Posts Tagged ‘Michael Brownstein’


THE CITY MAN DRINKS TOO MUCH AT THE PICNIC

To draw a line of words across a glade of green,

The dew, morning, a house blemished by strangler figs,

And yet a shadow reaches into light and light itself glistens emerald’s sheen.

The city man does not know his character. Living is a monologue.

Every leaf olive and lime. He is not a patient man.

The forest beckons. What he knows is not a travelogue.

Each leaf takes on the shape of shadow, a softer shade of heather.

When the city man stumbles, he does not fall. Nor does he dialogue.

Some things matter less than matter more, the prairie sea green,

Jade, a touch of yellow, evergreen, a color to leather.

This goes unseen. A pity not to know green from smog.

 

A DEBT TO WATER

The well of depression on my right,

so deep and sordid,

smells beautiful.

Beautiful?

Beautiful is a shake of geese chattering toward the north.

Beautiful is the chorus of frogs at sunset, the pond purple-blue, green, then gold.

Beautiful is snow wren and king vulture and the ridiculous four legged snake.

Beautiful is not—

but of course it is—

the most perfect ever

taking every sadness from your eyes,

every sadness from your voice,

every sadness from your fears,

every rendering of flesh, every anguish, every bite,

every terrific madness,

every punch of the heart.

The well of depression on my right

welcomes all of this and more.

Don’t worry.

After a time your feet will be less bunioned, your head less bare,

the scars on your knuckles smooth and gentled,

your voice a charmed bracelet

intricate, that simple.


SNOW
The soft lust of snow,
White imprints against the trees,
Diamond juice, clean, responsible,
And when the great melt comes,
We lean against the rain,
A grand mist gathering into us
Like breath, like yellow light
At the corner, each tick
Another stream to the sea,
Flickers of color in fields of cloud.

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
The day after Christmas
She let go of every gift heavy within her
Like a gasp of air early in the morning.
Ten pounds to freedom, she told her friend on a ship in Hawaii ,
And I feel as if most of my weight has been lifted.
She was cooking oatmeal in a great pot
And hot chocolate in a smaller one
And a holiday card absent an envelop lay open on her laptop
Like a great tern.


BECAUSE SHE WANTED

Because he wrote bad poetry, she loved him.
Because he sometimes laughed, she loved him.
Because he was imperfect in a perfect kind of way,
She loved him.
In the lacking of addition, she added.
Everything a silence and a motion,
A leaning into and a bending away,
A because she would always love him,
And she did.

Material

The flannel in life the fabric of love,
Warm as sunshade across lighted lakes,
A halo around stardust, a soul around souls.
There is pleasure in a ripened peach,
The scent of a flowering prairie,
The coolness creating angels in the snow.
The fabric of love the flannel in life,
A happiness beyond seashells,
Beyond beaches, beyond a kiss.

MOLECULES AND THE SHAPE OF THINGS

My father was a short man,
five five, five six, five seven
thick with a heavy gray weight,
context, cocoa and nonconformity,
Every substance a different weight.
Every step another substance.

RHYMES

Some inspire to beauty, poetic rhyme;
others, decay and odor.
Wonder comes with word and action,
depression and destruction:
the path of broken skylines.

JACK FROST SLEEPS WITH GOLDILOCKS

Cold sleeps in the room with Beauty
rearranging itself into frost giants and lumberjacks.
Snow White is still in development,
and Loki—well, he’s already a myth.
This I know: Beauty sleeps under twenty blankets
and always feels the pinch of the pea; grows her hair
long enough to cut, and cuts it; carries fresh meat pies
through the forest to lure wolves to their death
and skins them; and when she falls asleep in her brass bed,
the cold remains, unremitting, like a poisoned apple,
like a hundred year sleep, like a broken glass slipper
Humpty Dumptied into so many pieces
no prince in love can glue it back together again.


A SKULL OF LIGHT
 
A knot of hair
candles in the sockets–
a head is bone
and decomposed flesh–
the brains cut away
and the eyeballs blank.
 
Even the night sky
black bruised coal
 
Even the forest and the trees
burnt to cinders
 
Even the light from the eye
 
Even the one lock of hair
 
Even the hand holding to it
 
Even the thorn of winter

 

WINTER AND I LET THE CROWDED BUS DOOR SLAM IN HER FACE
 
–an apology thirty years late
 
Winter is change and diplomacy,
slush and sleet, a tango of ice,
the thick overcoat of snow,
and one man who remembers
to open doors for others, remove
his hat, say thank you and
you’re welcome, please and
thanks again. The sun is shining
over the white grass, the white
tree trunks, the white sidewalks,
the parked cars buried in white.
Winter is when people turn
and help others dig their way out.