You are reading an archived issue of Sleet Magazine. To return to the current issue, click here.

Volume 10 • Number 1 • Summer 2018

Tim J Brennan

Fragments of 1969


Fragments of 1969

A wild attitude. Wet things
in the woods surrounding houses,
the sides of the hills. Flowers, like
street lamps, disappeared, snapped;

vacant lots waiting to be sold. Cold
mist in the morning. Peterson
still had an outhouse; old man
called it a washhouse. Smelled

even through the pines. A distant
vagueness. Winter sought endurance
in the trickle of March water toward
the roadside grates. Not even an ocean.

white-fenced edges.

18 year old neighbor Brian
on his porch couch, checking
the lottery the end of September.
Odds on Nam, December 1.

The drums of his fingers
on the tin table. His cool toes.
Puddles forming outside.

Looking out at the rain.
At the lawn mower.
At the haul trailer parked
in the long grass.

Down the block,
St. Edward’s, the Confessor
with all its bell ropes,

All its gaps.


Green how much I want you green
green wind green limbs green rain
singing and dripping in green leaves

green shadows bright green eyes
willows bending bronze over green
fresh east and green west fishermen

stepping into spring water greeting
green bellied-trout and fingerlings
of green minnows in green shallows

beneath twisting green mysteries
of seeds seeking green and foliage
drumming green deep in our blood

we both look at each other green
she wants you to run with her
through green vines twined

around her wrists, through her hair
heels tapping on green rain paths
carrying green sinew of our spines.


On a winter street corner,
wind sweeps around me

bone-chill curling taproots
of newly planted autumn birch.

A torn blanket lies in the gutter.
An older man, top hat and heavy coat,

brushes past my shoulder. Little dots
float in the air. It is so cold

I feel my distance from people is justified;
down the street, the hermitage monks

are praying, and, I am just far enough
away from the rendering plant

to not hear the hundreds of pigs squealing
their final desperate scream for living.


It’s midnight. The thermometer outside
the window reads

fourteen below Fahrenheit. Everything
is at once upside down

in a cold spoon. No matter; it’s inside
where I’m sexual:

mentally, physically, whatever. If you die
I’ll have to go downstairs

and play the piano when I want sex,
to feel the real vibrations—

to tickle the ivories Isn’t that how you put it?
Strings, keys, pedals…my baby, it’s grand.

There’s no conversation during our sex,
so playing the piano is analogous.

It’s all about the concentration, the ending:
mentally, physically. 


Tim J Brennan’s poems can be found in nice places like Talking Stick, KAXE public radio, Green Blade, Bitchin’ Kitch, Volume One, Sleet, and many other regional and national publications. Brennan’s one act plays have played across the USA, including nice stages in Milwaukee, White Bear Lake, Rochester, and Spring Valley MN, Colorado Springs, North Carolina, Alabama, and even most recently in Mexico.