Impish And Sweet

They asked me
to be more
impish and sweet.

They looked me
in the eye
and asked this.

I could not,
did not understand,
couldn’t. I’m just

too serious, too
stolidly sour, too
resistant to change

but also: they
knew me, why
ask me this?

They said nothing.
A head shake,
then turning away.

Impish and sweet
seemed easy, I
guess. They seemed

disappointed in my
unwillingness to shift
all I was

into that mode 
for them. Could
not accept it,

so I was
rejected, dismissed, and
forgotten at once.

And yes, it
stung. Of course.
It always does.

Yet, in being
stubbornly myself I
cooled that pain

eventually. They did
what they did, 
I moved on,

and those words
slipped off me
like beads of

sweat, like mistakes
left unfixed, like
rain on glass.

Impish, sweet: I
may have missed
out, I guess,

could have sunken
into their perceptions
and drowned there

happy enough. But
today, though I
may never be 

be sweet, impish,
or connected to
them again, somehow

this is fine,
this is better
than dying there

in the arms
of one who
asked for falsehood

to become my
costume, my daily
garb, my mask

worn all day
and night and
never to be

taken off again.
They asked me
to slay myself

for favor of
their dimpled smile.
I said no

and though I
spoke it to
the air alone,

spoke it loud
with stony tongue
I owned, with

salt I’d ground
to flavor all,
I did endure.

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 “Impish And Sweet

  • Jeff

    Wow. One of the things I am incredibly jealous of is your ability to use a whole different vocabulary like an artist with a new pallette based on the voice your poem needs. I find the last 3 stanzas in particular amazing and I would not have seen those word choices coming based on what I know of your other work.

    • Tony Brown

      Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated.

      The form I choose often rules word choice. In this case, the three word line/three line stanza pushed a certain economy of language on me.

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