and his sleep-starved outbursts

none of which trouble the kitten
or the cat or the ferrets
at all 
for them it’s all about the heat
and me being simply present at the right time

while I’ve got to sit here worrying
that I am not fighting hard enough
in the slow roll of this clumsy war
by writing and raging and staring
into famous suicide

that feels like a possibility except

the kitten wants to play and 
who am I to say no
to such a hopeful thing
as her face staring up at me
while she waits for the future


Grief Song

Grief:

music
you cannot turn down,

backdrop 
of daily performance,

its volume surging
now and then but

always there, mostly
unwelcome

except
when it aligns with 

a joyful or loving moment
recalled

and it becomes,
for a second,

a dance. One day,

you will find that
without notice

it will shift from
mostly dirge

to occasional bebop to
a bright skirling

festival song
ringing far off

in a soft 
shadow out in

your outskirts,
a place

you no longer fear
but seldom go.