MICHAEL H. BROWNSTEIN - POEMS
WITHIN THE SHADOW OF HAIKU
The dogs are in the haiku section of light
the aisle blocked by a thickness of sunshine
the shelves overburdened with shame
the banners overwrought by forced rhyme
and the expanse of heaters planning a blizzard of sleet
One of the dogs barks in syllables
another howls a refrain
and then a sigh of gratitude
simile onomatopoeia repetition a lack of greed
a simple carol a simple snack of prayer
SONG FROM THE EVENING STAR
Within the texture of love,
a heavy crust of cloth,
the thick orb of nightfall,
the easy sigh of wind
lullabies itself to sleep.
Do you see the lights in the distance?
The fog erased outline of the station?
Are you comfortable with your name?
Late afternoon, a spit of sun, sand,
A triumph after the last bloodletting.
Where do we want to go from here?
The temple not destroyed, but desecrated,
Blood graffiti, carcasses of pig,
The ark wide open, spilled oil, broken lamps.
We will not wait until tomorrow to clean,
We are comfortable with who we are,
The mirage of light in the distant our legacy.
One days supply lasts eight days,
One prayer resonates in song and psalm,
One mount, one name, a household of praise.
from my unpublished manuscript, The Tattoo Garden of Capella
HOW THE FIRST INK CAME TO BE
Pillars of Creation—the nebula of dust and gas towers--
tattoos of star and cloud—claw ripped across an atmosphere--
ink blue and brown, red and gold, skin deep and deeper--
and this is where we get the rock to make our fancy colors,
the Tattoo Artist of the Palisades tells the tourists
in the innermost sanctum of the Tattoo Garden of Cappella.
Do you not see the streaks of birth? The stretch marks of my love?
Look at the detail. Notice how colors blend, how life begins,
how this place too may have one time been a grand nebula.
Then a small glitter of white-blue fire rushes near him.
He reaches out, easily catches it and gently tosses it
toward a gray boulder sagging in the palisade. Watch, he says,
and we do. The white-blue flame turns into a white-blue bird
meshing itself forever into the rock—We’ll call it Star Bird,
he says, and then he turns and walks through a doorway.
What! Don’t be astonished! There is nothing here but light,
cosmic dust and cosmic glow, everything here a star-child.
Into the cave we walk, the passage deep and well lit,
spindles of star dust, a litter of fiery coloring, remnants
of ancient times, new horizons--Pillars of Creation--
a core and an inner core--convection currents--a battery of suns.