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spacer.gif   Michael H. Brownstein
Posted by : The Author on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 05:45 PM
Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name .

When I die order the autopsy.
there you will find thick scars
coated with a cover of mucous,
pearls the size of fists, open hands,
bruised apricots and apricot pits,
agates, black blood, small diamonds.


The deconstruction of mish-mashed words designed to lines
everywhere a poetics of brainwash, brainware, brainpause,
academics, poetry of denial and poetry in denial of poetry.
Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH divided into stanzas
becomes an ode and each sentence Hemingway wrote
a line of blank verse. Lists of errands get published
as high poetry. It's too bad and no better for us--
a risk is only a risk if anyone is paying attention.
Give yourself permission to write the poetry of no.


Have you settled on a sun
you could hold in your arms,
a fierce flash of pride
piercing deep into skin?

Cara majored in angst at the university.
She did all we asked of her.
She did not slip into hiding.
She did not scream into bright light.
She did not shout obscurities.

Earthbound, we could only watch,
settled on ticks and dust mites,
a nest of hiding cockroaches,
the sweaty moisture of a collar.


Do not greet Yan-Wang wearing purple.
Do not feed the elephant head beef.
Do not free Izanami. She likes it here.

What is place after all?
A piece of wood, a string of metal,
one material bound to another?

Heroes live and then they die,
one god is as good as another,
during the storm hail falls

and the similarity between two subsets
is a piece of rope made from hemp
becoming something else Thursday night.


Sometimes the length of skin no longer has texture.
You settle on a bump, a bruise,
one silly hair too near a mole.
This room is neither too dark or too light.
You are floating on a garden you found once
and you go there
the roots of chicaharro, alfrombrilla, and perra breaking through Aztec rafts
anchored to mud and muck,
islands in the middle of a lake ending this story.


After you finish torturing the camel,
depriving it of food and water,
its hump skewed to the side like a sail,
look to the rat: It is not a cockroach
hiding in dark corners. One morning
you will wake to an empty cage,
teeth marks clamped around bent metal,
a hole knawed through wood, a mark
near your neck where it drank your sweat,
perhaps your blood. Rats have a purpose too.


My first half-life I fell for women who abuse men.
I fell for their children or the children I had with them.
I visited beauty where there was no beauty, and I pursued it.

It falls into a telling of the dating of women who hate their mothers
like the search for a tree in the shadow of rock and there is no tree.
Beauty is in the eye of the heart, the inhaled cloud of sage and cedar.

hands gathering the white breath of the sweat lodge.
I choose who I choose, discover stars within love,
work for the wrong choices and no longer have a want to be a hero.


The weather bends like the arc of an angel.
It does not break It is more a milk shake
or the sudden view of a lake over a rise.
The sky changes to grey; wakes to blue.
There is a moon. There is a star. Sunrise,
a willow tree of clouds. A twig bends to break.


Remember first to enter the kraal naked
holding only the blue bead of the Dohobo woman.
Deep in this fury of vine and rain,
It alone holds an essence to sky.
Do not look at the king when he addresses you.
Listen. Then request your request. Speak firmly.
The Elephant People have practiced memory.
They understand the ways of patience and courage,
the urge to explore an idea or wish,
a need to find humans within the confines of animal skin.


(After a news item: he stuck the fire cracker into his mouth, lit the fuse, and hoped to die.)

Early spring covered the region with angel feathers.
Earth melted into deposits of bloody mud.
He had no use for transitions,
felt no obligation to join scene to scene.
He had, however, prepared himself for a sudden ring in the ear,
the sound of glass breaking,
the almost silent crack of the plaster,
that one second of searing pain.
He had not prepared himself to awake in the hospital,
everything too black from bandages,
skin recording that one prior second and multiplying it.
Failure became a part of him
like a toe, like a left arm,
like the lighting of a fire cracker and running when he was young
still naive enough to believe after purgatory
there really was a heaven; there really was a hell.


The witch-who-walks-with-clouds
does not walk on clouds.
Nor does she live in clouds.
She cannot go above clouds
or below clouds
and never through clouds.
And we-who-walk-on-earth look at clouds
see only clouds.


one blue sock and one black
a blanket wrinkled into the face of a bear
one chair at an angle
a shirt hanging down from the second chair, mouth gaped open, oinking
three sheets of blank paper and one with a drawing
one kora, one broken string
a CD, a cassette, a pen


Let us take care of all of our needs
the licencing
an excess of lines

and yet night comes in the middle of day
brittle and bright.

This is what they tell me from their hiding places
behind that wall, the mirror, the clutter in the far corner:
There is a purpose for a passion. These are the ones to watch.
Those who hold to nothing hide with us.
We are the dead ones still alive. Join us.
We never wait in line.

Note: Michael H. Brownstein is a widely published poet. His most recent publication, A PERIOD OF TREES, was released by Snark Publishing.

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