Shamed

I’m supposed to be
punching a Nazi right now
but I can’t open the door
to go out and find one.

I’m supposed to be tearing down
a statue right now

but I can’t keep my grip on anything —
rope, stone, life.

I’m ashamed of the illnesses
that keep me from standing

and walking and breathing
with the armies of the righteous.

I’m tired of starting every sentence
with “I.” I am trying

to decide how to matter
without myself mattering the most.

To slip into the river
of the moment and vanish
may be all I can muster.
To disappear. To not leave

a damned thing behind
except anything someone better
could use. I would like to be
of some use, even if it

requires my absence.
Let there be an axis without me
upon which new things may turn.
Let the turning

pass me, let the passage
be swift enough that
I vanish quickly from view,
slow enough

that by the time you come back
to where I was,
there’s nothing of note —
not a statue,

not a bloody eye,
not a handprint on a rope.
Take what you need from me
and let me go, let me go.

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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