Friday, September 6, 2019

Welcome to Brian Rihlmann

Recently, people have been seeing more and more poems by Brian Rihlmann on Facebook.  Here are a few more!  These poems are striking in their simplicity and resonance.


inside an oval frame
that hangs dustless
and polished
on the wall
of his mother’s house
a smooth cheeked
younger version
bloomed with angst
amidst a thicket
of familial smiles
the eyes blazed
with dark fire
the jaw was set 
against the punches
he knew were coming


on a chilly October evening 
a lone dandelion
gone to seed
stands in the midst 
of a green field

its puffy head
having somehow
survived the whirling blades
of a recent mowing 

it stands stiffly tall
a white haired old man
awaiting immortality 
in a gust of wind
or a child’s wish

Photograph from K-State Research and Extension


While sitting on the curb,
I see a rusty old bolt
laying on the pavement. 

I pick it up,
turn it and feel 
its heft,
its cold edges,
my fingers 
now stained orange.

I run fingertips 
over threads 
still sharp,
not stripped.

It once held
something together,

and still could.

I sometimes still
hold out my hand
to those who laugh
like hyenas 
who smile like wolves
with bloody canines

and then draw back
a stump
shocked, but smiling 
as I mock the mirror me
and say “I told you....”

Photograph by Steen Jepsen


A bright summer's day
trapped outside my window.
I peer from under blankets,
as a love song echoes
in my mind.

Notes drift through 
shadows shifting
on the walls,
a sad melody,
the needle caught 
in the groove.

I roll in twisted sheets
stare at the ceiling
then shut my eyes,
sleep off the day's music
like a hangover.

But each time I wake,
notes wash over me, 
like your ghost.

You're not dead, 
but lost 
in a time I cannot grasp,
or understand,
a time I was loved.


Brian's last poem put me in mind of Eddie Reddick's cover
of The Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain":

Here is saxophonist Mark Maxwell's version of 
"Just My Imagination":

This song is billed as a Motown version of a song by 
My Chemical Romance: