Ambulance Ride

To want is to break. 
If you are broken already, 
if you’ve been broken before,
to want is then to seek healing 
through wanting 
and once you are healed,  
to want is then to break
once again.

Don’t you feel at times
that endlessly chasing desire
is an ambulance ride 
taken over and over again 
to a hospital where every time 
a different doctor
just shakes their head 
and mutters about
fools never learning  
as you’re wheeled in? 

To want is to break. 
You’ve been broken before
so often that what you mostly want 
is permanent healing,
but there you are, 
as boringly broken as ever
and once you are healed 
it doesn’t last;
to want is to break
again and again; how often
does this have to be said? 

Don’t you feel at times
that this pursuit of desire
is cutting off your cast
from previous breaks too soon,
pushing recent atrophy 
to its limit and beyond 
until you fall again,
unable to walk,
resigned to your pain, 
just as you always have?

To breathe is to want
and to want, you tell yourself,
is to break, so you break. 
To keep breathing is to admit
you want healing for your wanting.

To catch your breath for a moment
and imagine what it will be like
when you stop wanting permanently
is to break eventually,
gasp, bend back into breathing
and wanting; it’s an unfamiliar
form of healing,
something unlike what happens 
in an ambulance on your way
to a shrug of dismissal 
and your chagrinned ride home
after that.

To break a cycle
of wanting
and healing from want
is to lie down broken
and refuse attention
until you’re alone
with your fracture
and see at last
how far you’ve come
on your once-fragile,
now-bolstered limbs. On your
forever-being-splinted bones. 
On whatever this is
that your desire 
has made of you. 

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

One response to “Ambulance Ride

  • Eileen

    To wish, to want, to need; are these just degrees of the same thing? I think they all make us vulnerable to disappointment. But need makes us vulnerable to despair. Need is not love, nor does it guarantee success. Rather, I suspect that need deludes and guarantees failure. Persevering with the knowledge that it does not guarantee success, gives us both purpose and freedom from despair. We can only play the hand we were dealt, whether it’s a winning hand or not. And we won’t know if it mattered to anyone else until we are on the other side of winning or losing.

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