Two Poems by Michael H. Brownstein: My Hike in the Wilderness, and The Flannel of Life

MY HIKE IN THE WILDERNESS

Three days of hiking with only bottled water

is penance enough for one lifetime,

the path littered with opera and breath-beats,

sarcasm of the bullfrog, the yelp of red fox.

Every night enough stars shoot across the sky

to grant every wish for a hundred years of wishing,

every aspiration, every melody, every quarter note.

Sweat streams puddle down the corridor of my back,

my ears open into mouths, my tongue catches sound on its tip.

Near the end of the trail, resting, every goodness within me,

within my back, my hands, my blistered feet, my muscles,

everything thyme, sage, peach water, an essence of beauty.

In the end I did not enter the shiny box of darkness.

I dyed my hair instead, cleaned my teeth,

fell back in love.

That was what was written on the exit sign

at the beginning of the trail

leading back to home.

THE FLANNEL OF LIFE

The flannel in life the fabric of love,

Warm as sunlight across a shaded lake,

A halo of soul dust, a halo of hope,

Today let your insides wake.

The mirror isn’t everything

And pleasure is such a simple taste,

The smell of a flowering prairie,

A loved one embraced.

The fabric of love the flannel in life,

A happiness beyond beaches,

Beyond seashells, beyond a kiss,

The texture of ripe peaches.

When you open your heart,

You open a door full of ringing.

Go into the day alive and well,

And listen to everything singing.

~Michael H. Brownstein

Michael H. Brownstein’s work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetry Super Highway and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005) and A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011) and the author of a volume of poetry, A Slipknot into Somewhere Else (Cholla Needles Press, 2018). He presently resides in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he lives with enough animals to open a shelter.

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