The Flapper Press Poetry Café: The Poetry of Michael Brownstein

Updated: Jul 19

By Annie Newcomer:

The Flapper Press Café is honored to present the work of poets from around the world. This week, we feature the poetry of Michael Brownstein.

Michael H. Brownstein's latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet's Journey to the Borderlands of Dementia (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were published by Cholla Needles Press.

We reached out to Michael to ask him about his influences and inspirations.

AN: How did you come to poetry?

MB: You’re on the roof of your old house, the roof is in serious disrepair, but you walk on it as if you’re on a boardwalk. A squirrel falls through where you just stood; what is left to do but go to all fours, tread carefully until you’re on safe ground, call the roofers (you can’t fix this), and write a poem.

You’re walking across a great field, firecrackers exploding. You swat away at dozens of mosquitoes. Near where you teach, the security guard tackles you and points out a sniper who has been shooting at you as you crossed. There is nothing else to do but conduct a poetry workshop in your algebra class.

You go camping, and a rattlesnake crawls into your sleeping bag. Prayer and poetry—they really do go together.

On and on. Take a break. Write a poem.

That's how I came to write poetry.

AN: What do you hope people will come away with from reading your work?

MB: I hope they find an image or idea they can take away from my work—a connection, if you will. The idea of poetry, in my mind, is to express a thought in an interesting and, hopefully, original way and then help the reader create their own narrative from the experience of reading the poem.

This is simply a love poem to my wife of more than three decades. When you are in love, everything is a rainbow, soft skin, clear weather, and a great amount of glory.