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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Poetry By Michael H. Brownstein

Michael H. Brownstein work has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013).  He is the editor of First Poems  from Viet Nam (2011).


INSTRUCTIONS FOR WAR 
Don't badger the enemy when he walks onto the Reign of Terror.
Step back to observe.
Watch his hands, his eyes, his knees. Especially his knees. 
They are the most confusing part of a human
cracking, breaking, sometimes falling to the wayside.
Check the field for potholes and traps, locust burns and devil's claw--
all things that thirst for fractures, blood or light.
Make sure you don't attach yourself to things that cling to flesh.
Only then should you enter the Brickyard of Sapphires.
Glitter is everything.
Don't let its sun get in your head. 


YOU HAVE THE PERFECT EVERYTHING
You have the perfect everything,
But which am I?
Not the city snow
Gray and full of air.
Not the river
Thick with waste,
A lack of breath.
Not dawn’s first sunbeam
Over the lake.
Not rolling driftwood
Over the waves. Not 
The old herring gulls
Waiting for that foolish fish
To rise to the surface
And study the commotion.


AN AGENDA FOR THE MIND ONE WINTER            

I have learned to be silent around her,
not because silence is gold,
but because noise is not.
A twitterbird lands in the jagged tree out back,
bends its neck into a break in the branch--
a wash of color across its feathers.
We walk the dirt worn track, she singing 
under her breath, lap after lap: 
the twitterbird left behind.
The season a month old, no snow, the grass
yellowing, a shock of bronzed evergreens,
a darkening of light, a shadow of bark.

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