Me And Jonah 

at Rock Park two teenage girls

come walking down the river path

and glance through my car’s windshield

at the precise moment I am

digging for a stubborn booger

that’s been driving me crazy

all morning

they say Ewww!

and laugh

and keep walking

in their perfect



and I smile

at their round asses

wobbling around the bend


they should laugh, you know?

and it’s ok—

I deserve it sometimes


I deserve it often


downstream a man in hip waders

fly fishes

whipping his line

back and forth gracefully

snakelike into shadowed pools

every summer I see them

the fly fishermen

looking so serene

godlike, even

and I think—

I oughta try that

then suddenly

it’s winter


and I have failed

at something else

thin ice creeps

along the bank

under shivering



I watch him awhile

the artistry of his casting

the perfection of it

and then I think—

wouldn’t it be something

if a great albino whale

rose up from the depths

and swallowed you whole

you motherfucker


Bob Earll in an AA talk said—

intimacy is me being me

and letting you see me


it’s not a bad definition

and everyone says

they want intimacy, yet..

when they get it....

I mean really get it

they’ll also be the first to say—

Maybe you should leave 



sorry if I like a finger up my ass

now and then

sorry that I got whiskey dick

and couldn’t fuck you

like the stud of your dreams

sorry if I feel

inadequate sometimes

sorry if the weight of my bad decisions

my arrested adolescence

and my loser existence

gets to me

when the collective’s judgement

crashes in

like a tsunami of puke

sorry if I occasionally rage

then sob

you ask why I hide

why I sneak around



what a stupid



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.