Steffen Brown has a degree in philosophy from the University of
Montana and is currently pursuing another degree in English. He
has worked as a bartender, a butcher and a bookbinder, but never
a baker. His home is Missoula, Montana.

Disparate Ghazal

Pain is a two-paged metaphor craving meat.
Aiming for buffalo, Custer shoots horse in head, sick for meat.

When I was five, I felt a heartbeat through a cut on my finger.
The toc of the clock is the eternal tick of meat.

At market, the butcher stands alone, surrounded by red roses.
And the sparrow whispers to the robin who whispers to the blue-bird, "flick the meat!"

Today, like every day, smells of a sweet and sticky sweat.
Bending over backwards, the magician strains to light the wick of meat.

Is it me appearing disparate among the pansies? The yellow lilies?
Yes. Yes, of course. I am the bad cut of thick meat.

Dog-day Reductio

I have been carrying the afterbirth of a miscarried math equation
by which two concentric circles are inextricably intertwined by some
false Euclidian notion that all circles are ineluctable
and thus, ever attached. Yet, if the circles were blue
they would connote nothing more than a window caught in a closet
where blossoms fold out and fold in automatically, dependant
solely on the angle of the sun at various intervals of the day.
This morning, I woke up to find that my heart was missing.
The blossoms were screaming. The room needing new furnishings
or, a nice blue to circumscribe the now familiar incongruities -
perhaps to fashion a single, distorted piece of rectilinear furniture
sized to fit in a single room, where said circles could rest
in their confusion, aside from the sentiment of one another's
particularities - a situation of which I could appreciate the complexity.

The Progeny of Well-intended Fear, from Good Morning America

The dim-lighted, dogged-out bathroom of the day leaks
sweet-Jesus gravity from all its locked and bogged-down orifices.

What heavy days await those always waiting for the end.

Otiose. What a useless word. Adios my (now) otiose amigos.
The end just keeps coming. Make sure the family's future, fortune, is secure.

Call in the dogs. Leave the laundry hanging. Tear down the crucifix.
Pull up your pants. Stand steady. Stand ready. Readjust

the radio for optimal frequency.
Batteries. Batteries. Batteries line the bathroom cabinets.

Bathtub filled with water. No window, just the duct-taped door to keep things smug
because in the end it's the closeness of things that really matters-

the proximity of person to things palpable:
candles, toilet paper, the touch of cool tiles

the pictures of ex-girlfriends.


There is a woman and there is a man. Rather,
there is a young woman and a young man,
in their twenties, in love maybe,
or together, at least objectively. Objectively,
they are together, ignoring
the subjective consensus that they are in love.
In the portrait, they lie side by side in a bed.
The young woman is on her back, the man on
his side. The man thinks himself a boy sometimes.
Sometimes, while on his side he
dreams of a field in morning. He dreams
the field is layered in frost
with trees bordering the field, trees
on every horizon and everything doused
in the same two or three terrible tones
of blue. That's it though. He only
dreams of a blue field of frost in morning,
surrounded by trees.
He dreams with his back turned to the young
woman, as they lie asleep, together, holding
each other's hand. The young man sleeps
on his left side with an awkward right arm
bent over his back so that his hand
can hold hers. At night, together, they
toss and turn like storm-tossed ships, desperate
for the sight of land. They change positions
from back to side to stomach, always touching, holding,
unsure about tomorrow.
The young woman, asleep, sometimes
dreams of a magnificent timepiece
that keeps perfect time. She dreams that
the clock that keeps perfect time
measures itself, every few seconds,
with the beating of her own heart.

Every morning, she wakes up,
takes his left hand, places it on her right breast,
and holds it there.

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