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Special Project: 45 Poems: Reflection & Response

Poetry by Henry Brown
(Austin, Texas, USA)

winter in america
bombs over syria
texas august thunderstorm
Published March 25, 2018
Eleventh Transmission
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winter in america

by Henry Brown

snow, like each winter’s snow, this year
congealed in quiet clouds over strained-voice cities
cascaded down on shivering suburban trees
floated off gently to cool twilight fevers
of dejected people taking to the streets
to shout angry slogans
and quiver like tree branches in a windstorm
while the president implicated russian spies
we were all angry about something
we’re all scared of something now
we see it tearing up the horizon
it’s right ahead
but the leaves still darted off in november windstorm frenzy down from
     branches
making way for slow-floating torrents of white
like every year and like every year the snow made its return
when the sun rises on march-melted backyards
and the snow leaves us for a while
we’ll probably still be afraid with maybe more to be afraid of but
the sun will rise
and, uncertain months later, snow will fall


bombs over syria

by Henry Brown

dreamfly downtown mainstreet
shuttercrumb sunday best
above dusty whitewash
blue sky in the morning
clouds sidle by in whispers
faces drip pearls of sweat
bright white job-dreams and neon vapors
ascend through decaying street dirtpots
where every someperson used to trample fears
down
way in the sandstorms and citadel wrinkles
above the dirtscars of generations dreaming
of independent pride and
regional unity
Adhan vibrato pulls together cracked asphalt

Sound scattered
Dreams dashed through shades of war
of politics-war disguised as discourse
now armed with bombs and bulletstorms
under bigstrongmen shouting
from townsquares and citadels
all this is mine or god's or mine for i am god’s and
god’s my heavenhigh marionette

and now above whirring deafening clamor
imperial computers sing alldestroying songs
and inshallah drop down from heavenhigh bombs
and pennsylvania mainstreet villagefears
now trampled down
mainstreet to arms!

i’m god’s and god’s theirs
Good God of pennsylania streetlamps
face plastered with flags
firebomb vengeance on face
God I beg you to please
pull your own marionette strings
before Your-their-our elevatorwires
come to take us all down

american jobs under silver flagpoles
national multinationals forge steel tomohawks
with singing computers and congressional budgets
whitefaces green pants over black boots
breaking ground

and forged steel falls under roaring vibrato
cacophonous thundering
inaudible shouts
and all through the Adhan sound blows FIRE FIRE FIRE!!
dirtscars pour out blood!
dark red trickling blood!
turns river runs mosesflood and
dustsweeping hurricane
pounds through cracked singing lips of
every single parched mouth

fire democracy falls Fire and Brimstone
citadels wrinkle and meat throbs on the ground!
dreams rise up on mainstreet
boots lace up
we shout!!!

there were their houses
Meat throbs rots shellshock ground!

hope and God and God Godself
wade between tomohawks and blood cyclone and flagwaving screech
no way to stop Meat throbbing no way no way at all
flags paper down threaded on God’s marionettestrings
God pull your own strings
Let us seek
Let us know peace


texas august thunderstorm

by Henry Brown

rain down in rubber mallets from
the midtown hardware store that
closed after last year when
there was a drought

rain on shutters over blinds,
tapping soft-wrought windowglass
raised on frames with slamming hammers
hundreds of feet off of the ground

past the window you were lying down
“pessimism of the intellect”
i was too tired to name-drop
but the rain kept me awake and

it’s so annoying! that there’s a war on
while we’ve something to recall-
shouting on dry-melt-asphalt slogans
shoving back at the cop-shields
sunlight screaming down
struggle! solidarity! in an armlinked line
of internationale-singers fucking livid
after the last shooting

“bright moments always come back
vivid”
but the moon’s so dim behind the clouds
and the rain scatters the light
from little feeble streetlamps
wave after wave and we don’t have time for memory

because
crying-out crocodiles beg absolution
nobody trusts the city council
we’re all coming together in some kind of shape
and the cops’ guns keep ringing
run! rise! stand together! “optimism of the will!”
no time but this moment! go for it! break the line!
even in our raindrop dreams, no future till the present

and the rain hammers down now
in clumsy thuds and spiraling tap-patterns
the windows are shuttered
the asphalt is wet
but next week the grass between
the cracks in the asphalt
will be green


Biography
I am Henry Brown from Austin, Texas. I am 18 years old, have no published
poetry, and haven't really looked to get anything published before. I can be
found on Instagram
@henry_d_brown. Most of my writing is political, and I
am involved with my local Democratic Socialists of America chapter. I have
recently done some organizational and volunteer work in solidarity with
undocumented immigrants in Texas who are dealing with even more intense
oppression than usual in the months following Trump's election as
immigration raids and an emboldened rightwing state government have made
their lives very difficult.
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