No Excuses

I wake up at last, sweaty and deadly.
All the specifics of my big bad dreaming
have been erased, but I know it was all focused
on what I will do or will not do for
my own satisfaction.

Ancient, Biblical, archetypal;
clothed in the flushed skin of my history,
choking on fragments of mythology’s
crude dictates: I don’t kid myself
into some sense of personal nobility.
Not after that. Not after the angry
and wanton night-swamp
I just waded through that has left me
drenched in stink and horrible to behold.

This is a shamefaced confession,
not a boast: if I had been an apple,
if I had been The Apple in The Garden,
I suspect I’d have fallen into her hand and left her
with no choice but to bite down and learn.
There would have been no coaxing,
only coercion. I know this because
as beastly as it is to say it,
there has never been any need
for demons to make it happen,
to turn a man toward Evil. A whole
order of civilization, a machine
of enforcement, has made this happen,

and this morning I rise and swear to do my best
to shower, cleanse myself of it as best as I can,
scrub off the long wet dream of domination,
and forget about looking for a snake
as an excuse for my being a serpent.

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

6 responses to “No Excuses

  • Eileen

    You are probably tired of me dialoguing on your site. But sometimes you set off such an inner journey and responding in writing is how I hear myself. This week the PCUSA lectionary’s Sunday readings are all about forgiveness. I wished I had had a better memory when a friend brought over a homeless man he had known as a good friend in better times. The homeless man was an alcoholic veteran of the Vietnam war. He was convinced that he could not be forgiven for things he had done. We tried, but he couldn’t hear. When I read the Scriptures for this coming Sunday, my heart broke that I had not been knowledgeable enough to share those with him. He died not too long ago, still homeless, having strokes, and unable to accept the forgiveness of Love. I struggle with religions. They are not my cup of tea. In fact, they seem like mission fields to me. The mystics of all the world religions say the same thing: everything and everyone are ONE. Whatever we do to each other or the environment or etc. etc. we do to all, including ourselves. And nobody has a monopoly on anything, including good and evil or truth and error. And yes, our evil has consequences, but we are known and freed by Love to grow more loving. Haven’t seen the bottoms of anybody’s feet ascending, so it may take more than one round somewhere to get it right. Nobody knows.

    • Tony Brown

      Eileen, I NEVER mind you commenting, and I read every one of them. Honestly, that anyone engages in dialogue with these poems is deeply gratifying. I’m sorry that I rarely respond — it has more to do with my time and energy than any dislike or disagreement. I’m not in great shape physically these days and am dealing with some family crises here. The poetry work usually gets done in the dark of morning, and then I start my work day/family efforts. I rarely look at this site until much later in the day, and then it’s usually when I’m too tired or drained to respond beyond a “like.” But all of your attention is very much appreciated, I promise.

      • Eileen

        Thank you. I don’t have many people whom I connect with on the things that are important to me. Your poetry almost always starts me thinking or feeling. And I tend to respond. Thanks for helping me keep thinking and feeling and wondering. I am sorry I can’t buy your books. I have just enough money to hopefully live independently for two more years. Had my mother living with us with Alzheimer’s for seven years and I really really don’t want to put that kind of stress on any of my children, so having to learn to be frugal.

  • Eileen

    Yeah….so much for delusions of integrity ……..Someone talking about the devil the other day…..me thinking…..no need for a devil….my humanity does enough evil all by itself…..even makes excuses for it…..thought maybe living to 83 was to keep working on getting rid of the dark side, but from here I don’t think there’s time enough left……thankful there’s a Love that knows me to the darkest core and still cares…..couldn’t live with what even I know about myself without that. It’s called the human condition and whenever we begin to think we’ve made it to oneness with the Good….it rears its ugly head and says., “Ha! Gotcha.” Cuts down on the judging side though.

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