photo of man with lit candles attached to his head

Two Poems by Bernd Sauermann

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Blue Passage

If a sentence or a phrase causes friction, it is
because someone’s words are taut like oiled
leather. A blue – green stain fades like a bruise
while land speed records are shattered at
Bonneville. A rocking boat makes a boy cry
because he hasn’t yet learned to speak the
language of water. Bluer and bluer. Colder and
faster, the language of water washes over him.

Happy Birthday

A birthday wish sharp as the swish of a
swinging ax. A flood uncoils suddenly like a
snake. I light candle after candle and she blows
them gently out. Tell the wind that hot syllables
ooze like sweat from every pore. Tell the
neighbors I am three hot words on a birthday
girl’s tongue. Don’t read this. Don’t tread on

Bernd Sauermann teaches writing, literature, and film at Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He is the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, an online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature. His work is or will be published in The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets, McSweeney’s, Southern Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, The Kansas Quarterly Review of Literature, and many other publications. He has a chapbook entitled Diesel Generator (Horse Less Press 2013), and his first full-length collection, Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song, will be published in 2014 by Mad Hat Press.

Lead image“Happy Birthday Amanda!” (via Flickr user Bart)