Brian Fanelli

Praise Poem for After the Storm


Praise be the purple-headed tulip for still standing

after downpours battered its petals.

Praise be the house for still standing

after wind gusts lashed its yellow vinyl siding.

Praise be teenagers for roaming streets, laughing,

swinging their arms after rain slowed to a drizzle.

Praise be rum for loosening our lips,

making us remember why we love each other.

Praise be our cat for perching on windowsills

next morning, clicking her tongue at birds.

Praise be the birds for never settling on one branch,

traveling so far with little wings.

Praise be the blue of sky that always comes

once the mass of gray moves out.


Punk Goes Acoustic


Against Chuck Ragan’s rasp,

I hold you, sway back and forth,

bump into tattooed listeners that lean in,

await the next fist-pumping lyric.

For a moment, the performer clenches his eyes shut,

and so do we, attuned to his rust-belt blues,

before the chorus erupts, explodes to a wail—

Old diesel, please take me home,

his howls powerful like thunder cracks.

We clap and sing along until our throats throb,

trying to shake the walls like a wind storm,

make the beer-drenched floor quake.

His hand down strums, pounds strings like heavy rain

in rhythm with his boot stomps,

until the final note, the audience’s roar for an encore,

which he fulfills, banging away for two more tracks.

Then we stream to the exit, emerge into night, our hair

matted, our clothes sweat-soaked  as we suck down cool air.



Brian Fanelli‘s most recent poetry collection is Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the 2017 Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize. Three of his grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Italy, and he grew up eating homemade Italian food every Sunday. Brian‘s writing has been published in The Los Angeles Times, World Literature TodayMain Street Rag, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere. He is the co-editor of the anthology Down the Dog Hole: 11 Poets on Northeastern Pennsylvania (Nightshade Press), and he writes reviews for 4squarereview. He blogs about film, literature, and politics at Currently, he teaches at Lackawanna College and has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University and a Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton University.