Friday, July 31, 2009
Photo courtesy of Dave Rubio, CA
This month features Kyle Moore and Michael Brownstein
A river of faked bile and scum flows
through a forced, gap-toothed smile.
Termite feces, vaguely brain-like
the product of ironic treasure hunts
urged on by demanded crayon scribbles,
spreading like fungus that covers all
until nothing recognizable remains.
I awake to the feel of moss on my tongue.
The stale stench of beer soaked carpet
reawakens regrets best left forgotten.
The faint moans of Sharpie-faced strangers
and those with time release virtues rise up
from their envy worthy masks of contentment
as the only greeting breath as I sneak out,
picking my way through a forgetful field,
an unseen specter, soon to be unmissed.
She had seen enough already
When the bedpans hit the floor
The years softened her face
To papier-mâché easily torn
As she sought to make visible
The hidden, obvious demons
Tearing cheeks, used up skin
Packed under sterile fingernails
Her face now the face of humanity
After sedation she shut her eyes
Never to open them again
She had seen enough already.
Kyle Moore was born in Gaithersburg, Maryland and after graduating from high school worked various blue collar jobs until his love for reading and writing pushed him back towards college. He is currently majoring in English and living in CA.
THE SOUND OF FEAR LATE IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
We talk about everything I don’t want to talk about, and that is enough.
Quiet sings from beyond windowed walls
and earth does expose men gone to pieces.
It’s just that machine-guns really are that loud
and there really is intrinsic value to pain.
My daughter asks if blood washes vegetation,
if words can come from soil when it rains.
I’m afraid I do not know if I will ever understand the answer.
The light touch of snow bends the leaf,
The brown grass of late winter feeling the weight,
And there are tracks, too, small imprints—
Vole and field mouse, raccoon and possum.
The forest has powers to transform itself to another place
And still the snow falls into the early afternoon,
The trees letting everything slip through their fingers,
Everything seasoned, everything ready to accept what has to come.
A fawn looks up from the brush.. It tastes the snow.
It predicted its falling. It holds to stillness like a wall.
And the perfect leaf embraces the perfect snow,
Until at last it must let go, snow and wind.
A SHIFT IN THE FIELD
I have thought about this long and hard
and have decided I would rather die without you around me.
My father died alone in a basement bedroom
in a house where people loved him.
My mother's second husband died surrounded by all of us—
peacemakers and enemies, silent and cordial.
My mother refuses to die.
I grant her thirty more years of living, healthy with grace.
My brother who fights death with guns and stretches,
I grant a second century.
His wife so small and handsome
I grant the same and twenty years more.
Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments with his students, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators and the State of Illinois Title 1 Convention, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.