Brian Rhilmann

Fuck it 
as I approach 50
I grow tired of trying to fix
all my various problems—
my emotional problems 
my people problems 
my drinking problem 
it’s like pretending 
I’m somebody else
somebody I’ll never be
so...fuck it—
I surrender 
I’m done fixing anything 
it’s a waste of whatever time
I’ve got left
this belief that we’ll die
at 85 after a long retirement 
is a hubristic 
modern fallacy
I’ve had a few classmates go 
in their mid 40s
people die
in their 40s and 50s
all the time
and don’t you forget it
shit...they die in their teens
and 20s too
and in cribs
and wombs
back to my so called
I guess I could be sorry 
it’s taken me this long
to figure out
that they’re not problems 
at all—
that this is just more
cultural propaganda 
clinging to my already too old
too heavy 
concrete shoe soul
like a thousand rotting 
so again 
fuck it
someone has to be me
and someone has to be you
so we may as well
quit pretending 
and really go for it
you know?
really inhabit ourselves 
because after all
nobody can play these parts
better than we can 

The Same Old Face
it’s always those with power
telling the powerless
to not take it personally—
it’s just the market
you’ll find another apartment 
one you can afford 
you’ll find another job
don’t worry
there’s no need to hate me
there’s no need to curse
or spit on my shoes 
why are you so angry?
and while those 
with lots of power
can be vicious 
worse are those
who’ve been powerless themselves
and now they have a little bit 
and they’re testing it
you see
they want to know
if they have the stomach
to do
what’s been done
to them
just like 
they always dreamed
I like to imagine 
they’re surprised 
at themselves
by how easily 
they slip into the role
of master
I like to imagine 
some crisis of conscience 
but they probably
don’t even notice—
they look in the mirror 
and see the same old face
they haven’t changed 
a bit

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