Crumbs

Aren’t you tired
of living on crumbs?
Aren’t you tired
of fighting for crumbs?

Of waking up 
after three hours’ sleep
and lying awake 
until morning?
Of rising and aiming
your heart at a job
that takes all you’ve got
then returns a few scraps from
some folks at a table 
you won’t ever see
that hangs above you
like a solid cloud —

aren’t you tired
of waiting for crumbs?
Aren’t you tired of 
living on crumbs?

Of hearing three words of praise
for your being and doing
for every four hundred 
you hear in rebuke?
Of seeing the horizon
as some kind of carrot
to keep you running 
with the stick right behind?
Of becoming the person 
you dreaded you’d be
when you thought the horizon
was a sweet dance away?

Aren’t you tired 
of scratching for crumbs?
Aren’t you tired
of living on crumbs?

Here comes day
and then night
and then day
and then night
and every hour
falls into gray
till you can’t tell the difference
anymore

Here comes something
falling from the table
One atom of sleep or
one atom of comfort or
one atom of peace or
one atom of how to get by

And just as you catch it
It melts into memory
Then it grows in your memory
That’s how you survive
By turning those bits
into magnified moments
Turning those moments
into amplified stories
Fantasies of joy
you claim to believe
and try to believe
and want to believe — 

A whole culture feeds that
even while it bleeds you
Makes it hard to get past it
and realize that
it’s the dark of the day
and the dark of the night
at the same exact moment
and it is every moment…

you know you are starving
though you can’t admit it — 

and aren’t you tired
of living on crumbs?

Aren’t you tired?

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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