Philadelphia

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel like a weight bench
has appeared before me
in the street where I am standing 
in front of Philadelphia
City Hall.

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel like wind has blown open
a door and wherever I was
in solid life is now behind me
and this apparatus is trying
to tell me I can’t turn around. 

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel that feeling is unremarkable
and unimportant when you are pressed
to use what’s before you in a setting
you don’t know at all except
from pictures and maybe one trip long ago.

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel nothing beyond
the vague need to strip to the skin
and lie back and begin a workout
I’ve never done in my life and don’t think
I should be doing here. 

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel like denying this is Philadelphia
then wondering why it is Philadelphia
and why the weight bench is red
and who any of this was meant for
as it doesn’t feel like it’s meant for me.

I don’t feel that this
is how I should feel.

I feel like I should embrace
the feeling that this was meant
for someone else and perhaps
I am no longer the person I was
when I was on the other side of the door.

I feel I should change my name and move
to Philadelphia and forget my hometown
and my hometown love and my longing
for desert and mountain and a long
and fruitful life ending in a hometown bed.

I feel like a weight bench in Philadelphia
is all I’m good for now, that I’ve become
a sweaty old man struggling to lift 
things that get heavier and less
balanced as I go, a tin can beside me

with a scrawled sign
beside that that says, “Don’t you
love your brother, good 
people of Philadelphia? Toss me
a penny or two or more.”

I don’t feel like this 
is how I should feel,

but there is the bench and there is
Philadelphia City Hall surrounded by
heedless Philadelphians, 
and what difference does my unease make
when this is apparently all I have left?

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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