Saturday, June 2, 2018

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

A Familiarity with Strangers

we knew each other by the spotlight on wild flowers,
the bath of prairie sage and the colors blue and green
a glitter of light across the broad shape of grass near the blog
the swamp the busy muscles of mire and marshlands
a wave of thistle and a blockade of thorny rosebush

we knew each other by the spotlight on animal trails
the curvature of mud into earth stone into boulder
a crusade of pebbles across a breach shells to far from water
leaf imprints common deer tracks a sink of possum and skunk
the bend at the bluff taking us to the angle of palisade

we knew each other by the spotlight on birdsong
a thrust of wing and feather a storm of insects and then a quiet
the hurry of flying mammals and chimney sweeps rising
a whine a chirp a melody of temperament and hunger
the silence between refrain notes rests a pitch of light


I do not feel like spoiled meat
rancid heart
a register of dismay

An anger or an auger
an achor
metal rusting inside tissue

Echoes of ethos and ghosts
the ego of night
the boasting day

Seawalls breaking within tide
long streams of sand
a disconnect between rock and bone

Yet a mountain can roar
prairie grass flowers
hornets do not always sting

Saving the Light

her eyes blue cypress sky
taureen, squalene, Dorzolamide HCI
a tint of turquoise paper barked birch
prednisolone acetate, shark liver oil
the great heron indigo and pastel.

the First Cataract a series of pebbles,
small islands, a whiting of water
the Second larger and bolder
shallows and sediment
proteins with mass and shadows

vitamin C, a strength of zinc
a covering of wood and dead cherry blossoms
red peppers, bits of kale, pea protein
a purple scar and then a darker scar
glaucoma and finally a lack of light

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses.  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review,, and others.  In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samsidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell:  From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013), and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2013).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

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