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.
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
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.