The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2016

All Issues
SEPT 2016 Issue

from Artifice in the Calm Damages


There’s a Place for Everyone 

to Samita Sinha

The resting place mobilized for pearl making, the fortunate fall. 
We see fling in fact, the stone which the builders refused come to be
the petty tyrant who makes our life hell, the vehicle.  The cornerstone
pushes against the spot where the bodies fell.  Our semiautomatic
has to fix this, ring and reaction as reminder, the video of the choppy,
the way time like corn syrup is lived in our world.  A reminder
of whatever you were doing, reminders of our breath, of your own roar.
Helicopters and bombs bring you back to your true self, pushing
against the spot where you fell.  Repeat it, amplify it, develop it further. 
Hope it doesn’t happen again, feel guilty.  The cold and the humidity
goes out of tune, becomes lower in pi and pitch, becomes the bow’s weight. 
Detune the sub-basement even further, the harmonic blunder, abstract
color and pattern peppered with stories, other-worldly microscopic 
seeded by mistakes, the discovery of penicillin, the careless handling
of a photographic plate, an alchemical quark, unalterable peace.
Nutcase ahoy, going bonkers in blustery drizzle, a fistful of soggy aphids,
a worm returned to soil.  Go tell hell to hang up, go there to take an awful
beating.  Reserve sixty-thousand charming elevators, lose track of gravity,
run across my globe an amputated sycamore bled dry.  Trawl for leaves
feasibly optioned, be duplicitous at my beck and call.  Commiserate
with fleece too painfully for a century further than the next clipper. 
Give a soak watching a bunny, her chunky Gnostic rings owed money. 
Buy a comfortable place and lie low like herpes.  Evolve in microwaves.
Share if you are sure you have truth.  How can you share the grubby café,
a feisty stagger, the greyhound of language?  Restore pony breeders, an
addled brain in so-called melting-pots.  The dusty rectangle in the dome? 
Nose-holes with clinical depression chlorinating bed-wetting? 
Remember talking about something to establish something else.  Begin
to see in a kind of Picasso multitudes of people.









When We Were Children 

after Daughters of the Dust

What we no longer say, fresh and sweet like a baby’s breath
the pull-back the inconsequalitative nothing good could come from
knowing, broken Maya Deren lace and linen lord god my witness
when I leave this place, girls so silly, water and cut okra stuck
on foreheads gumbo water what force of the new the older one gets
the closer one gets to the ground.  Hands scarred blue from indigo dye,
bend down planted and hoeing in times of promises, the rich and
the poor, the powerful and the powerless, we the bridge they cross over,
the story going to come anytime we need change.  Old man grand-
daughter done come home, that shameless here-taker, mighty know-
how suckle in the air just for fun, come back for something no dead
crab meat, public chicken seed time of life, deeds we do mighty harvest
fell into the hands of the lord, who they out there no surprises here,
earth not belong to man, what Trump-kind of believe that is.  Family
sticks to the old ways.  As much as I like the fish, I don’t want to
drown in that water, aqua take me by the hand be dead a long time,
talk and write a letter, a glass of water come to me right on, real
backwater most desolate place on the earth, muddy waters the only
way for things to change people to keep moving, someone to
depend on just to know on the white sand, near the surf you’ll be
eaten soon like savages, haven’t had good food in a long time, a new
kind.  Common as the fish in the sea.  There’s enough uncertainty
in life, don’t tell something nothing, convince him, if you want to know
the wanderer was born dead, so beautiful uprooted dead.  Big
broken umbrella extendable love prevents sits down overhear
all the answer, strange and not the desire lots of luggage.  Moving into
a new day then damn everybody to hell. I’m an educated person.
I pray to the moon, I pray to the sun.









Last Night

to Julie Patton

Last night, 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered Emanuel AME
Church in Charleston South Carolina and asked to sit with Pastor
Clementa Pinckney, pulled up the horse a yard shy leaded thru
the scalp no time to mount cross bolts. That’s what I heard,
whole didn’t stop to shoot a tree for lumber, busted their falls bad.
Hushed with a handcart burnt black kindergarten euthanasia
five-star Taipei. Shrubs singing what a window was, kick boxed.
Your post grad grads are the worst, professors wipe their asses
babysitting genomed ears, a weaker growth in China. These guys
have “a lot of secular headwinds” mired in downtrend
head-n-shoulders. Sugar rush acquisitions. Latest and greatest
ultimate killing machine. Before this bond hearing conformism
can also destroy it, raised and trained and treated consumers.
Prepare an eating or drinking, procrastination to not-doing, the
allergies ego, its spiky, rotted bonfire door-banging alto bassoon.
Slaves, peasants, flagstones ignorance wealthy Buddha. We
as a nation, composers of the age, contradictions architects
perpetuated hate, an aquatint of marble towers, a crime the day
humanity shall have fulfilled its purpose. The demagogue
excused of that kingdom the honeymooned malady
rebuffed, burgled, everyone hurt, double-bladed, stroked,
encircled on the lookout bound for Switzerland five bottles
of wine to wear it. My ears flattered, protested, sentimental
injustice. Do something clumsy, indiscreet. This in not who
we are. This is who we are. The opening ritual becomes
everything we do and perceive. Say good-bye, walk out on
the stage, treat each solitary moral and anguish, the comedian’s
invocation, mediums hip and concentration. Begin to move.
Return the Chinese boxes; check the total system of requisite
variety. On earth, small arms never arrive at truth.









War of Life

We’ve fought for months to reform this broken system.  
But it’s unsettling all the same to learn that my employer is  
(may be) spying on my private expressive activities   
and expressive conduct. Have I completely misread what I think 
I’ve experienced? The crawling severed hand prevents their escape.
That's both weird and [offensive language] up. It’s impossible 
to be a poet. I’ll scan my passport and hope that suffices. Has
violence taken the place of measurement? Once you get in, you
can knock other people out? Don’t bite the bullet, the idea
behind the bullet, and become a contemptible snake. You don’t  
need a special day. You’re a liar. I always do my own editing,
locked in a room with no one to hear my words. They return 
from who knows where, they come back to me. They 
underlie emotions that undergird my belief in the heteronym,  
being profoundly antithetical to the history and mission
of literary institutions which proportion reservations less
heuristic than confrontational. The blood is equal to the money   
made. This is why facts are insufficient remedy for dislodging 
bullets from those who have weakly held positions. To get to
the Climate Change Museum art dealers and their associates
had to disappear. If there’s life on other planets, then 
the earth is the Universe’s insane asylum. I felt something 
was wrong the entire time, but I had possibly misread
the situation in its entirety. Someday, there will be something
that you just won’t be able to do again, like straighten up. 
You’ll say I’m never going to get over it.









Membership in the Masters of the Universe Club

“The really helpful things will not be done from the centre; they cannot  
be done by big organizations; but they can be done by the people 
themselves” (E.F. Schumacher). Assembly of the tiny pieces of wood  
and word demands untold patience. I am a tree everyone may embrace; 
I offer the whiteness of the snow on my limbs, the nut inside 
the dream you throw into your bed, in the disquiet of an idea; I make   
people footloose. Problems which have to be “lived” are only solved 
by death. One’s mind becomes a kind of machine for grinding collections  
of facts. Much that we expect to find, that is hard to explain, slips
through the net in a way that is hard to explain. What is known loses its 
autonomy for the sake of what it is known as. Our Intelligence Monitoring  
was among the email that won this year’s National lottery award which
was not claimed seriously. No one can write down a solution. Heightened 
societal exhibitions combating an apocalyptic army are not the unity of 
the essences. Membership in the Masters of the Universe Club depends on   
those who died already. “With the words going out like cells of a brain / 
with the cities growing over us like the earth,” being brave let’s no one 
off the grave. Earth is not a waiting room for souls. When poetic passages
are guaranteed safety, the market for poetry is shadier, dismantling
angelic communications of a secular form. The masters feel a completely
different kind of comfort. Something in the test-tube must be madness,  
something in the things, in the way of the force come out. Leaving the site 
of the dead, an unexpected breach sends Gerry back into the sky in search of  
patient zero. The unexpected emails, the namable made to work for love.
At the Universe Club the mudslide was hard. The fragility of the club 
and of its master’s mortal remains is very difficult to recover. It is bitter and  
sweet; it is given to a plenitude of further and divergent thoughts
that circulate to unpredictable effect.








Andrew Levy

Andrew Levy is the author most recently of Artifice in the Calm Damages (Chax Press), Don’t Forget to Breathe (Chax Press), and Nothing Is In Here (EOAGH Books). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous American and international anthologies, most recently, An Anthology of 60 Contemporary American Poets (Zasterle, Spain, 2017). Levy’s writing works on the intersections of class & the ecology of commerce, experimental music & media convergence, and the technologizing of freedom.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2016

All Issues