Derrick Brown TWO POEMS


After the soft coals of sleep
the scratching at my bedroom door returns
and the noise
clings to the head like pools of blackstrap molasses,
raff-raff-straff- through my swampy pillows.

I used to see boars out my window.
Now the old, familiar Wolf-Fox of Sorrow,
Brimstone sifting through his smoking teeth,
blood in paws, low crawl in the grass,
he has come.

To crawl back inside me and weave himself in.
To chew out my insides and sew himself in.
The terrible sewing.

I woke up yesterday morning and
wanted to blow my brains out,
with a shotgun.
Two shells to blow my brains on the most beautiful wall—
the cleanest wall — a pool of milk waiting at the base—
the starkest white: eggshell or matte.

Spinning while exploding.
The mad spin. Walls catching me. Pink pink pink.
This so you can see what the Wolf-Fox has done
to me, has become to me.

I am fine with being the last of my name.

When I awake in our bed, hungry for these exit songs,
there is dust splitting the light.
There is that gaudy sky, all roofs on the ground,
and there are no walls for miles.

There is only rubble, settling dust, and a breeze.

You are standing there above me
with sledgehammer…exhausted.

Exhausted. Your shirt, a creek of sweat.
Your chest shining like a Colt Peacemaker.

Your voice is cashmere and rescue.

You say,
“My dear, true love is labor.
I will not learn how to love the dead.
No walls, no go.

There is nowhere to hang a calendar.
There is nowhere for clocks.

My love is for the living.”


When asked if he could change one thing in the world,
his answer wasn’t any lame diatribe about One Love,
Affordable Housing or World Peace,
it was,
“I would like to make bread softer.”

Anis, I hate you.

When asked what his dream date would be like
he said, “I’d rather someone else go who deserves it more.
I hope it goes well, I’m cooking a bowl of toast.”

I detest you, Anis.

How is it possible that your name is one letter away from “anus”
and no one ever makes fun of that?
Everybody likes you to your face, but behind your back…
they like you even more.

I have odium for you, Anis.
…which I know you know means intense dislike, scholarship man!

I know you can only wake up when you smell cookies.
I know that when you read that “Footprints” poem before you sleep,
you often wonder if there was only one set of footprints
because Jesus and you were actually hopping with one leg
in a burlap sack race to baby heaven.
I loathe you with all my heart, Anis.
I hate that you sound like the Snuggle fabric softener bear during lovemaking.
I hope you choke on a lego. Do the bubbleguts!
Bend over the anvil, Anis, and get stretched.
It’s not that I super-hate you, it’s that I hate that I can’t make
magic wholeness like you can.
A -holeness.

See you on America’s Most Wanted… as a victim.

Derrick Brown, former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, gondolier, magician, and fired weatherman, now travels the world and performs his written work. From Long Beach, CA, he is dedicated to bringing American poetry into rock and roll status. As one of the most original and well-traveled writer/performers in the country, he has gained a cult following for his poetry performances all over the U.S. and Europe. A poetic terrorism group has taken to tagging his metaphors across the globe. called his last collection, Scandalabra, one of the best books of 2009. To date, Brown has performed as a writer at over 1500 venues and universities internationally including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, La Sorbonne in Paris, CBGB’s in NYC, All Tomorrows parties with the Flaming Lips and a small Jewish youth group in Glendale. You can read more from him at and buy his books at


  1. Incredible! Derrick Brown has managed to lean into the dark drainage of love. I never enjoyed the taste of necrophilia in regards to cradling love with someone who is dead inside. My last relationship is my last bondage from such drainage. Derrick’s words in this poem express exactly how I felt when I decided my love is for the living. Like Derrick, my ex had this beast that would crawl inside of him and beat me down til I decided, “There is nowhere to hang a calendar.
    There is nowhere for clocks. My love is for the living.” It’s hard to love someone who is so dead inside.

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