Julie Ann Baker Brin

Julie Ann Baker Brin
3 Poems

ACHERONTIA ATROPOS†

Tortricid.1
I am a moth
trapped in your car

Pterón.2
beating my wings
uselessly;

Lepis.3
scales turn to powder
against glass walls

Imaginal.4
draining me
of my light.

† Death’s head hawkmoth (distinguished for rapid flying)
1 Super family of the order Lepidoptera (Tortrix)
2 Feather, wing (Greek: πτερόν)
3 Scale (Greek: λεπῐ́ς)
4 Final stage of metamorphosis (Imago)

Take Five

The room came more alive. Perhaps it was the permeating aroma of incense following
you. Or the rumors of your insanity preceding you. But I was at once intrigued, heavily,
with a light suffocation of fear. When can I clap? All I can do is nod my head tap my toe
bounce from foot to foot. The rhythm is a slinky, a rubber band, a swing; full, still, hard,
smooth, tight, plastic. A fiery fusion of flourish. Put it in the pocket. Improvise.

Quiet just now, please; jazz is highly regulated, somewhat subjugated, bizarrely
appreciated for its enigmatic ephemerality. Green shakers, silver strings, gold horns,
blue tongues; tension building climbing soaring muscle-grabbing release. Strangers dropping
stopping popping slouching crouching grouching. Time to get up, make a stand, a state of
commotion, anticipated, syncopated, pure and unadulterated. Move it outside, sonny.

Impossible, you say; possibly but not for me. Let me throw your alphabet to the nearest
supernova, the closest astral phenomenon, see finally what comes out of the mouths of
babes; the stars are all about you, not so far away. You need not seek a secondary plane, a
new letter, a novel emotion; it’s hiding quite possibly in your foot, your navel, the
twinkle in your eye. Let it scare you loudly.

Beg and beg; don’t give up. Persistence is flattering, charming, depending. Upending.
Are you friends with whom? How are you connected to this madness? Serially. Seriously.
Thud, crash, in rapid succession; listen to the story you’re confessing. A collective
gathering of random truths for the lost divine. Darting eyes, shivering callous hands; can I
get an amen, an ohyeah baby do it again? Please, stray from the program.

Don’t look now but you could be a genius; right brain left brain good, get in balance or
hold your asymmetry. At least fall for the fuzzy, then clinking, madness afoot; don’t
forget to take a break, venture to an alternative. It could be approaching you, premonition
could bolster you: against a wall, against a stack of library books, a tree, whatever’s cool.
Just start anywhere. Pick a page, a leaf, a line, a stage. Fill up the shelves of time.

When You’re Out of Town

I cook weird combinations of food gleaned from the freezer’s depths.
I hit “snooze” an obscene number of times.
I pile a pallet of blankies on the living room floor and sleep with the doggies.
I don’t use freshener spray in the bathroom (but I still courtesy flush).
I read in bed until I’m bug-eyed.
I catch myself whining audibly at the slightest inconvenience.
I drink straight from the cranberry juice bottle.
I let heaps of stuff accumulate in almost every room until the last possible minute.
I leave on lights outdoors. I leave on lights indoors.
I forget to bring in the mail (but remember to pull the dumpster to the curb).
I “steal” from your garage those tools you “borrowed” from me.
I revert to childhood behavior.
I practice keyboard sans headphones (much to the doggies’ dismay).
I pilfer from your “secret” snack stash to see if you’ll see.
I adjust the thermostat like a rebel.
I think of the things I’ll say to you tonight (then you call and my mind blanks).
I make silly, silly lists.
I miss you; I can’t stand it.
I can’t stand that I miss you.

 

By day, Julie Ann Baker Brin works for public broadcasting; by night, she participates in multiple creative and community-building endeavors. Her writing has previously been presented by Z Publishing in two Kansas’s Best Emerging Poets collection, as well as in Kansas publications like Archaeopteryx, Coelacanth, Kiosk, and Sheridan Edwards Review (in which she received a Kisner Prize for Poetry).