Literary Orphans

Two Poems by Brian Rihlmann


she had the messiah thing

that some of them get

and maybe it’s true—

maybe she DID

save someone from

being molested, raped

or killed


who knows

about such things?


she told me

about guys who paid her

to piss or shit in their mouths

guys who paid her

to pretend to be a dead girl

an unwilling girl

or a little girl

begging them

in a squeaky voice

to “fuck me harder, daddy!”


I said “Wow…that’s fucked up!”

she smiled and said

“I feed my kids off it being fucked up.

Fucked up ain’t goin’ nowhere, honey.”


O Typekey Divider



of course, I dream about it—

fame, a life of leisure…don’t we all?

but then, how good would it be?

if I didn’t have to get up at four a.m.

if I didn’t have to squeeze the writing in

if I didn’t have to steal time on the job

to scribble ideas on scraps of paper


maybe if I could relax

sleep til noon

it’d all go to shit


I’d become like the country star

who sings songs about drinking cheap beer

and driving a beat up truck

down that muddy Mississippi road

but now sips cognac in the evenings

and tools down Sunset Boulevard

in an 80 thousand dollar SUV


maybe I need the morning madness

the frosted windshield

the frozen fingers

and the freeway


the crush of the 8 or 10 hour day

the demanding bosses

the idiotic coworkers


and then having to rush to the bank

the post office

the grocery store

after work

and wait in long lines


gritting my teeth


maybe I need this neighborhood—

the moans of the disabled

from next door

that drunk in the alley

pissing on our fence


the thump of bass at 2 a.m.

an occasional gunshot

a cop outside my window

with a flashlight


maybe I even need the rising rents

the instability

the possibility of the streets

a return to the bottle


no love

no life


maybe I just need to be squeezed

and my words are the juice—

sweet, bitter, or salty


and full of pulp


O Typekey Divider

Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada. He writes free verse poetry, and has been published in The Blue Nib, The American Journal of Poetry, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others. His first poetry collection, “Ordinary Trauma,” (2019) was published by Alien Buddha Press.

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Giuseppe Milo