from the work of
Michael H. Brownstein
Beauty Is What Beauty Is

There are times in your life—
I don’t know when—
Beauty is skin deep
and ugliness is not a full color poster of vomit,
but the latest layer of your life.
There are days when it is impossible not to step on a crack.
Never cross under a ladder when someone is working above you.
A broken mirror needs to attach splinters to your hand.
A black cat may be a jaguar or a lynx,
the magik of night a trick of light.
To see a black panther in the wild…
Do you not know ugly layers of life build into scars
like the corrosive power of salt,
the obsession to spit on a broom, 
the inability to let go of hands at a pole? 

Sticks and Stone

Words do not contain stone,
but boulders of different size, 
gouged and scratched, splintered, 
petrified wood and wood rotted.
Sometimes words are golf ball sized hail.
Words contain blood, large monsters, 
knives and murder. Words are fences
capable of deceit, keep out, allow in..
Words are trapdoors and lost limbs,
torn muscle, an act of adultery,
the final weight at the wizard’s trail.
Words break bones and keep them broken.

The Swamp of Jefferson City, Missouri

The swamp of Jeff City
asphalt and granite walls,
an ooze of beer and drunken smiles.
Every now and then
a possum and a cat race 
near the graveyard of bent tombstones,
shallow waters and green ponds.
Tobacco laden spit
stains the hardwood floor.

After the Visit to the Dentist

my mouth a rectangular room 
cool light and gardened
dessert heat and warm sand
red sky red lips red river. 

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Copyright © 2009  Michael H. Brownstein

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