"'therefore get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna,'" "east 51st," and "milkweed & sage"

"therefore get up with a determination to fight, O Arjuna"

seen shoving soggy up at glass
            pass over without second look
after virus, coughs outline haze
            days underneath, sounds swimming lost
sung gently through lethargic soup
            group of bearded mouths, loudest heard?
seems simple cast power of will
            still sitting sill precarious
crack in pane of fragile power
            towers over in one last stand
fear comes foggy hear the singing
            stinging shards spell end eternal:
"you grieve for those who are not worthy"



east 51st

from the hilltop blared the sirens. from above us came the angels. we were running to the car, got in got driving, went swerving & skidding north away from the cops, now down 51st. danny, poor guy behind the wheel, he was a real nervous type. catholic guy. had saints and shit. recognized every angel by name, repented loud to the big ones. i was taken aback, sure, but god, he was chanting names and shaking. we weren't far enough, either, so i asked the angels nicely as i could to deliver us from the police. michael the angel got closer to hear but he was huge and his wings pushed air like a turbojet. scared the hell out of us. i asked him again for deliverance. i said they're getting all of us now. had to shout real loud for my voice to carry over the roar of michael's wings. danny just stuttered, prayed, begged for mercy. occurred to me then to ask if this was the end.



milkweed & sage

turned the place upside down but found only
photocopies double-sided filling every space
shuffle paper, All (as it turns out)
a wrapping-paper game concealing only
that it's only paper Stretched, anxious echo
vision-- tearing. Yesterday in cube
circle after circle touched my finger Cold
Wet a moment: patterns their own not relative
to anything from Without! in peace honest
un-decoded hardly appreciated 
without even shaky permanence, being-toward-
End imposed by kettle pouring hot
and You are a Giant! greatfearsomestrong​
stuck subcompact bad intent! sub-tongue crouch
couched in fine print (lift) photocopy fraud
Threats repeated rattle sabers, clean out
empty boxes over Threats implicit
hide inside doorway, however many
copies printed / You cut sour ceiling half!
trample paper underfoot! breathe free now.
skin the fine print! tear label from empty.
in the hallway, can you walk all upright?
stand up! fast, hear you give patterns solace,
mourn the lost; in mourning see clearly
long-lingering remnants of past pathways,
few words, you circle over false warnings:
you crack paper foundation through and through
burn paper break boxes banish Empty!
"Rise up, my love, my fair one, come away."
Stand roofless now! under warm sun where we
walked, took in softly birdsongs and flowers,
wandered through scatters of milkweed and sage



Henry Brown

Henry Brown is a writer and third-year Religion major/Spanish minor at Carleton College, where he organizes with the Democratic Socialists of America. His poems have appeared in Amethyst Review, Isacoustic, Eleventh Transmission, Eunoia Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Quatrain.fish, After The Pause, and Wax, and he has a piece upcoming in Kingdoms in the Wild. Henry recommends the Workers Defense Project in Austin.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, December 9, 2019 - 01:06