A Grumpy Guy by Brian Rihlmann


i sat at my work desk today
headphones in
listening to your story

and several times
had to quit typing
to wipe my eyes
and shiver

as i thought about it
you grew larger
while i shrank

why couldn’t i have had
your horrors
and your abuse?

your better reasons
for madness?

i need a more valid excuse
for punching holes in walls
for screaming
and chasing people in traffic
for falling to pieces
over a messy house
or a sink full of dishes

more than a diagnosis
most perceive
as simple weakness
an “attitude problem”
a farce
or dramatic streak

(“his parents should have
beaten him more”)

to the world
that sees the surface
i’m just an asshole
or a grumpy guy

that ties me up
in a neat bow
and they go on
with their lives

while i wriggle

against the straitjacket
of their strutting certainty



©2019 Brian Rihlmann


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Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.


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