by ship they came
Italy to Lovejoy
breathe in
the fuel of work

rounding the corner
the sweet heavy cloud
of hauling

wheel spins center
clutch, shift, release,

motor rumbles like grampa 
before the steel mill
heart attack took him

moving product to market
Nakuru to Mombasa
Montecristi to Santo Domingo
Bay of Penty to Auckland

transporting me
and once exotic fruit
to port and home again

© 2012-2022 Brian Brown-Cashdollar


Sweet Summer Dukkha

June Yard Work
only seven days into summer
yellow sumac leaves fall

the sharp smell of cut grass
warning surrounding plants

keep mowing!
plenty of time left
plenty of grass to cut

July at Lake Erie
the warmth of noon sun
tempered by the lake breeze

suntan lotion everywhere
usedta be just for the beach

usedta smell
just like sand

August Light
summer’s fleeting
on the Niagara Frontier

half this childhood season
just to tell us — almost done

nights creep towards fall
whiles breakfast retreats
from sunshine
to dawn
to dark

© 2013-2022 Brian Brown-Cashdollar



/* May feel a little rushed, but I like the image of the physics of fear. */

light clinging to snowflakes
snow sticking to everything
a perfect squall
a travel ban
the roads were ours

swerving across medians
spinning through intersections
a high school thrill ride
me, Marty, Red

tires skating under street lights
boys hurtling towards snow banks
instinctively I palm the wheel
in the back Marty squeals

You’re so cool!
as I try to control the physics
of rubber, steel, flesh and fear

© 2014-2022 Brian Brown-Cashdollar



we’re not supposed to say it
but, when you’re damaged
you don’t get to be

scar tissue
is weaker
than intact skin

sometimes though
life is stronger
than injury

© 2015-2022  Brian Brown-Cashdollar


Liberation Study

I’m proud of this piece. More specifically, I’m proud of the patience to finally wait it out. For many years, I didn’t understand what it was about, and finally after 30 years when I did, the language felt forced and it still didn’t capture what I was looking for. When I caught our reflection in the bus window, I knew it was done.

Although 30+ years does has a price. The political discourse and cosmology feels dated, limiting it’s relevance. With that said, I still think it still has value.

Liberation Study

charcoals and sketchbook on my lap
on the bus a la universidad
we pass her out back
before the afternoon rains

a cross of weathered board and nails
suspending line and laundry above hard-packed dust

clothespins braced between her fingers and teeth
struggling against billowing sheets
arms raised overhead gathering bedding
gust, snap — la fe
gust, snap — la dignidad
gust, snap — la lucha

mi compañera next to me
struggle, why do we push struggle
I don’t know
why do they always sell faith
setting down my stick
I rub the tips of my blackened fingers
catching our reflection, I laugh
I guess we’re left with dignity

then the wind shifts
through her loose strands of pelo and floral frock
gust, snap
praising, surrendering
or hanging wash

© 1989-2022 Brian Brown-Cashdollar