Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Go to Hell, She Said, and I Wrote a List of Her Instructions

This is the country god made for us:
hard scrabbled and scramble egged;
frustrated with fusion, soft and easy;
every object of our affection in-between.
Suddenly there is no one left I wish to talk to:
a click of feathers and hollow bones,
the bird away, the dog excited,
and I am not among the living
as I wish to be. Nor am I among the dead.
Always a corpse takes the place of a corpse.
It’s not cold enough outside yet
and I have still to invent fire.
After awhile memories of how it is done are no longer enough;
dreams are nightmares, blackouts insomnia,
the fruit tree at the front door unable to conceive fruit,
the bees unable to smell fresh blossoms,
night too long a period of silence,
day an adventure in passing time unable to recall.
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,, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011) and Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011). Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites 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.

Categories: Poetry, Themed, Unfortunately I can't love you

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1 reply

  1. “This is the country god made for us/hard scrabbled and scramble egged/frustrated with fusion, soft and easy,/every object of our affection in-between.”

    That intro is absolutely wonderful. I love the whole of it, but I’m really impressed with the intro stanza. Wonderful!

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