Craig Brandis, 6/4/2018


Current occupation: writer, student
Former occupation: Craig Brandis has picked crops, been a mill worker, a cannery worker, a carpenter, a surveyor, a bus driver, an engineer, and a resident corporate mustapha.
Contact information: Craig Brandis lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon and studies poetry at the Attic in Portland with David Biespiel, Ed Skoog and Matthew Dickman. His goal is to become a working poet – with a small p. He believes that labor, the work of one's hands and heart, is sacred and you shouldn’t give it away to just anybody.  Poetry is culture work. At its best, it becomes insurgent art and a human call to arms. As William Carlos Williams pointed out, “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”  His work has been published in the Red River Review, New Verse News, Poetry Quarterly and elsewhere. You can find more of his poetry at



Hanford 1944

We found his body
in an oil drum behind the J&M tavern
left there like a roadkill deer
dressed in denim overalls

Hardly a week goes by here
somebody doesn’t die–
the work grinds all our skulls
as thin as wasp wings

We poured seven foot thick
concrete walls so remote controls
can poke the plutonium dragon
It won’t sleep now until we do

Still it is beautiful here
In between the mud
and the dust storms
and the war on the radio–
an angry cloud of hornets
storming through
a broken front screen door
we can’t ever fix now



I am hanging upside down 
from the seatbelt in my truck 
after drinking all night
and running off the road 
My daughter left home 
to live with a stoner in Mexico 
Comes back skinny & addicted 
wearing no bra, tits flapping in the breeze 

The doctor says my back is going 
& no more heavy lifting 
so I end up working the burn pile
But it’s okay, I still get a paycheck

I’m flopping around 
sucking for air
like the steelhead 
in the shallow stream 
my brother threw an axe at 
when we were kids 
but couldn’t hit 

& if I could just reach my knife
things would be okay
back to same shit
different day

& the sky looks like
runny pancake batter
& it’s growing 
fuzzy tin stars

& I can’t breathe
& my wife 
is going to kill me

if I haven’t 
saved her 
the trouble 

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