He Reads Every Street Sign Aloud
by Brandon Noel
A vast country on fire, cast with smoke,
the willow tree and the water moccasin
are markers for my spirit, after the path
my feet are covered in quiet burns
but I still have feet. In April, three Louisiana
black churches, pressed down, shaken together,
hard coals, dots in the southern air at night.
They are my little brothers, my older sisters,
the Passover giants. I write this letter to them.
Be shrewd, my siblings, for now the mountains
you sprout into have only just begun.
Drink the sunflower wine of Jubilee
as you go to face your enemies, and know
their tables are everywhere. Rise, the dark
interpolated yeast of salvation, which rends
its flesh whenever your flesh is rendered.
Generations of seeds, like paving stones, fall from
where you are broken, they cry out under the streets
for the rain, for the green again. I heard it when
I walked through Youngstown and my dad said,
“Everything is a museum to me”, which is a way
of saying that all reformation isn’t eventual.
Brandon Noel (He/Him), lives and works as a machinist in Warren, Ohio. Brandon turned 33 last December and has two daughters, ages 11 and 5, whom he raises with their mother. Most of his writing is done on breaks and brief moments of down time in the factory, and then patched together later as poems. He facilitates an open local writers group called, “The Makeshift Poets” that meets monthly at The Havana House in Niles, Oh.
He has published two poetry collections: Mongrel (2015) and Infinite Halves (2017). And has had poems featured in multiple publications, such as: Door-Is-A-Jar, Kissing Dynamite & YSU’s Jenny Lit Mag.