The Shadow Breaker’s Song

by Michael H. Brownstein

I will wait for the sun to make it’s way up the stairs.
Then I’ll enter the place of underachievers, liars and thieves.
Where else can defiance be so simple?

Once she lied about water.
Twice she lied about silk.
No one waited for a third time.

The house of shadow glows with a light within shade.
Lost value finds itself on its shelves among the many books.
When the moon escapes its cage, this is where it comes for safekeeping.

Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released (Cholla Needles Press). Art by Karyn Kloumann, founder of award-winning indie publisher Nauset Press.

Truths in Consequences

by Michael H. Brownstein

Within a winter squashed sky,
a Frisbee of cloud, purple lit,
frozen icons on the beach,
a monster on the sand,
a madman in the water,
and nearby, a wintering wren
crashes into the icy barrier of heaven.
No, this is not a poem of winter
beauty, nor does it have a spiritual aspect
darkness and light, love in our soul.
None of this is as important
as the image of sunlit glitter
flashing its nakedness across the lake,
a boundary of anguish and glory.
We come to the streets to watch
the wind pick up dead brown matter,
two honey locusts drowning 
under the weight of dead leaves
hanging from every branch
as if they were all of the bats
men murdered before they realized
they, too, were not demons.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published, including in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. His chapbooks include The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011) and Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012). His latest volumes, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released by Cholla Needles Press. Carolyn Monastra is a Brooklyn-based artist, activist and educator. Her recent projects, The Witness Tree and Divergence of Birds focus on climate impacts on people, landscapes and wildlife.