On the Dangers of Re-entry

on my long list
is the “borderline” thing—
it is said
that there are few male versions
of the species
(my experiences in group therapy
can attest to this)

maybe most are locked up—
a fate I’m not sure
how I managed to avoid
for more than a couple of nights
in drunk tanks…

one hallmark of the malady
is a lack of self—
of a sense of self
of “this is ME!”
“this is who I am!”

I remember a blind date
years ago
where a young woman asked
“So….who are you?”
and seemed puzzled
when I couldn’t answer

it’s tough to know
who I am
mostly it’s others
who let you know—
through subtle
and silent wars of attrition
waged by avoidance
by proxy or omission
by shape of eye, set of jaw
by whispers or laughter overheard

which is why I mostly
cloister myself
and, in solitude,
build a “Me” I can stand

it vaporizes
quickly as a dream
upon re-entry into the herd
but what can you do?


Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada.  He has been published in Blognostics, Red Eft Review, Spillwords, Synchronized Chaos, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others.