The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues
MAR 2017 Issue

Released From Within the Turned Up Cultures


Released from within the turned up cultures
A toxin spreads through the body politic

Causing the imagination to cease to propagate
The imagination of even its barest condition.

Doomsday ads and hooligan optimism
Clog up the intersections and malls.

It is we who interrupt the progress, by “we”
I mean all these unaccounted-for graffiti and flyers.

So many suns the significant sun
Is lost in the glare

And where its torrent of light falls
Remains a mystery to you

And the whole of your Nation.
Fact blushes as crimson as fate.

Those of us who are present must not
Be afraid of the real and potential sorrows …

She’s seriously ill,
The parents know it now and

All quasi-certitudes about the future
Must be postponed.

A pillow for the head
Comes to represent

The apex of culture…
And its nadir.

Near a fir that glints
In a moment’s sun

A strange animal is sighted
Dying into air.

And a ladder that relies
Largely on feel

When it comes to the question of 
Where it should extend itself…

Each rung brightly beckoning
Once the decision is taken….

Seasonal rhythms obscure
The mineral joy of rushing water whatever season

Trackless waste of a world without consent
Consenting again to the kinetic.

Or the mind is
The most cosmopolitan region

Of the body
Except at the University of the Oblivious

Where Time’s mask slips from off the face
Revealing an idiot grin

Biting down exactly on its own
Aspirations, self-esteem.

Your life weeps inside you for the falling rain.
A hermetic sack hardly seems credible.

“You will excuse my calling so late”, she begins.
But her mind has atrophied, she says nothing further.

Social order sickened by a self-identification
That abandons all hope of its largest organ:

 The skin, in shine, not in shine, in shine again,
Abed in reds and blues of our violent action.



Leonard Schwartz

Leonard Schwartz's most recent book is The New Babel: Towards a Poetics of the Mid-East Crises (University of Arkansas Press). His Salamander: a Bestiary, with woodcut prints by Simon Carr, comes out this spring with Chax Press.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues