I cannot trust anything,
so I set myself on fire.

I’m burning now
and a crowd gathers.

Someone calls out,
“Is there nothing we can do?”

I can’t talk with lips this crisp
so someone else says,

“he must prefer it, let us
leave him to the flames.”

Of course, I prefer this
to help from anyone saying 

such a thing. I did it because
of my lack of trust. I’m 

a whole nation of distrust
in a single body

and this fire is how I tell you
you weren’t worthy of me —

how I show you my arrogance,
my horrid willingness

to start bigger flames. 
“Is there nothing we can do?”

Maybe water, maybe
smothering, maybe just

bury me in sand or under
a dome of concrete.

You could paint a flag
over it later — it’s what

I would expect of you:
glorifying me and my 

narrowed, stunted life.
You’ll pick the flag

that works best for you,
I trust. I know you that well.

Hence the flames,
hence the greasy bitter ash

I am now. Hence the memory
of what I once thought I was,

curling away
in smoke.

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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