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five poems

brett a. maddux is a poet from hartford & the creator of the instagram series @dinersofconnecticut. his first collection of poems, regent (Silk House Publishing,) was released in 2016. regent was written in diners, in conversations with friends about love & death & happiness & sadness & fear & joy & sex & religion & loneliness & attention & art, in the year after his mother died. here are five poems from his latest release blackbird, 4pm, a book of poems which can be purchased at

Written & Photographed by
brett a. maddux

retail, 8am

new fear tuesday morning miracle calling in my bets on all the horses never placed & I am due a minor fortune to carry me back through the streets of my childhood babysitter crippled middle school librarian yellow hardcover first nipple I ever saw mormon grocers elegant nurses putting their fingers in my third grade asshole a man once said I'd never amount to anything more than my mother grinding her teeth away every night hospital visitations miniature smiles & if I ever make it out of this town alive long odds two bits on the smallest colt

​ if not all the way

at least half

what comes next

is anticlimax

the god of

meager losses

the last photograph

remaining of eyes

early morning


cigarette lips

in winter hair

still messy

from sex

under blankets

bloody knee

concrete congregation

if it ain't holy

at least it's painful

& they don't say

it that way

now do they

they don't pray

for arthritic housemaids

low wage department store

cash register clerks

taking the piss

out of mega church

pastor porcelain

coupons housewives

can I talk to

your manager

her heart still

beating beneath

her apron

hi my name is


can I

help you

yes mother

I still

love you

what comes next

is revelation




wrist brace

back ache medication

some paul harvey


on your childhood

radio station

every song

sounds like


that is her


in the cobwebs

that is her


in the attic

those are her

teeth turned

into dust

that is her


that calls

the cat in

lungs, 11am

​so much harder

to look it

in the eye

when it is smiling

back patting good old boys

bellies bleeding battery acid

to take the bark off trees

so much harder

to say sorry

if you never

really mean it

online shopping sibling coffins

a good deal if you can get it

free shipping lungs filling

I hear misery

don't come


so much


to drink

my sister's


when she dies


& preventably


keep the noise down

daddy is watching

his shows

in this one

all my devils

dress business casual

shake hands

with wise men

& naked angels

in this one

mother draws a bath

& I wash her hair

while she opens

her veins

in lukewarm water

in this one

I tell you my name

but you do not hear it

in this one

I have coins enough

to pay off

those barking dogs

bounty what my soul

is worth bound to

drain her bathwater

drown me if I

get too close