Sunday 13 February 2022

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein



At the crossroads, our gods always entertained us

and we left gifts enough to satisfy wild dogs, selfish spirits

and jackals. Saturday night, late. (Perhaps Sunday morning, early),

our gods watched us imprison two men deep in the sand

until only their heads were exposed. Strangers, they did not belong.

Suddenly the earth began to roll releasing a fresh spring.

Carob trees sprouted out of nowhere and there was shade and refreshment,

An angel appeared badly disfigured as a foreign trader.

Not able to fold her wings, she kneeled before both men.

There was no need for all of this. These men were different..

They deserved punishment, but she knew of them what we did not.

With a look she silenced us into another place.

An earthquake was not necessary to set them free.

This, too, happened at the crossroad.





Do not bite a ghost. They are chalk

And have no taste. You can add sage, salt,

Pepper, even garlic. It will make no difference.

Do not clean everything everyday.

Ghosts are blindsided by dust in light.

But remember to remove every cobweb.

Ghosts are famous for collecting spiders and flies.

If these rules are not enough,

Go on living. Forget about them.

They will move someplace else.

Ghosts are obsessed with being remembered.





Make sure the doors are locked,

find the heart with the weight of a feather

for the heaven or hell scale of Anubis,


paint your portrait with the colours of stone,

dig out a puddle for the grandkids,

drop the wall of consternation into the pool of doubt--


The sky broken hearted, full of blue,

the slight timbre of koras and pluriarc,

a murmur of storm within band formation--


Every flip, every leap, every jump into a split,

the judging platform empty because I now remember,

everyone stuck in traffic, within a staff of trebles--


and before I go to sleep and dream the dream of dreams,

I must free the great bird of prey from the Temple of Skulls

deep in the valley of pyramids and jungle reeds.

Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volume of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else was recently published by Cholla Needles Press (2018).


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