Thursday, August 1, 2019




other cities
always seem more interesting
but it’s good, once in awhile
to prowl the streets of your own
to feel it’s pulse in your toes

today, as I drive towards downtown
streets are barricaded everywhere
and I backtrack two, three times
finally find street parking, unmetered
(I’m a fucking local....I ain’t paying!)

I park
start walking
past the bus station
the street people
with shopping carts
or duffel bags

past a casino
where a guy shoves chips
in my face
like a dope dealer
offering a little taste

past the courthouse
I helped build, years ago
with its strange sculpture—
a flat piece of steel
drilled with large holes—
and wonder
if this was the artist’s idea
of a joke—

a rusty, Swiss cheese abomination
in front of a place
that dispenses justice

I walk on
across the Virginia Street bridge
find the source
of all those barricades—

the beer-fest
of course
white tents
line the main drag
iced down kegs
and frosty glasses
people drinking
smiling, laughing

I’m thirsty
and painfully sober

I should leave
maybe head down East 4th
where the hookers stroll
but no...
too early in the day
they’re shut up
in cheap rooms
with the shades pulled tight
sleeping off last night’s horror show
of hideous bodies
souls, and cock

I walk back
to where the river flows
green and swollen
head west
toward the mountains

cottonwood seed
fills the air
tiny puffs
of a million daydreams
float, rise and fall
in the brilliant June sunshine


which is worse—
to sit in a room alone
or with someone
who chatters
and picks at your soul
until it resembles
a stripped carcass
by the side of the road

I lie on my bed
stare at the ceiling
and ponder the either/or
as people in pairs
or in groups
pass by my window
talking, going somewhere

A moth flies in
through the blinds
circles the light
dances with his shadow
inside the shade
and then leaves again
evidently not finding
what he sought


Mom crouched in the grass
with her little girl,
showing how the dandelion
had gone to seed,
how to make a wish and blow.

She didn’t quite have the lungs yet
but she found a solution...

and after, as she ran barefoot
through the park
laughing and kicking
those puffball heads,
scattering seeds everywhere,

Mom considered the green lawn
at home, and thought,
“What have I done?”
But she still smiled.


BRIAN RIHLMANN was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry...for folks. He has been published in The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Alien Buddha Zine, Synchronized Chaos, Madness Muse Press and The American Journal Of Poetry.


  1. Me encantó El pulso y esta frase mas: "pequeñas bocanadas
    de un millón de sueños"

  2. I love either/or - the moth is an Icarus for me; he flies to truth, but gets burned.

  3. Excellent work, Brian.
    Either/ Or is a classic !