Dead Beat Dad & More Poems by Brian Rihlmann

Deadbeat Dad
my poems are my children
and I’m their deadbeat dad—
I create them, love them,
nurture them for a little while
a few hours…a day…
sometimes a week
if that’s what it takes
until I feel they’re ready
or I’m just tired of them
then I boot them out
I open the door and say—
you’ve gotten all I have to give
so go on now
you’re free
get out there and live
go see what they’ll make of you
just don’t expect too much
sometimes they don’t want to go
they look back at me
from the front steps
they plead with their eyes
and their sad little faces
but I set mine to stone
and shut the door
like any parent
of course it pains me to know
they may be mocked
or laughed at
or misunderstood
they may wind up
rotting in dumpsters
or abandoned in dark
and dusty corners
but there’s always the possibility
of being found by someone
who needs them
someone who hears
what they have to say
and that’s the best
a deadbeat dad like me
can hope for
One Day Much Too Soon
she walks unsteadily as a toddler
and trembles as though terrified
always a nurse by her side
I’ve watched her come and go
from the house next door
diminutive and middle-aged
with pageboy hair and thick glasses
but I haven’t seen her
since the ambulance came that day
and I haven’t heard
the unearthly sound she makes
halfway between a laugh and a cry
I never knew which
maybe she didn’t either
but now as I stand outside, listening…
the absence and the silence
reminds me of all we get used to
and all the strangeness we’ll miss
one day much too soon
One Hand On Her Ass
If a young man
ever sought my advice
I’d tell him this—
don’t kick yourself too much
not over the times
you stumble and fall
not over the time
you think you’ve wasted
lying there
until you’re able to get
on your feet again
and not over all the people
you believe you’ve let down
because the world
couldn’t possibly go on
without you, right?
don’t kick yourself
for any of it
in fact make a habit
of not kicking yourself—
life’s a cranky old mare
she’ll kick you plenty
stomp you when you’re down
she doesn’t need
any of your help
oh—and if you have to walk
behind her
keep one hand
on her ass
and stay as close
as you possibly can


Brian Rihlmann:
Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest collection, “Night At My Throat,” (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; his publications include
All the Babble of the Souk , Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals and Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems, collected poems, as well as translation of Guadalupe Grande´s La llave de niebla, as Key of Mist and the recently published Tesserae , a translation of Carmen Crespo´s Teselas.
You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

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