Brandon Jordan Brown. Poetry. 2014 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow.
Post-Social Media.
Everything seems to me to be such a cliché as soon as I say it.

where you are planted


he’s as high as a georgia pine, my father’d say, half laughing. southern trees
as measure, metaphor. highways lined with kudzu-covered southern trees.
fuchsia, lavender, white, light pink, purple : crape myrtle bouquets burst
open on sturdy branches of skin-smooth bark : my favorite southern trees.
one hundred degrees in the shade : we settle into still pools of humidity, moss-
dark, beneath live oaks. southern heat makes us grateful for southern trees.
the maples in our front yard flew in spring on helicopter wings. in fall, we
splashed in colored leaves, but never sought sap from these southern trees.
frankly, my dear, that’s a magnolia, i tell her, fingering the deep green, nearly
plastic leaves, amazed how little a northern girl knows about southern trees.
i’ve never forgotten the charred bitter fruit of holiday’s poplars, nor will i :
it’s part of what makes me evie :  i grew up in the shadow of southern trees.

Sea Foam Palace


(Bubbling and spuming
as if trying to talk under
water, I address you thus:)
Must I pretend not to love
you (in your present bloom,
your present perfection — soul
encased in fleshly relevance)
so you won’t believe me
just another seabed denizen
vying for your blessed attention?
Some of us (but not you)
are so loosely moored
to our bodies we can
barely walk a straight line,
remaining (most days) only
marginally conscious.
We stagger and shudder
as buckets of   blood or sperm
or chocolate mousse or spittle
or lymph or sludge sluice
continually through us…

I love the way you wear your
face, how you ride this life.
I delight in the sight of you,
your nervous, inquisitive eyes,
though I try to act otherwise.
Being stoned out of thy mind
only amps up thy fearsome
brain wattage. Pardon my
frontal offensive, dear chum.
Forgive my word-churn, my
drift, the ways this text message
has gotten all frothy. How was it
you became holy to me? Should
I resist, furiously? Is this your
true visage, shaken free, flashing
glimpses of what underlies
the world we can see? Do not forget me
murmurs something nibbled
by fish under the sea.

After dark you’re quick-silvery,
wet /slick /glistening. Don’t
make me chase you, dragging
my heavy caresses, a pair of
awkward, serrated claws,
hither and yon. Give me a swig
of   whatever you’re drinking,
to put me in tune with the cosmos’s
relentless melt, with the rhythms
of dish-washing, corn-shucking,
hard-fucking, bed-wetting, and
the folding of   bones of other loves
into well-dug graves…    may we
never become lost to the world.

Mending / Poem For Seth Walsh
By Stevie Edwards

            I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
             it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
                  -Robert Hass

Every day people wake with spines in need
of mending, nights spent spooning absence.
There’s no sense in cursing at the barista for the chew
of grounds in your latte. Sometimes it’s impossible
to get a job right, especially early mornings, especially
when there’s a frontier of people impatient to leave you.
You’ve miscarried jobs before. A belayer, you made sure
the man put his harness on snug, told him if his foot slipped
off the fidgeting cable, you’d hold him flopping around
in the treetops. One foot in front of the other, the stuck
pulley, you should have noticed the slack was too much
to save him, no point in the care you put into the knots.
He didn’t slip or sue you. Call this grace if you can
believe in grace today. The news didn’t say what kind
of knot the boy tied. His parents found him with
his freckles still on. It doesn’t matter what kind of tree
as long as the boughs were strong enough to bear him.
Perhaps you could’ve moved to California and told him
a faggot is a bundle of twigs, but who’s to say he wasn’t
ready to set himself on fire? Or, you could’ve told him
the kids meant he was a fancy stitch that binds
delicate fabrics, old lace to silk, but it’s hard to feel
fancy while bees swarm your eyes. And sometimes
the dictionary is useless, which is what you tell your dad
when he says that in Merriam Webster it says marriage
is between a man and a woman. And you don’t mention
too much gin grinding your body against your roommate’s
or the small of a younger woman’s back in the morning
but bring home a law school boy from a good family
to plan your future over strawberry pie. The boy probably
didn’t drink coffee yet. He might have grown to make
chewy lattes too slowly. Maybe he’d never learn to sew,
hem his pants with staples. What must be true is this:
if a boy hangs from a sturdy branch alone, if wind
swings his limbs for hours, it makes a sound here.

I write as if I’ve lived a lot of things I haven’t lived.

(Source: secretlifeawesomethoughts, via wordfornicator)

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.
Gabriel García Márquez (via strandbooks)

On point

(via poetsandwriters)

No Church in the Wild. (at Southside, STL)

No Church in the Wild. (at Southside, STL)

Maya Angelou.  (at St. Louis Walk of Fame)

Maya Angelou. (at St. Louis Walk of Fame)

Missouri loves company… (at Engler Park)

Missouri loves company… (at Engler Park)