Brian Rihlmann

Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and now lives in Reno, Nevada.
He works regular, mostly blue collar jobs to support his poetry habit, and has surprisingly little to say about himself in either bios or dating site profiles. He prefers his poetry to tell his story. His work has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest poetry collection, “Night At My Throat,” (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press, with another book forthcoming sometime in 2021.


my friend V is a helluva cook
she invites me over sometimes
tonight it’s stuffed pork chops
with mashed potatoes 

halfway through the meal
she looks at me, exhales, and says—
Do you know you smack your lips
when you eat?
I do?
she chuckles, Yeah...
must be a bachelor thing

for the rest of the meal
I chew carefully 
my lips sealed tight

later, as we sit watching some 
house hunting show on PBS
she feeds her dog a treat
which he gobbles 
then sits expectantly at her feet 
the long pink tongue 
swiping for remnants 

He smacks his lips
I say

she looks at me, surprised,
shakes her head
tries not to laugh

Restless, Irritable, And Discontent

Mom says
I didn’t have much hair
until I was around two—
the yellowed 70s photos 
prove it 

she says I must’ve 
rubbed it all off on my pillow
while turning in my crib
born restless, it seems 

from thrashing in my crib
to roaming nearby woods
to combing the country
in search of what? 

a restless mouth 
that sought the nipple
later sought the mythical 
bottomless bottle 

it wasn’t just the buzz—
they call it “spirits”
for a reason...

we addicts are restless,
irritable, and discontent 

bald and naked
to sticks and stones

always writhing 
in beds we never make 

rubbing downy hair 
off diaper rash souls

Poetry Readings

I’ve done a few of them, now
and it’s the same every time—
same as when I 
played in metal bands
to rowdy crowds
so many years ago

back then it was different 
the world was our Facebook 
we’d slather the town
with bright orange and green flyers 
hit every record store
and telephone pole

I’d anticipate for weeks
mentally rehearsing 
my performance 
see myself tearing it up
under the lights

finally the night came
and I’d hit the stage, trembling 

and couldn’t wait to get off it 

to head back home and shred
to an empty room 

a true rockstar

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