Brian Rihlmann (USA)

Brian Rihlmann (USA)
Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada. He writes free verse poetry, much of it confessional. Folk poetry, for folks. He has been published in Blognostics, The American Journal of Poetry, Yellow Mama, Raven Cage Zine, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others.
if we have a goal
it’s to wring every drop
from this tattered sponge
to burrow and devour
eight, nine…
ten billion worms
through the apple
rotten, collapsing
to pass its life
and substance
through our sieve
to vomit our dream
upon the surface
and wallow in it
we’ve been at war
with this bitch
and her temperamental ways
from the beginning
we’ll pave her and shave her
wrap her in plastic
and burn the evidence
before we let
the next ones have her
a healed person
has no need
to humiliate
to dominate
to crush others
publicly or secretly
yet, at the very least
we all have
the visible belly wound
the bleeding brain
the glorious awareness
as we slide down
the serrated edge
toward the pile
at the bottom
I’d almost forgotten
my halfhearted signup
at an online meat market
I didn’t finish the profile…
too many questions
I couldn’t answer
because I didn’t know
the answers
but they’re happy
to remind me
with emails
of daily matches
a mugbook of castaways
seeking that special someone
but none of us
are desperate, no
I scan their faces…
here and there
a pair of eyes flash
like the signal mirror
of one lost
in the wilderness
and will I hover there
and drop a ladder down
or have I learned anything
at all?
Dad once told me
about a guy he worked with—
close to middle age
unmarried, no kids
lived alone
one of “those guys”
you know?
the other guys in the shop
said how lucky he was
no responsibilities
he could get drunk
chase pussy every night
he told them—
“You wouldn’t want to be me.”
Dad was mystified
“What did he MEAN by that?”
Well, Dad…
I could tell you
I could tell you, now
about the strange weeds
that can grow in the mind
of a man alone too much
and the strange creatures
that come to feed there
I could tell you
how things unheard
and unseen by the pack
provoke madness
in the lone wolf
and how things that once seemed easy
things that are easier with someone
like waiting in lines
cooking dinner
or driving to the coast
for the weekend
require more courage
the older you get
and you wonder when the day will come
that you won’t have enough
and you know
it’s the isolation
that’s causing the malady
yet you still crave it
like any junkie
because then you needn’t listen
as others tell you
how great your life is
or have them shove
their eggshell happiness
down your throat
I could explain all this, Dad
but I don’t think you’d understand
buried in a shallow grave
beneath the flowers
of my wish
to be a more peaceful
“enlightened” person
a zombie
claws at the dirt
dreaming of divinity
grinning with rotten teeth
at the thought
of your hearts
envisioning the arc of the future
bent as easily
as a green spring willow
in his bony grasp
so tell me…
when you’re alone
kneeling in prayer
or being “spiritual”…
do you hear
a scratching sound
or is it just me?

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