Two Poems by Michael H Brownstein

Singing in the Mesh

Poems sprinkle out from the spice canister
High yellow vowels, sand-scarred S’s,
Antigua blue cocktail beaches, Montserrat
Black rivers of ash, small consonants
And heavy wet K’s and clicks and slides.

The sounds gather round the bonfires
And the dancers, the drummers and the singers,
The storytellers and the women of poetry,
And trade winds lift the soft vowels
And thick consonants high into the air.

Words form into imagery and imagery
Into word tones, natural rhythms, themes
Of courage and love, sickness and hope,
Despair and happiness, and somewhere
A rope breaks and the poem sets us free.

A Lust and a Sorrow

She gave up on what makes humans animals,
Blood-engorged flesh, muscular hard, skin tight
As staples tying paper together, as piercing,
As the ugly sigh of marital rape and fists for hands.

I don’t know how this goes, the boy told the man
And even as a man, he did not know. Yet his knuckles
Were always bruised, his teeth bent lopsided,
His stance off-balanced as if he carried extra weight

When he did not carry anything extra, ever.
There were others who carried his things for him
And there were still others who gathered what
He needed harvested and pardoned, harvested and cut.

She understood the power she possessed, the animal
In the human, the temptation to do evil without worries
And she understood him best of all. She knew how
Things go and she knew tears to the skin healed,

But most of all she knew the consequences of celibacy,
The lack of skin on skin contact, the gods of the asexual.

Michael H Brownstein’s work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetry Super Highway and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including: A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013).

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