Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

An Exploration of Matter and Clouds

We wake to a place we do not understand
folds of skin starch empty of breath,
the nearby stream the only space it knows,
the river trapped in the channel it creates for itself
and boulder puddles eroding into muddy flesh.
Dragons seek nourishment in the clouds
and the vapor streams we toss around
feed the others hiding in the sky.
Everywhere a bounty of molecules
stretching hands across itself,
spreading long fingers, and we who come
to this place far from memory
breathe an air full of nourishment and satisfaction.

Here is the Challenge:

Walk through the palace of no return,
spread a thread across the sphere,
break one rule everyday
and open the gate to the kingdom
of hail and large stones:
the planet of the unknown stalks us.

Early maybe Monday
blue air blue ice blue wind
time enough to avoid mob scenes of shadow
shivering behind tall buildings.
Each piece of shade owns a piece
of gravity, holds a piece of mass.
Grass lifts its face to the sun

Can gladness be murder?  What is fun?
A force to wind.  A rush to run.
White haired stalks of winter grass.
Suddenly everything shifts
into sunlight and moons.
This is the challenge
Is there no place to hide?

Go to Hell, She Said and I Wrote a List of Her Instructions

This is the country god made for us
hard scrabbled and scramble egged
frustrated with fusion, soft and easy,
every object of our affection in-between.

Suddenly there is no one left I wish to talk to,
a click of feathers and hollow bones,
the bird away, the dog excited

and I am not among the living
as I wish to be.  Nor am I among the dead.

Always a corpse takes the place of a corpse.
It's not cold enough outside yet
and I have still to invent fire.

After awhile memories of how it is done are no longer enough,
dreams are nightmares, blackouts insomnia,
the fruit tree at the front door unable to conceive fruit,
the bees unable to smell fresh blossoms,
night too long a period of silence,
day an adventure in passing time unable to recall.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published.  His latest works, Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah ( (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail,
Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures -- A Kind of a Hurricane Press).  His work has appeared in The CafĂ© Review.  American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others.  In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011: ).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).


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