January 16-22, 2017: Poetry from Michael H. Brownstein and Russ Kazmierczak, Jr.

​Michael H. Brownstein and Russ Kazmierczak, Jr.

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​Michael H. Brownstein

Bio (auto)

Michael H. Brownstein (Chicago, Illinois) has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including 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), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Bullies and the Followings

where the world ends
where the world does not end.

This is how stuff starts
a rumor on the bus becomes
a lie in the classroom becomes
a kicking on the playground
a cloud of audience
a liter of disbelief.

My mother can no longer watch my attack
nor can she smother my attackers.
My father is not where he has to be.
My brother owns all of the nicknames meant for me.

The old sad house no longer supports a front porch
its windows full of window beasts
filling the frames with true possums.

Everywhere the mist of skunk
the spray of ivy.


Russ Kazmierczak, Jr.

Bio (auto)

Russ Kazmierczak, Jr. is an artist that lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He self-publishes a mini-comic book called Amazing Arizona Comics, which satirizes Arizona news, history, and culture with superhero adventure. He also hosts a Johnny Carson-inspired, monthly, late night talk show called Phoenix Tonight, which can be found on YouTube. He writes and performs poems at Phoenix area open mics like District 4 and Caffeine Corridor. Follow his adventures on Instagram @amazingazcomics.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Russ Kazmierczak, Jr. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Neighbor, the Psychic

My neighbor, the psychic,
signed the lease without ever
seeing the place.

She’s never fined by the HOA.

My neighbor, the psychic
is the President and
only member of our Block Watch.
We figure, she’s got it.

Her Christmas lights are up all year long.

My neighbor, the psychic
had a Labor Day barbeque
for everyone in the community.

There were no leftovers.

Yesterday, I went next door
to borrow a cup of sugar.
She gave me a cake.

My neighbor, the psychic
stopped me one morning before work.
She said, "Don’t go."
I asked, "Why not? Will I die?"
She replied, "No. You won’t."

I want to have sex with her,
but I’m afraid she’d see me coming.

Our landlord came
with a notice to evict
my neighbor, the psychic,
but she was already gone.

The Mechanic’s Hands

perpetually fingerprinted,
the mechanic’s hands
know what moves you
better than you ever will

dark-veined fingernails
like Middle Eastern oil fields
all greasepaint, but

nobody accuses
the mechanic’s hands
of racism

the mechanic’s hands
are ten angry men
face first in the mineshaft

they hate metaphors
they hate this poem

they don’t introspect
just inspect

the mechanic’s hands
hold the key






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