Friday, August 30, 2013

Three Poems by Michael Brownstein

I am past fifty and wondering where I am going with this. 
Hanukah has ended, Christmas is past, Kwanza is gathering mass. 
A hundred feet from the trail, the horse barn has the smell of horses, 
Sweat and sawdust stained and sticky, mold drenched in snow. 
A son cannot understand the reflections of a father, 
A daughter asks if God wears clothes all of the time, 
And a sister says she knew an angel once: She never wore anything. 
Early morning, the resident blue jay hops on its branch: 
Glory. Glory. Glory. A wife has an inability to see, 
A son combs his hair without a mirror, a daughter dresses in the dark, 
and a sister says: I met God once.  She is always naked before the mirror.

The dog
Living in my house
Does not belong to me.
The woman
Across the street
Is someone I do not
Wish to know.
The tree topped
By the City of Jefferson
No longer can be climbed.
We enter doorways
Acred across fields
Of storefronts, broken casings,
Coyotes, raccoon teeth.
Do you not understand the strike in lightning,
the thunder curse that comes after,
the unsustainable armadillos moving
northwards with the warm waters?
Rootworm, boll weevil, red-winged
blackbird, great grizzly of the western caves,
West Niles virus, give us your best shot. 
The Australian box jellyfish drinks
in the oxygen of a change in weather,
its long tentacles black lipsticked tire treads,
wind worn, wind weaved, a car careening
out of control, its driver breaking ferociously,
an oak, thick weed, tall grass, the only future
either will ever know. Make sure
the last woman alive turns out the lights. 
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-Missori, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures--A Kind of Hurricane Press). The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other PoemsHis work has appeared in The Café ReviewAmerican Letters and Commentary, Xavier ReviewHotel AmerikaMeridian Anthology of Contemporary PoetryThe 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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