Michael Brosnan


from In the Meanwhile

#1

 

Hey, Sunshine,

A day in the life is rarely
A Day in the Life.

This morning, I fell out of time again,
Wrote in the daylight, the dusk, the dark.

Satiation or Satisfaction? Satisfaction
Or Settlement? Settlement or Suffusion?

I’m still looking for the gate to the wild garden.
For the sonic code that unlocks the gate.

I’m telling you it’s confusing to be the difficult child,
The misaligned, willful one.

Write with kindled care:
Tempo. Temporary. Temporal.

Write: Capillarity.
In the tremulous mind, words spill

And run in the strangest rivulets
Through the foothills of easy disarray,

The blur of uncertainty
Banking the muddy river of thought.

Contemplate: the antonym of contempt
In a world so humanly torn.

Sometimes in the day in the life
You’ll find the life in the day.

#2

 

Someone must take the dog out.
Someone makes excuses.

Someone feels the weather of sacrifice
Sliding over the salt marsh.

The dog watches and listens,
Lying in wait for command or invitation.

Someone dreams of playing the banjo.
Someone tries not to think of sugar and carbs.

Someone plays out in the mind a future moment
That will never come to pass.

Sunshine, here in the Meanwhile, time
Patiently waits for someone to hand out the agenda.

The dog watches the dog watcher,
Listens and sniffs. Ambivalence baffles.

She loves best the knotting of shoes, the quick zip of coats,
The creak of the opening door.

#3

 

And in the Meanwhile, I want us to agree
There’s genius in kindness.

A quadriplegic I know dedicates his life
To helping the discarded children bleeding
In the cultural crosshairs
Practice the stubborn art of hope.

So many who would otherwise not get through
Get through, find society,
Have what indifference tried so slyly to deny.

The quadriplegic I know can’t get himself out of bed in the morning.
He needs people to pick him up, shower and dress him,
Feed him, comb his hair, drive him to work.
He is never alone. He can never be alone.
He can never hike in the woods. He has no secrets.
He can only smile, frown, talk, spit, laugh, rub his nose with a withered
Forearm.
He’s unfailingly kind and appreciative.
He was once an able-bodied young man, unafraid.
Every day, he meditates on goodness and joy.

Sunshine, the fractured sublimity here makes me cry some nights —
Especially when I sense my own pettiness,
Especially when I’m drinking alone in a winter-wrapped house,
Eating two-day-old cake and regretting many of my choices,
Fearing emptiness.

#6

 

Sometimes hope expressed echoes back
As a kind of unintelligible blather.

Sometimes our need — voiced, carved, re-
Verberating in ink or paint — carries short of anywhere.

Sometimes the knoll feels
Like a knoll of grass and weeds and dirt and stone.

And, Sunshine, it’s fine to just stand there.
Or sit. Not say or do a thing.

#7

 

I heard them talking about relevancy.

I heard the fury.

I heard them say so much is lamentable.

I heard the fury and the love.

I heard the straining chords of evolution in their bright longing.

I heard young voices not backing down.

Sunshine, I heard you talking to children in gentle tones.

I heard despair dissipating in the quiet resistance by the Don’t Walk sign.

I heard singing from the makeshift stages and their thousand shadows.

I hear it all again, now, here in the forest, re-rephrased in the silence

After the snow stops falling and holds the land gleamingly.

#9

 

Switch and switch and switchback.

Who was the first person to connect a thin, tapered riding whip

To a change of mind or philosophy or toothbrush?

Who first named the near 180-degree turns on the mountain path?

Sunshine, today, I switch from a pen to a pencil.

Tomorrow, I’ll try again to imagine the person who first considered riding

A horse.

Soon, I’ll respectfully ask you to trade in our shared notion of progress

For one that will give future life a chance of discovering

Our bones and literature and rusted kitchen implements in the drowned

Cities.

Michael Brosnan’s collection of poems, The Sovereignty of the Accidental, was published by Harbor Mountain Press in 2018. His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Confrontation, Borderlands, Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, New Letters, the Moth, and more. He’s also the author of Against the Current, a book on inner-city education, and serves as the senior editor for Teaching While White.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.