Lion – A Poem by Brandon White

A free verse poem inspired by Van Morrison’s Listen to the Lion.


Listen, listen, listen
to the lion inside of me.
Van the man’s words echo in my mind.
I should listen to the lion,
but instead, I’m listening
to a dead man’s voice
coming from my car stereo
as if it has somehow
tapped into the other side.

Something is telling me
to stop writing this,
that this is lousy fucking writing.
That’s what it’s saying.
Did I take my brain pill this morning?
I can’t remember.
I listen, listen, listen
to the dead man’s voice,
and wonder.

I have to write this,
even if the voice in my head hates it.
If I don’t,
then I probably won’t write
the next one either.
The voice will take my poetry,
like it took my music,
like it took my drive,
like it took my confidence.

Am I boring you yet?
Are you having negative thoughts about me?
I know the waitress at the Thai joint
was laughing at me. I fucking know it.
Am I that insecure?
Not usually.
Or am I?
You can stop reading
whenever you want.

Do you know how many times
I start to type out a message
only to delete it?
I want to know you.
I desire the company of like-minded people,
but I keep hitting backspace.
I don’t want to be disappointed, nor
do I want to disappoint,
and believe me, I will.

Please stay.
Keep reading.
Allow me this.
I don’t take the gift
of your time lightly.
I’m not like this
all the time.
I don’t like sharing
this side of myself.

I don’t want to leave.
I want to stay home today.
I’d like to sit in this frozen car
and watch the light
cut through the ice
while I listen, listen,
listen to the lion.
I will search my very soul
for the lion inside of me.

-Brandon White
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