SLIPPING INTO THE MIST OF WHAT MIGHT BE A HEAVEN
The dirty gods never need a bath or haircut.
The dirty gods never learn to shave.
The dirty gods have perfect pearls for teeth,
clean underwear and clean fingernails
The dirty gods breath smells of fresh baked bread,
perfume, the fragrance of a woman in love.
Spine of brick
Flow of water
This is what crushed the water,
this is how the trees died
and do you see in the distance?—
This is how the mud grew up
slipping from limestone into slate.
THE MOLECULAR LEVEL OF THE KINGDOM
Walk through the palace of no return,
spread a thread across the sphere,
break one rule everyday
and open the gate to the kingdom
of hail and large stones.
blue air blue ice blue wind
time enough to avoid the mob scene of shadow
shivering behind tall buildings
Grass lifts its face to the sun
Can gladness be murder? What is fun?
A force to wind. A rush to run.
White haired stalks of winter grass.
A DORMITORY TOO MANY WISH TO ENTER
In the dormitory of perfect birds there lives a passion for perfect violence
and you go into old age with all of your lies,
reminiscing by the telling of these lies
until every lie you know
is a lie you own
But everything is OK—
leave this place and let
your life live out somewhere else.
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, and The Pacific Review. He has nine chapbooks including I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).