The Long Tract

The last time I looked
I had not fulfilled
any of my early promise.

Then again,
the hell with that.
The rewards I’d expected

were given by assholes,
and designed to reinforce

It’s as if my early promise
had their scent to it but after a life
of stinking up their joint their way

I’d opened a window
and breathed deeply of air
that smelled so different

I smelled different
after one breath. They couldn’t
take me in now, of course;

said I was a dud after all, said deep down
they always knew I would be.
I’m still myself, of course,

award-free yet tasting
not at all like sour grapes, surprising
myself if I am to be honest,

which I thought was the point.
I always thought that was the point;
tell the truth, do it clean,

let the rest take care of itself.
Maybe there are rewards for showing
late promise? Maybe there are none

and the reward now
is the increasing scent
of the outdoors

and the diminishing scent of
where I longed to belong, the smell
of trophies that pass through

the long tract into filthy hands.
The reward now is not having
to scrub myself raw

every time
I look at where
I’ve been.

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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