photo by james barros
Deborah Edler Brown is a Los Angeles-based poet, journalist, author, and teacher, with two poetry chapbooks, several writing awards, a non-fiction book, and a variety of journals and anthologies to her name. She was born in Brazil, raised in Pittsburgh, and has family on four continents. She learned to dance before she learned to walk, started writing in grade school, and is entirely in love with the magic and rhythm of words.
Taller Than the Moon
He holds his gin like an Irish poet,
which is to say, not well,
but with flourish.
Conversation slips into verse.
An idea lights a match to the alcohol in his brain;
blood rises. A flood of memories knits
a verbal coat of arms.
Occasionally, apologies tumble,
an awareness that the horses
are wild tonight, that the ride
may make you dizzy in the moonlight.
But he looms taller than the moon,
and the child in his eyes says
sweet bedtime prayers as he
pours another shot and
hands you his notebook.
He reads his words in time with
you, leaning over your shoulder,
as if two voices can make love
on one page.
He is a big man, easily brawling
except that words pour from him
not blood. The look of torment
warns you away, calls you forth
like a haunted house.
You hear shadows in the monologues.
Someone died, perhaps a girlfriend.
Suicide? Heroin? It's hard to tell.
But the water is deep and tumbling and
you know if you fall it will be dark and cold.
Still, he has not moved from your side.
He clings to your eyes like floating bark,
roping the moments together into a raft,
and it's another shot, another poem.
And you wonder,
were they all like this at 27?
Deborah Edler Brown