Brian Henry


Flare Gun

My pushpin mentality
has been presenting problems
—at home, at work—
and my sobs go unheard
because the fountain is on
and the wind, variant fuck,
carries the water so far,

to where I sit attempting,
fixed on a string of M’s—
Medbh, Martin, Mary,
Matthew, Matt, Mark.
My mentality’s fixed.

Forget the prototype, its skank
and the stones evolved for its construction.
Forget the anonymous ad, the vicious
personal. The flame on the drawstring
of my sweatshirt as it rises
toward the hood. Psoriasis.


I apologize for the vibrate.
The uncut and power tools.
They belong apart, in different
poems. Here anon the belong.
Flaunt serious uncommon bird
-song, chocolate chip rose
garden. Listen: the unicorn’s
clit is not mythic lethargy.
Who’s astride it:
Cupid? St Nick?
The brain’s pixels unleash,
give in to unness. Serious.
Now for the bass.




Clipped Vista Astride the Horizon Line

melt into armatures, gathered at the coast
where so much—and yet nothing—is built.
A disgrace of ink, or paint. Baubles trickle,
the wood floor tacks them toward the wall
where what was a handful of marbles provides
a countering inertia. Even the gold one stops.

Housebound mayhem, there is a menace aswill
in the crawlspace, stripping the pipes of insulation.
The unsettled ghost of a previous inhabitant?
A raccoon burrowing, quick, from the cold?
Or just a figment, a fraction of you removed
and placed out of sight but not out of hearing?

Whatever, things still move on their own,
the house moans and wets itself, the walls
crack at the point they’re expected to act
like ceilings, when all the walls want is to settle
for a century, welcome paint and paper alike,
and ignore every noise and its nuisant cause.




Boyish Figure

Strapping distortions knock the view—
crack a little, crack it a little
all the way to Bessie Coleman
no matter where the voice directing
directs you and your rental.

It comes as a shock or it comes as no shock,
the grass at the sidewalk’s seam.
Either way, you’ll cope.
An early arrival and you are the timely one
as long as you remember not to lean.

I pull and I push this bankroll
on wheels, I relish the new 20-dollar bill.
I break it. Sleep
the sleep of the easily ashamed.
Prod the engine. Am proud of the engine.

Population a decimal, the town
might as well turn. You run the car
to fumes, try to roll in on fumes.
Stepchild’s ladder against the chainlink,
you reptile the long way home.

Despite the landscape Illinois.
Despite the landscape Iowa.
Chock-a-block with change,
every toll a nickel shy.
The state cries for help. Gazebos.

Is disgust an emotion? Does it float?
Does absence imply dislike?
How far forward can one lean and walk?
Inquisitive billboards misaligned,
they interrupt the horizon—smear of chalk.

Instantaneous slake, your doctrines disintegrate
the further you flirt. How is that
for a layout. Fondle the design,
accept this feather—without its flock—
as it plies the currents of my heart.

Stocked distractions, a minute for a beer.
Nastyass breathing: do that on your own.
Slow down your stalking lest you nail the element.
Under duress I am trained to admit
of surprise there is no end.