A Fistful of Poems from Brian Rihlmann

Punk Noir Magazine

Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Fearless, Heroin Love Songs, Chiron Review and The Main Street Rag. His latest poetry collection, “Night At My Throat,” (2020) was published by Pony One Dog Press

What The Fuck?

as I drift through the warehouse 
on a Monday 
putting a few things away
I hear the young men
talking about their weekends
and it’s what sports team
traded who 
and how they beat 
some new video game
and movies, TV shows…

they even talk 
about politics
for christsakes!

I want to ask
how are your lives really?
got a girlfriend?
get laid this weekend?

and then shake them
when they say no
and ask
what the fuck 
is wrong with you assholes?

there’s better ways
to murder time…

you should be out all night 
getting drunk
and chasing pussy

every fuck
or parking lot blowjob
should be “the one”
and your heart 
should wrestle with hers
and lose

you should show up on Monday
wearing your defeated souls
on your faces

but you guys
are smiling…

what the fuck?

Breaking On Through

my back has been fucked 

for about a week

and this morning it was

especially stiff

I tried leaning to the left 

and using my right hand as usual

but couldn’t quite reach…

I didn’t give up

because you’re never too old

to learn, right?

so I used my left hand instead

took about twice as many

sheets but I got it done 

after a lot of grunting and cursing 

of course then I looked

and there it was—

all over my middle finger

and beneath the nail

guess I’d really broken through

to the other side (so to speak) 

and as I washed my hands 

and the shitty water

swirled down the drain I thought—

what a lovely sneak peek 

at my so-called golden years


the poor gal who’s been saddled 

with the new trainee 

plops down a pan

caked with burnt scrambled eggs

and I look at it, ask—

How do you usually get this off?

Just soak it, or…?

However ya want! she yells 

over her shoulder

as she waddles off

returns a moment later

and bangs a pot of oatmeal

like hardened cement down

on the stainless steel sink

and I swear she’s grinning 

beneath that mask

because now she gets to 

pawn all the shit jobs off

on the Fucking New Guy

and who wouldn’t love that?