Brian Rihlmann lives in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, The American Journal Of Poetry, and New York Quarterly. He has authored three collections of poetry, most recently “A Screaming Place,” (2021) by Cajun Mutt Press.
Scarred For Life
so often we hear second hand about someone’s strange habits— their deviant sex life or their hilariously dysfunctional family and we laugh and say to the one who told us— thanks for sharing that now I’m scarred for life! and we are, aren’t we? in so many ways, yes... but even with our own scars we learn to laugh— we laugh at the blades that created them we laugh at their odd placement their quirkiness those visible ones make for great conversation pieces we like to show them off we embellish the tale of how we got them spin the story into a comedy for our audience’s delight then laugh...laugh until we cry and later in private trace fingertips again across the ones we can’t show anyone or even ourselves see and we just cry
Two Blessed Dudes
only three weeks on the job and they already stick me with a new trainee— guess that’s my reward for competence but Rick and I we hit it off right away he’s a pretty open dude we talk up a storm life stories and such and then get onto shrinks— he’s seeing one; I used to he thinks I’ve got PTSD Rick says and I say how could you not? must’ve been growing up in South Central slinging crack at 13 knifings, shootings seeing dead bodies... sirens day and night like wails of the damned he says I’m blessed I made it only ever did six months in jail for some silly shit I say I was only in for a couple of nights but it’s a wonder I never got busted hanging out in meth houses or killed anyone— drunk as I’d get and driving around everywhere he listens, nods I guess we both blessed he says as he holds up his fist and I bump it
On The Attraction Of Poets
I guess the belief is that we could be more open and honest with each other than with more normal types— we already know all the dirt all the secrets we have felt the other’s pulse across oceans, continents but oh... how we can lie, too— lie spectacularly, masterfully (thus spake Zarathustra) honesty and deceit kindness and cruelty intertwine in us as in all mere mortals (and gods) like the twin snakes of the caduceus round the staff one pair of yellow unearthly eyes staring into the other fangs out forked tongues tasting the air a hairsbreadth apart