Wednesday 10 March 2021

Four Poems by Brian Rihlmann


Burgers And Buffoons 


Standing at a local 
fast food joint,
waiting for a burger,
I see an ad placard
for their newest
breakfast sandwich,
and I flash back
to Homer Simpson,
lying on the couch,
drooling over a TV commercial 
for a burger, topped
with eggs, cheese, bacon...
the fattiest, 
most artery clogging
monstrosity imaginable.

And we laughed,
because something like that
would never actually exist.

But here it is.

Yesterday’s satire incarnate,
as it is in so many ways—
the insane gadgetry 
that we mindlessly serve,
the clowns and buffoons
that are running the show,
as the empire squeaks it’s way,
like a bloated, overfed pig,
to the packed,
hollowed ground 
at the bottom 
of the playground slide.

A Common Moth


after our letters and phone calls

I finally decided

and drove down in January 

just in time to catch

the palm trees still decorated for Christmas 

like she’d told me about

but before Valentines Day we 

were already clawing at each other

like before

so I packed my bags

and hightailed it back to Reno

leaving her in Phoenix with a note—

Sorry, babe...

I guess we’re better off

as just an idea to one another 

I thought I was so fuckin’ smart—

if I really was I wouldn’t have believed

either of us had changed—

me with the booze

her with the rock

both of us short-fused—

or that the fifth time

could be a charm

but those goddamn redheads

with their freckles

and their fire



Summer Job


they called us “The Stains”

all the old men in the maintenance department 

at Glen Rock High School 

like we were skid marks 

in their decades-old underwear

we drove a beat up 70s Dodge truck—

“The Stainmobile”

the only thing in the fleet

we were allowed to touch

due to previous mishaps 

and it showed the years

of teenaged boys driving it 

to the town dump

with loads of leaves and tree branches

in every ding, scratch 

and dent on its battered green body 

yet it puttered on...

that old slant six with oil black as tar 

its front end creaky

as an aging maintenance man’s knees

as he barked at one of us to—

Get back up on that ladder

you ain’t done yet, kid...

and today, if you don’t mind


Please Fuck Off


reformers are a pain in the ass

always nagging, cajoling 

why don’t I fix my temper problem 

cultivate healthy relationships 

get up to date on current events

take care of that damn toenail fungus

and in general 

get myself together


maybe I like myself 

scattered all over the place

omnipresent, like a god

like I once was

like I shall be again

I’m acclimating to the chaos 

a dress rehearsal

if you will


besides, if I did all the things

you know—

maintain my car on schedule...

take financial matters

more seriously...

plan for my future...


that’s all time taken away

time wasted

time I could have been

doing nothing but sitting here

perhaps scribbling, daydreaming,

or just scratching my balls

and enjoying the moments 

of my all too brief



Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest poetry collection, "Night At My Throat," (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press.

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