The Nation We Know as Love

within the confines of love, a shallow swamp, a vast beach, a deep well of fresh water—
in the place of in-love, the swamp becomes a garden, the beach palisade and sand, the
            well deeper—
over time, being loved and loving mud and muck, hot sand, the well dries up
                                                                        or
a swamp of change, a beach of sunlight and shadow, a well that finds its source and fills
            itself again
                                                                        or
the mix and match of swamp and garden, beach and popularity, well and the depth of
            cleanliness.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetry Super Highway and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

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