Local People

Published on October 17th, 2017 | by Brittain Thompson


The View From the Balcony: A Poem

Be joyful, but never at another’s expense.

Such glee turns to dirt in your mouth

as your laughter dies.

Instead, be joyful at your own expense.

The investment will yield great returns.


Jest about others and they will despise you.

Jest about yourself and others will say,

“What a clever man!

He knows the irony of his own ways,

yet takes delight in exposing them.”


Don’t laugh at the drunks on the street;

there are drunks aplenty inside the bars.

You may be one of them,

as sometimes am I.


Don’t laugh at someone’s dress.

Don’t leer at the leerable,

lest you one day find yourself unknowingly

leering at your own son or daughter.



Read books, read magazines, read newspapers,

Read this. Always read this.

But don’t believe everything you read.



Converse, but do not conversate.

There is no such word.

In your exchanges, don’t give up your truth

just to get along.

Put it on pause if you must,

but never give it up,

for truth can be elusive.

Once found, hold fast to truth –

make it yours –

not your mother’s or your father’s,

not your sister’s or your brother’s,

not your friend’s or your enemy’s,

but yours.

Truth that is yours cannot be taken from you.

Why? Because it is you.

Without your truth you are no longer you,

rather, a barren soul in search of the essence

that once was you.

Embrace your truth like your life depends on it.

It does.


Do not overdo,

but if you must,

overdo with kindness, if you can.

You will fail, for kindness cannot be overdone.

Still, try.


The wind comes and the wind goes.

The wind is neither friend nor foe.

It carries our laughter,

it carries our tears,

it carries our dreams,

it carries our fears.

it teaches us this:

nothing is static

(except mistuned radios and charged clothing),

but there are constants:

the rising and the setting of the sun,

the changing of the seasons,

joy and pain – the siblings of love,

the Spirit that connects us all.

Befriend these – especially the Spirit.

They will anchor you when the wind blows,

no matter from whence it comes,

no matter to where it goes.


I watched a little girl on The Square.

She was in a wheelchair,

petting a dog who was on a leash.

Her leg was broken and in a cast.

His leg was raised as he pissed a post.

Such is life.

Live it.


And that’s the view from The Balcony. The Local Voice Ligature


The View From the Balcony: The Oxford Film Festival Christmas Nightmare
View From The Balcony: Now That the Storms Have Passed

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About the Author

Brittain was an associate editor of The Local Voice from 2015-2018, ex-journalism student, and bad noise maker from the highway town of Brandon, Mississippi.

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