Brian Builta ~ Five Poems

My Best Friend

Yes, I have a drink­ing problem
and a mar­malade fix­a­tion, light
dif­fuse and warm com­forts me
whether through whiskey or oranges
or orang­utans. I lurch and heave,
weep and wipe my eyes and blow
my nose and sigh to my toes then
tip the bowl to my lips to drain
the last drop. What do you care?
You are not here. Your stan­dard applause
seems imper­vi­ous to sad truths and
clear­ly you have no time for dusty
knick­knacks or keep­sakes akimbo
on a low­er shelf. This grief
has nev­er left my side, loyal
to my coag­u­lat­ed heart and all
the unguents I’ve applied. You’ll have a brighter day
away from all this jostling, tossing
a ball with a kid or hand-feeding
a goat. I’m hav­ing a brighter day
right now, all that liq­uid already inside me
and panache a thing of the past.
All my pre­vi­ous pets are gone
so I sit here where prayers have passed,
those noble emis­saries urg­ing us on
even though that chair is still empty,
that ball lies untossed,
and all those pen­cils unsharp­ened and recumbent.


Danger Tape

Somehow, the paint­ed crosswalk
didn’t keep the car from hit­ting the kid,
just as the LOOK LISTEN LIVE
didn’t pre­vent the pick­up from obliterating.
In the mid­dle of a pas­toral poem
I smashed a mos­qui­to in the O
of POETRY mag­a­zine, July/August issue.
Not sure if the blood in the splatter
was mine or Sherry’s next door. O
great puller of the pachinko lever,
please save our pins from the met­al ball
of obliv­ion. Somehow, I still fell
into the hole, despite all the dan­ger tape.
Should’ve learned cuida­do sooner.
Can’t blame the flame for being insane
for air. Just see­ing a friend smash her shin
makes me shiv­er. At least wear­ing headphones
and sun­glass­es while mow­ing the grass keeps
me from notic­ing the holo­caust I’ve caused
in the lawn, whole vil­lages ransacked,
the throng that belongs in the mound now
scat­tered across the land just another
tiny dias­po­ra that almost goes unnoticed.



Just as I jot down these lines
snow falls and buries my work
in florid white. The sun sets
and now no one can see me at all,
as if I was nev­er here.

The cat’s soft paws
nev­er indent the earth,
all our pats and rubs now buried
between crêpe myr­tles, my poems
beans that nev­er break the surface.


A Little Graffiti and a Small Hello

I am an explod­ed ker­nel, ridicu­lous yet delicious.

I am filled with majes­tic metaphor.

I am not liv­ing as much as tot­ter­ing on a precipice.

I am a joke among shenanigans.

I am din­ner and a movie, a peck on the cheek.

I am mown over and recum­bent with grasshop­per parts, a cica­da shell clinging.

I am a rat-stuffed cat, bel­ly on cool concrete.

I am a silent shep­herd under vast astro­nom­i­cal activity.

I am qui­et, wet, hap­py to be here by the streetlamp.

I am a wind-taunt­ed lung, you in the breeze. Hi.


The Presence of God

we spend our lives
enter­ing and leaving

gang of elk in the meadow
few­er after wolves

half a hare
in blood-splat­tered snow

what’s absent
is awareness


Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. His work has been recent­ly pub­lished or is forth­com­ing in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly.