Apr 2014 Ben Brinkburn
Diane

you are waiting
waiting
waiting
suited up in your spirit of self-loathing,
eating a full helping of anxiety every day for lunch
mucking your ears with the wax of negative self-voice
making it hard to hear the whisper in stillness
as for me, I will live
live
live
even on those days when you can’t come along
I won’t wait for spring and every dream I’ve ever had
to happen before my heart can be light
before I can sing and exude sunshine
and if my warmth can open your tightly
closed bud, I will shine until we bring forth color
this exact moment will never happen again
our closets could be filled with maps
books and autographed vinyls
but if you put a picture in a ziplock bag
remember
the life in that bag already ran out of air
whether waiting for tomorrow or wishing for to-day
the only heart that’s beating strong is right now

My eyes are in need of an emergency shower
For they have been contaminated
My mind is in need of a coffee filter
Lest I consume the grinds
and deter myself from the benefits of waking
The goal is elevation
I crave liberation

 Mar 2014 Ben Brinkburn
Diane

Resting on a stack of
original vinyl’s
a cowboy hat of black felt
the dresser was blonde with gold handles
a collection common in the 1960’s
a small turn table, red handkerchiefs
harmonica, guitar picks and cigarette papers
a diorama of his life
as kids, we would pull out the blue song folder
and sing Your Cheatin’ Heart
into an empty microphone stand
the aroma of rosin and pipe tobacco
guitar cases and Fender amps we dare not touch
when the babysitter’s boyfriend, one night
played Hey Good Lookin’ on the record player
I shot after him like a bear cub
my heart racing in my throat
saying I’m going to tell my Daddy!
a picture I drew found its place by
his fiddle, the one that
sits in my closet today, someday,
I will learn to play Lovesick Blues
because every time I hear that song
my dad is wearing his hat
tapping his feet
and singing like ol’ Hank Williams

 Mar 2014 Ben Brinkburn
Diane

Glistening coffee eyes deeply
peering through mounds of rich, bearded head
disarmingly kind, evoking trust
the look of a sorrowful past, he
graciously smiled and unhurriedly spoke
taken aback, taking me seriously
“No one has ever asked for that song
it has never been recorded
I am surprised you even know it.”
For a few seconds we looked, but said nothing
for this moment felt somehow large
maybe they could play it the next time in town
a song of his brother’s fight to stay alive
we could not have known that in  
the months to follow,
“cures” would shear the head
of this Lamb too
and I would send his own words
back to him for courage:
“Pay no mind to the vultures
and the vultures will fly off again”
I wonder, if, upon hearing the news
he recalled this exchange at a bar in MN
and it gave him chills like it did to me

The bearded head and song lyrics belong to David Lamb of Brown Bird, who has been fighting Leukemia for nearly a year.  This is the song: http://www.npr.org/event/music/160606867/brown-bird-folks-tattooed-troubadours

Update 4-1-14 David has been intubated, put on a ventilator and began dialysis. He has been stable since then, but remains in critical condition.  :(
 Mar 2014 Ben Brinkburn
Diane

Wading through the mire and sinkholes of contingencies
I move gingerly, quietly, gasps merely whispered
upholding propriety and pragmatics of
housing association bylaws
enough to make me consider mowing my own lawn
but humans are human, co-exist as they say
And although I detest your husband's cigarettes
I am quite sure blowing smoke back
down the air vent would not be as effective
as your decibel oblivious obnoxious self, imitating my lustful voice
I am a reasonable woman, truly a lady, preferring mature consultation
But the fact is, honey, if you imitate me again
when summer air re-invents lingerie season
the two of you might want to go outside for that smoke
because you haven’t heard anything yet

 Sep 2013 Ben Brinkburn
Showman

I'm a cool cat
Who likes to scat
The smooth jazz
That dances off my pen
Compliments
The 'garette I smoke

The dance of pen to pad
The movement
The shake
Rumble
Makes my fingers snap
And my feet tap.

tears fall
trace the lines
and planes of faces
hurt
pain
shock

like dark, wretched storm
screams rip
sobs cry
fear wrenches

ohmygod
ohmygod
ohmygod
not again
not again

Next page