Tag Archives: Tony Brown

The Political Is Only Personal On Off Nights

by Tony Brown


About something
not obvious we have
almost nothing to say

though it may be full of earwigs
ready to chew us up
Though it may be ravening rapidly
obliquely to the top news story
Though it may swing old lions by the tail
and stomp the young into the earth
Though it may fill itself
with poison champagne
spilling easily for its champions

if it ain’t easy
to see sides to it
we set it aside

though it’s work worth doing
and there are possible cathedrals and temples in it
Though people die in between its positions
as if those were jaws snapping without thought
Though it is work that has never been attempted
full of grave dirt
and torn shrouds

if it is not work someone else
will do with us
we act like it’s not to be done

though this is our watch
though this is our work
though we are the problem
though this is the most crucial thing
though we are the problem
though we stink of it undone
though we are the problem

we do not do what needs doing
unless we can hang the blame
on a banner and slogan
bearing a finger pointing off stage


Originally published at Dark Matter.

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DIY

by Tony Brown


She burns sage at the root of her favorite tree
and calls herself priest while in town they call her slut and worse
because she dares to love who and what and when she wants.

On the nights of the full moon the men and the women of this town
come out and circle her stucco walls.
There is something in there they need.

And out there, in front of the white church, on the green lawn, right under the nose
of the fat pastor, she dances without bending a blade of grass.
God finds her agreeable.

Over there, in front of the frat house, two men kiss –
and the dangerous drunken boys inside see it
and decide to do nothing — this time.

That’s a start. Two have begun
to be comfortable making public
their own sacrament of the infinite.

And my grandmother sniffs,
” ‘ Elderly’ is such a spindly word.
The legs of that word do not begin to support me.”

She traded her electric typewriter for a laptop
two years ago and writes the definitive poetry of our age
between the innings of Cubs’ games.

She will not stop smoking. Ever.
Swears that if she gets to heaven to find the clouds are posted,
she’ll find another place to light up.

Friends, the arms of God are nearly endless –
but there you hang out at the end of one of them,
like a finger on a vast hand.

All that’s asked of you is that you touch the earth
and transmit what you feel
back to the Heart.

So — make a living.
Make a life. Make love. Make art.
Adorn this world with the work of your soul. But –

Do it yourself. No one
can do it
for you.


Note: Previously published at Dark Matter.