Two Poems

Sean Brendan-Brown


          No romance in disaster, in
blanching alive when boilers
burst. Or blinded with grease,
screaming from a galley
where steam has peeled
the face from your skull;
bravery is tits on a boar
in an engine compartment
where a pipe–wrench swings
          and a flotation vest is unlaced.


          I think of Jacob Astor
drowning in his favorite tweeds,
the platinum Cartier, a gift
from Edward VII, chiming half
of “Witch of the Air” before
freezing on its fob into
a glittering halibut rig; Astor
wasn’t the type to save himself
          with lipstick and a wig.




Bush Ducks Shoes

          The insult in Arabic is ibn al–kundara: son
of a shoe; it’s an ancient way to vent frustration.


          True, Muntazer al–Zaidi flung clean Oxford wingtips
at the enemy he thought beneath him, as low as shoes,


          in Bedouin days the missile would have been a sweaty,
camel-dung drenched slipper: mortal insult to have so


          foul a gauntlet dashed in one’s face;
Bush ducked: the president was always very adept


          at ducking—no harm done, the world belly-laughed
heartily before the crash.

Sean Brendan-Brown is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently resides in Olympia, WA. A medically-retired Marine, he is the author of three poetry chapbooks: No Stopping Anytime; King Of Wounds; West Is A Golden Paradise, and a fiction chapbook, Monarch Of Hatred. He has published with the Notre Dame Review, Wisconsin Review, Indiana Review, Texas Review, Southampton Review, and the University of Iowa Press anthologies American Diaspora and Like Thunder. He is the recipient of a 1997 NEA Poetry Fellowship and a 2010 NEA Fiction Fellowship. In 2013 MilSpeak Books will release his first collection of short fiction, Brother Dionysus.