The Mine

Could you tell the difference between
a suicide note and a poem 
in enough time to intervene?

Should you even intervene
with a poet on the verge?
Should you stop assuming metaphor,

instead presume the imminence
of poison or pistol? When a poet
offers pain or joy,

who knows
what’s being served?
Is it live or is it

memory, descriptive
or prescriptive, hot or cold,
raw or cooked or even

not a poem at all — 
not that it matters once
you’ve gotten your fill.

Have you gotten
your fill? The poet
is not supposed to care

as long as they’re empty
when they’re done.
As long as they have been

of some use. Or so
they’ve been told, over and over:
the unacknowledged legislators,

the news others die for, etc., 
etc. To be of some use,
even as they are consumed,

is all they should expect.
You read it, you dig it, you mine it;
they write it, it buries them, they die.

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

3 responses to “The Mine

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