Sunday, February 19, 2017

Somehow Thunder and Lightning

Michael H. Brownstein, Townsville, N. Queensland, Australia

Dusk, a mascara sky, its eyeliner running,
And he can barely see the purple of his hands.
Then the rains fall, heavy and hard, like pennies.
Somehow shadows jump. Somehow thunder and lightning.
Somehow every breath taken is another break in day.

When the clouds move to expose the white skin of the moon,
He is still there, a silhouette against dirty gray snow,
Color building on his cheeks, smoke, thin vapor.
Silence sleeps into space, fills it with nuance and sleep,
Rain an open wound bleeding. Snow slips into translucence,

A thinning of self, and shadow eats itself away.



I have run away from money
every penny jumping from me
through open windows like a scream.
Some things are that intense:
A hole in my back grows larger,
blistered pink, its edges raw with redness
I cannot purchase at a store.
When all of your blood leaks from your wrist,
all of the blood money, greed money,
easy living money, slippery and greasy money,
slides away, a gasp of air above the water,

everything filling with something else.



When carbon monoxide spills into the house,
The crack in the boiler warns them.
Thick black water tars the breaks in the floor
And he tastes the stagnant breath of stale life in his lungs.
So much easier to squeeze until it is squeezed away.

Some tasks are easier than others. Some skills
Swing to a levity of lighting, a need to stay awake
Until dizziness takes over, a deeding to the dark,
The panic that comes with the closing of the door,
The last residual gas straining air.

He holds onto her, touches her hair, lightly
Takes a breath near her left ear, wishes to kiss her.
He will not let go until she is ready
And even then he will not let go.

Everyone should be good at one thing.


Today's LittleNip:

—Mary Oliver

This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.


In the spirit of One World Through Poetry, Medusa welcomes Michael Brownstein from Australia this morning. Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The 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), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011). Welcome to the Kitchen, Michael, and don’t be a stranger! For more, see


Celebrate poetry around the world! And don’t forget that 
Mosaic of Voices in Sacramento presents Traci Gourdine 
and Patrick Grizzell today, Avid Reader at Tower on 
Broadway, 2-3pm, and Poetry in the Mine features 
Stanley Zumbiel and Patricia Wentzel in Placerville today 
at Love Birds Coffee and Tea Co., 
2021 Smith Flat Rd., 1-3pm. Scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about these 
and other upcoming poetry events in our area.