Neuropathy, 4 AM

Obsessed with what I hope exists
but am too lazy to research:

a method for knowing when this water
was last opened and poured.

A method for determining 
when the bottle was last taken out

of the refrigerator,
how much was in it,

how much was consumed
before it was

put away. How many hours have passed
since the light last went on and then off

as the door was opened,
then closed. If it does not already exist

there must be someone in a lab
working on formulas, testing

hypothesis after hypothesis
for considering the movement of 

molecules, the conservation of energy,
how to know from the state of now

what the state of then was
and how long ago then was. 

It must be measurable. People
measure things. I measure things,

or wish I could: the progress 
of how my nerves are dying, for example.

How pain grew from a tingle
in my big left toe to that full blaze

in both feet as if I’m shoeless on asphalt 
in a beach parking lot

that comes pouring into me
at four AM when I’m just lying there

trying to sleep till the alarm.
There must be a measure of how much

that takes out of me as I lie there
already worrying about money and 

the limits of hope and how clumsy
I’ve become when I wash

a dish or a spoon; how difficult it is now
to pull a shimmer

out of my guitar
with my numbing fingers as I used to.

In the dark I can’t even recall
the state of then. All I have 

is the state of now. There must be
some way to measure the distance,

the decay, the way back to the core
of the memory of being whole.

What if I am the measure? What if 
it’s all been an experiment to see

how then becomes now? I want to talk to
the whoever in whatever dark lab

wherever it is to understand
why this is so. Wasn’t it enough

to see how I was already
damn near empty

before deciding
to change the parameters?

If not, I want to hear
what’s been learned from this;

people measure things
and someone has to know.

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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