Three Poems by Thea Brown

From Her Collection Famous Times

February 8, 2019  By Thea Brown

Yesterday’s Commonplace

All the evil I see sparks
just so and stays
lighted. So frequently corrected,
my vision of evil compels
a fast adherence, a sleeping
through landing, a public omen.
I find myself darkly composed
in monuments, the sun rising
to strike all limbs in sequence.
Awake now, now, here, awake
to sun drip in the watershed, thick
and slow, jeweled honey-speckle
with decay and slow stirring.
Magnolia looms behind the office park
as gray meets gray building, security
manifesting distracted answers. I see all
the fear I see in men, I see deliberation
in a speck of magnolia, underside dull,
contemplation now as fear, infected
in the face and the gore comes
accessible, ringed in fuchsia.
We did miss the blossoms,
welcomed gray bulbs.
Manifesting, the limping deer
by the freeway shakes off its antlers,
submits in the shade of the tree.


Under Whose Tutelage

Always look up for the arrows.
Note: A sky full of kites makes a noise
like a warship, full throttle.
Brighter colors, the strings run up
through birch branches, white
paths to untangle in the blue.
Impossible to satisfactorily reorient
though tracing might suffice.
Here’s the thing:
I forgot. I mean I can’t say.
My daily life doesn’t amount to
much but you should see my never
mind, my errant self-aggrandizement.
If the thunder never happens, do we win
a prize? An ornamental key? Pink
champagne cake in the teachers’ lounge?
Pause, blink, I underwhelm my keepers,
feed geese under the bridge, edge closer
dismissing hisses and bodily harm.
It’s all about letting the motor run, idling,
horses, bypass—sorry, I love you, don’t run!
My fist on the e-brake, I sketch
a pretty helicopter, board it, pull out
the Ouija, conjure the dead and ask them
favors, pull the arrows back
by the ribbons I tied to them,
run one through my heel and
put the car in serious neutral—
never once looking up again
to the new sky’s green malice light.


Angle Toward

What I bring to bear on
the world is only romance and my
not being dead. Only romance in a knot
being, dead. Only the pairing held
aloft by lighthearted heavy lifting, only
green pears for every breakfast, looping.
This morning is every morning and this
place I sit is every yesterday come back
and stacked over one another, one over
the other, until the heat of them becomes
unbearable. Until this perfect pitch of
subsistence buzzing recognizes its perfection
in extinction, extinguished, and won.
The man in the park with his sword
raises his sword nonaggressively toward
a sun perched low on magnolias. On
average, less cash. In aggregate, less harsh.
Please don’t set the wick just yet as I’ve
just only woken. The cicadas just
began their song in the city.
The stones of the cathedral just hot enough
to scorch. The morning just thick
enough to stop a weak heart for exertion.
Maybe if we stay alive we can, we will
we can we will see it all come together.


thea brown famous times cover

From Famous Times. Used with permission of Slope Editions. Copyright © 2019 by Thea Brown.

Thea Brown
Thea Brown
Originally from the Hudson Valley in New York, Thea Brown the author of the chapbook We Are Fantastic (Petri Press 2013) and the full-length collections Think of the Danger (H_NGM_N 2016) and Famous Times (Slope Editions 2019). She lives in Baltimore, where she was the 2016–2017 Tickner Fellow at the Gilman School, a 2016 Rubys Artist Project Grant awardee, and the recipient of a 2017 UCross Foundation fellowship.

More Story
The Study of Animal Languages Two I should begin at the beginning. Who I am, and so forth. How I met Prue. What I’ve published, and where. How I landed...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.