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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2018 - Vol. 15, Issue 1

"Man in Brass"

written by

Rick Blum

I don’t acknowledge him often,

pay scant attention when gliding

by the palm-polished knob

securing the basement door –

a door through which I’ll never pass.

Today, though, adrift in trivialities,

I spied him hunched down

on his wheeled throne, brassy eyes

pregnant with the casualties

of misfiring nerves.

Like a sideshow gawker simultaneously

repulsed and transfixed, I fought the urge

to mock him, instead mouthing words

of hope and forbearance … which rang

hollow as pompous political promises.


That night he appeared again

in a patchwork quilt of memory scraps,

first dancing along its border

like Bojangles, feet afire, then flitting

with the ease of a katydid across

embroidered squares of past expectations.

Let me come with you, I cry, to again

trip lightly in the fantastical world

of the mundane. But he dissolved

without replying, leaving me to stare

into a dusky chasm of discarded dreams.

Rick Blum has been chronicling life’s vagaries through essays and poetry for more than 25 years despite fingers that move unusually slowly due to MS. His writings have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Thought Notebook Journal, and The Satirist, among others. He is also a frequent contributor to the Humor Times, and has been published in numerous poetry anthologies. Mr. Blum is a two-time winner of the annual Carlisle Poetry Contest. His poem, Tomfoolery, received honorable mention in The Boston Globe Deflategate poetry challenge.

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