Out Of Our Collective Asses from the little waiting area I can look out into the shop and see they’re working on my car now, finally I let the oil get way too black these days my old man would be appalled there’s a woman in here with me standing, pacing she’s on the phone evidently with a lawyer talking about wills and trusts it seems a private conversation to have in front of a stranger but maybe it’s better to vent around strangers— no need for decorum one is the good daughter college educated, successful the other’s a mess, a drunk, and what can I do? she asks I don’t want to cut her out but if I leave her all this money she’ll just drink herself to death... she’s already halfway there, and her boyfriend is a fucking leech, too then she’s silent, listening she squints at the wall as though seeking an answer written there in some very fine print I imagine the lawyer as he squirms in his chair pulling attempted solutions out of his ass I bet I know just how he feels
Your Daily Koan one old school weightlifting coach said that if he could whittle a lifter down to making only one mistake that was the best he could hope for (when whittling wood it helps to know when enough’s enough or you’ve just turned a horsey into a doggie) and it’s true— many of the greats have had idiosyncratic technique— Dimas threw his head back Pocket Hercules yanked the bar off the floor... things no sensible coach would teach nor try to fix not when an athlete is breaking records and bringing home gold but now I wonder were they great because of these flaws or in spite of them? it’s something to consider if not to answer as you stumble through another day wielding your little pocket knife you’re welcome
Westbound Greyhound Blues a flat-yellow sunbaked dump, Amarillo and yet an hour layover at the bus terminal is a blessing despite clouds of flies missing stall doors and overflowing toilets a blessing because at least for the moment I am no longer sitting a temporary reprieve from that torturous seat the fire in my ass and lower back the endless war stories of Vietnam hat guy who's maybe 50 in 2010 I wander the building and study my fellow travelers see the prison ink like faded bruises the hard lines, dark circles, scars the eyes brimming or empty some stretch out and sleep spooning duffel bags hugging suitcases like lovers outside it's hot and still and the flies are here, too they've mistaken me for a corpse I walk around the block and encounter no one and feel blessed, again back at the terminal the call comes too soon and I climb aboard find a window seat about halfway back and watch as they file in I pray for an empty seat beside me the answer is no and I get an obese woman with B.O. and 5 o'clock shadow she chatters, I pretend to sleep kick myself for not bringing a bottle eventually, I doze but am jostled awake after 5 minutes or two hours I don't know and it doesn't matter all I know is I'm still here it's nighttime and I'm aching to piss I squeeze past my cellmate who hates me for waking her ruining her dreams I stumble up the aisle tripping over feet in the darkness voices grumble or curse I finally give up trying to step over and boot them aside in the bathroom I sway at the urinal as the bus rocks along the highway I stand there long after I've zipped my fly listening to the hum of the engine I stand there until someone beats on the door says Come on, man I sigh, a deep sigh low-down Charlie Brown deep I've been on the road about 16 hours now only 30 more til Reno
Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest collection, Night At My Throat, (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press.