top of page
  • Oscar Brown, Jr.


Peering dimly through the haze

That beclouds all yesterdays

I try often to appraise

Analyzing phase by phase

All I feel and hear and see

Of the once and former me

Scattered over used to be

Rounded up in reverie

Summers, winters, falls and spring

Songs my heart no longer sings

Wounds that have outlived their stings

Laughter that no longer rings

Coins with which my life was tossed

Ghosts of grand illusions lost

Hopes abandoned in exhaust

Bridges I have finally crossed

Bits of banners once held high

Aspirations left to die

Cases I no longer try

Loves to which I’ve bid good-bye

Laws by which my life was ruled

Lessons by which I’ve been schooled

Lies that failed and some that fooled

All in recollection pooled

Swirling in that misty mix

Fading memory depicts

With its knack for playing tricks

Points in life defy my fix

From impressions brought to mind

What direction can I find

By what plan of any kind

Was my destiny designed?

As I view the evidence

Seeking to sort out some sense

I discover deep, intense

Contradictory arguments

Gleams of gladness, globs of gloom

Leap and lark or lurk and loom

Down the pathway from the womb

Leading to my certain doom

What of pleasure What of pain

What of loss and what of gain

What proved crazy; what was sane?

I lack logic to explain

What of choice and what of chance

Fate as versus happenstance

Lucks’ retreat or bold advance

As the stars and numbers dance?

What of pure coincidence

Oddities and accidents

That defy my best attempts

To make forecasts of events?

I cannot divine what’s due

What this world is coming to

Any better than I knew

Whys for what all I’ve been through

On occasion I wax wise

Puff up and philosophize

But in truth I realize

My life caught me by surprise

It was just the trap I found

As I put my foot to ground

Rubbed my eyes and looking ‘round

Spied the tomb to which I’m bound

Who am I to pick a flaw

In the face of natural law

What conclusions can I draw

From the doubts that nag and gnaw?

Too uncertain to be sure

Unfulfilled and insecure

I stew slowly in the pure

Essence of my soup “de jour”

Little can I claim I know

Only that where I may go

Mounting my peculiar show

Mine’s the one star that must glow

Other churches have their chimes

Other regions have their climes

Other people at all times

Have their reasons and their rhymes

But when all is said and done

As I trip beneath the sun

I remain the only one

With my persons’ race to run

Selfish though it seem to be

From myself I cannot flee

The one person that I see

I can’t live without is me

It is I the clown, the clod

I must push and pull and prod

Through each change, however odd

As I go to meet my God

But the God my heart adores

May not meet the needs of yours

Mine and I have private scores

To be settled in due course

By my private creeds and codes

Pasted ‘long the public roads

Down which I must tote my loads

And establish my abodes

I have looked always for light

That could clearly lead me right

Now and then one flickered bright

Mostly it was dark as night

Often I found faith to pray

Offer thanks to God each day

For what others well might say

“Would have happened anyway”

I have built my faith up strong

Proselytized it loud and long

Celebrated it in song

Never proved it right nor wrong

Yes, incredible but true

Mostly I have muddled through

Doing what I had to do

For what reasons too few knew

Reasons grasped or reasons missed

Reasons too strong to resist

Life seemed always to exist

With an unexpected twist

Mired in this muddle still

With some future left to kill

I pray hell or heaven will

Somehow help me fill my bill

Deep beneath my intellect

Pools of passion still collect

I do battle to project

Stiff as penises erect

From my psyche in a surge

Primal instincts still emerge

So compelling in their urge

That from them I can’t diverge

Animal, I’m made to made

Couple up and copulate

Plant my seed and propagate

(An arrangement I call great)

Male and female feeling good

Manhood within womanhood

Satisfied and understood

Coming into parenthood

Children’s’ lives to guard and guide

Brought a great paternal pride

Plus the struggle to provide

Life supports for which they cried

In my time I have not known

Greater joy than with my own

Vital flesh and blood and bone

Through the years as they have grown

Human being, Man Alive!

Subject to some inner drive

That requires that I survive

And in my own fashion, thrive

Life is often called a “play”

And I see it, too that way

As I go from day to day

After something that may pay

I have chosen for my part

Creating from mind and heart

Works intended to be art

Offered on the culture mart

I have seized the poets pen

Charged into the muses’ den

There to grapple once again

For fresh images of men

I have made my verses heard

Trying by my chosen word

To praise truth in what occurred

And make what seemed false absurd

With my words I won my wife

Taught my children, enjoyed life

And stood fitted out in strife

Better than with gun or knife

But though artist I may be

I do not feel myself free

To reveal the whole of me

Some the world need never see

Deep as is my debt to doubt

Why let all my secrets out

Just to have the public shout

“What is that damned fool about?”

To myself I may confess

Faults and flaws and weaknesses

But the world just has to guess

At the menu in my mess

Better not be too verbose

With opinions I disclose

Let my thoughts be largely those

No one ever hears nor knows

And in close relationship

Best not be too quick to quip

Seeing how a “buttoned lip”

Saved my tongue a many slip

Yet where I detect a taint

Though it’s certain I’m no saint

My heart does not beat too faint

For legitimate complaint

I complain it makes me sick

When my body politic

Is seduced to turn a trick

For some “pimps” who think they’re slick

Politics get out of hand

When in my own native land

I am at the cold command

Of some brutal bully’s band

Like a giant jamming noise

Tyranny blots out, destroys

Access to my artists’ voice

Turns me rebel without choice

I see some who seem to dread

Hearing what needs saying said

No such slave to be mislead

‘Druther be my corpse instead

While I live I’ll have some spine

Down on freedoms’ bottom like

There where only brave men sign

One “John Hancock” will be mine

Long as I reserve a birth

On this spinning Planet Earth

I will not be dealt a dearth

I will stand for all I’m worth

Give me credit, pay me cash

Something that is more than trash

I can spend perhaps or stash

For my offspring when I’m ash

I don’t know why I became

Mixed up in this living game

But I’m playing just the same

For my paltry piece of fame

Up ahead around a bend

Soon or late my game will end

What result ought I intend

From what I have left to spend?

Can I hope to be a sage

Captured on the printed page

Or an actor, center stage

Voicing eloquent outrage?

Will tomorrow still require

That I burn with great desire

Or compel me to retire

As I feebly expire

How much option is left me

To decide my destiny

Just what will my choices be?

I am unfit to foresee

For the future still denies

Vision to my prying eyes

There all I can recognize

Is the past dressed in disguise

Till I’m rung some final gong

I will sing my life’s’ long song

Just as loud and true and strong

As I can before this throng

I will play life as it lays

With a frequent backward gaze

Peering dimly through the haze

That beclouds all yesterdays

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page