Saturday, August 31, 2013

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

You think intolerance a white paste 
you can spread across the air. Day comes 
with a break between minutes, the red 
flash of the red-winged blackbird, 
a greeting from your I’noGo tied*
slung not to your belt, but to your insides: 
If you say you cannot tell 
what is true and what is not true, 
you are saying you have lost 
faith with what is real. Clouds bunch 
beyond the lake, lay out a steady rainfall, 
move within wind like a herring gull 
in need of food. 

*Among some Alaska natives, the i'noGo tied ("house of spirits") refers to a luck and protection amulet made from blubber encased in seal fur.--Wikipedia

This story is about three men tied to a cave,
black bear no longer once upon a time,
two brothers, coyote and wolf,
the beginning of the flight to urban legend.
I tie a knot to two ropes,
then I tie three knots to five more,
but still the balloon is too heavy to fall from the sky
and the cloud eating dragon hides well in the blue clouds.
This is not a tale of love-lust and greed—
everything turns brown on the other side of things
and nothing else stays green for long.


the blue eye opening in the sky,
a graying, a washing of seed,
a great ray slips into the shallows
and warm waters form shadows
around him.  In the distance
the eye blinks and sunshine fills us.
We light the bonfires and pass out
sticks, marshmallows, graham crackers.
Soon the eye will blink again
and we will leave the surf and sand.
This storm is an easy one, the trees
bend to the wind, and we make
our way home to plywood and shelter.
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published. His latest works, Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah ( (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missori, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures--A Kind of Hurricane Press). The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other PoemsHis work has appeared in The Café ReviewAmerican Letters and Commentary, Xavier ReviewHotel AmerikaMeridian Anthology of Contemporary PoetryThe Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011: ( He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

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