May 6-12, 2013: Mark MacDonald and Michael H. Brownstein

Mark MacDonald and Michael H. Brownstein

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Mark MacDonald

Bio (auto)

Mark MacDonald is a retired English teacher from Tulsa Oklahoma who grew up in Detroit. Mark’s first book, “Songs of Love” is currently out of print. Mark describes his poetry as “impersonal but intimate, very conversational in mood and tone with a penchant for the real inside the surreal.” Mark considers poetry as an act of sabotage, an act of theft whereby the poet steals from everything and anything within reach, fickles with it for a while, then returns it to the owner in a new form and perspective.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Mark MacDonald and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Telegram for Mrs. Smith

Poetry’s not therapy or a person you
can talk to for comfort or release. Not
one single poem has answered a question—
not among the Greeks, or even in Shakespeare.

Poetry can be a bird—or even
a tree at times—but only when the bird
is wounded or dead and the tree is on
fire in your grandfather’s pasture. Poetry’s

not the solution to poverty or war—
not the sort of letter that you write
to the editor of the Tribune, or
send with a card to the President.

But poetry is sometimes a meal—
a thin crust of bread or a Lobster Flambé
—a hot piece of shrapnel—a bullet
to the doorstep to the back of your brain.

Imported From Detroit

Nobody dreams of traffic jams
anymore. And I cannot remember

the last time I stood
on the overpass watching

the flood of rubber and steel
streaming downtown, the Fords

and the Chevys crawling
into the morning, the engineers

and the production workers
building a new horizon beyond me.

I Can’t Find the Words

Today I will answer for all of those voices
speaking in languages I don’t understand:

Billions and billions of people and the usual
small talk: How did you manage at work

Xiang Tsu? Did you enjoy the fresh plums
I put in your lunch pail? Or hey there Mandiki!

How’s the new baby? Can I help you
with those packages? Do’ya think it might rain?

Gangsta Haiku

Somewhere in Detroit
there is a cherry blossom
with your name on it.

Michael H. Brownstein

Bio (auto)

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, 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), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011: He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In the Morning it Will Still Be OK

This is not who I love. This is not what I love.
Love is a god-stone, thick and sometimes valuable,
strong-wristed, one arc of a finger

Love has the weight of god, the weight of Eve’s sister,
Lilith, and vomit, water mixed with salt,
A mottled permutation of tear strained skin,
pink and ordinary, thinly veined and iridescent,
the sigh of sun arriving into day’s orange blue.

This is who I love. This is what I love.
An evening of chimneys and steam,
a cloud of feather and frog,
green eyes.

Two Women in a Café Talking

Two women
in a cafe
talking honestly.

"…like an attempt
to murder," one said.

The sun lifted its mane
behind the clouds.

"more like an attempt
at suicide,"
replied the second,
and when she laughed,
her front tooth wiggled.

A soft drizzle rainbowed
down the window.

"So an attempt at love,"
answered the first

and a blue river
opened a path
within the clouds.

"Yes, that’s it.
An attempt at love."

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