Three Poems by David Brennan

Poetry: David Brennan

Robert Frost, OMG,

above me is the moon and Mars and scalloped dictionaries
of cloud falling open to the page obsolete
lives on. Like a Jazzercise class with one student

and a militant instructor, that’s how the moon
makes Mars work its lower abs. And the cold
is gorgeous and tender, like you, and mean
and abrasive, like you, and you are like
the moon, making me work my abs to beats
I would never call jazz—funk maybe, but no way is that
Monk or John or Mingus or Miles,
no way are you the jazz of a moon
that looks like a Super Deluxe Edition reissue
of your favorite album from twenty years ago
that anymore grates the ear, but whose name still tugs
the gut like a bag of bloodied lab mice.
The film the moon projects is black and white.
The moon doesn’t belong to the earth.
We have moved beyond moon, beyond Mars, beyond
outside. Nature is obsolete,
and so I embrace it as I have embraced your obsolete
poetry. The only light on in my backyard
is the moon. The clouds are dictionaries with no words
worth repeating. I look into the window of the house and see the light
of a screen, see a face bathing in that light
that is the light of knowing,
other faces are bathing in the same light, the holy light
of Like. I feel a mad
need to update my urge to dig
out the saxophone I haven’t blown
in a decade, finger its keys, let loose a few
crow squawks. How old it has gotten. I am already
obsolete technology, my synapses firing
for all the wrong ancient reasons. I will go
inside and sit before the light of the world, but first
let me stand beneath the light of what
we no longer know and murmur O Moon, Glory.

Robert Frost, Robert Frost,

there’s a window in the tree and the moon
is looking in at us, the creeper, close the curtains,
call the police, where is her respect for our
privacy, where is her respect for her own
image? Tomorrow’s tabloid headline:
IN STREAM, pictures inside!” Gross mis-
representations, we sue for defamation, the moon
is embarrassed beyond belief and goes into hiding,
the paparazzi are camped on the sidewalk outside
our house, Mars calls, concerned about Luna,
who he hasn’t heard from in weeks, we can’t
get out for groceries and have resorted to ordering in
three meals a day, the nights are dark but the stars
have never shined brighter, Mars stops calling,
we watch six seasons of Dexter, all three
of Arrested Development, gain ten pounds and feel
great, teach ourselves how to foxtrot, don’t even notice
when the reporters leave, don’t care, we are never
going outside again, outside is awful, outside gets you in trouble,
we have television and delivery and bounce around
in tube socks and boxers for exercise, the tubes
of belly fat riding up and down our middles, man breasts
all a-jiggle, we stop shaving, grow tremendous beards
and experiment with shaving our legs and chests
so that naked we look like hairy lollipops atop paper-white
sticks, books we order from Amazon, we read
the same and watch the same and eat the same
and shit the same and with beards hiding our faces
look the same, we are one person and are shocked
that we were ever two, no, there is just the one of us,
one man in this house alone with himself, one
man who looks out the window and sees
the moon is quite lovely tonight, the way it falls
through the tree’s branches and into the stream.
I watch the water dance within
its yellow reflection. It has grown cold.
I move on across the field, up the hill, to home.

It Is Winter, Robert Frost,

the tree projected onto the white hospital
wall is caught in a gale-force wind, it lasts and lasts
ten minutes until spring arrives, berries
and buds, summer is a simple green, autumn
is over before the leaves have time
to fall. Winter returns
too soon. It has been a long day.
Thirty-six years long. Now the sun has set
and the whales have stopped swimming
across the wall perpendicular, the turtles creeping
between the chairs have shuddered and blinked
out of existence. All that is left is the skyline,
smokestacks and skyscrapers, bare red ass
of cloud, the day unembarrassed at its moment
of death, shame’s frozen surface
smoothed by the grim Zamboni. The city wears death
well, as does this day which has aged me
into a projection of myself. I walk along the wall
until I am standing beneath the ageless tree
that every forty minutes ages me a year. My projection
grays, stoops, takes a cane, wheelchair, casket.
I watch in horror, indifferent. Lay this self to rest.
Tomorrow will not be a new day, a new life.
Tomorrow will not be a day, but a life
projected onto a day, a not new life
looped through a day that is so many years.

David Brennan’s recent work has appeared in Action YesPANK, Everyday Genius, Strange Machine, and elsewhere. He is the author of the poetry collection The White Visitation (BlazeVOX, 2010) and the chapbook The Family Flamboyant (Brickhouse Books, 2010). He lives in Virginia, in the shadow of the Massanutten.

Photo credit:

Check out HFR’s book catalog, publicity list, submission manager, and buy merch from our Spring store. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.