The Works of Michael H. Brownstein
Brownstein teaches elementary school in Chicago’s inner city, studies authentic African instruments with his students, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators and the State of Illinois Title 1 Convention, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.
After the Moon Fills Itself with Milk
the lightning bug tree
in the middle of the grove
the sand break
in the middle of the river
the blackened angel cloud
in the middle of the noon sky
the stone and red leaf,
the driftwood and oyster puddle
the cold rain of winter,
a brown bear waking to the snow
a track along the ice
in the middle of the storm
December, the drought ending,
rain washed trees bleeding their color
and one quarried house
at the edge of the great swamp of snow.
If the tree between buildings breathed
Animosity among its leaves.
If skin color were different kinds of air.
If photosynthesis contracted itself
Through song. Why does the mudslide cover
That river and not the one nearby?
How does a fish breathe on land
And a human underwater?
In the exchange of gases, what is a tree?