The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues
MAR 2017 Issue



The Corner


People ascend the corner. They achieve it, and there display their sundry achievement, taking the turn to look at one another, in agreement perhaps, disdain, or simple interest. They see the future there, for an instant, and it carries them, though it instantly dissolves. The tedious surge of work, or painful thought of fun five days hence, brings their bones fatigue. When finally they leave the corner, it is with a deeper understanding.









Lou Reed 2


The limits one is inside 
Of, I thought there would
Be none, for him there
Were, but for me there
Were, maybe smarter to
Give up, but that's impossible
With others, with self one

For Lou, I love the
Street, it's my place to
Awake, and there is body
Delicate clothing choice and chance
To make it new each
Day, a chance, he said
A breath gulped, devour love
At any interval, bequeath love

Standing near the corner, watching
The people pass, my people
Your people, Lou, not underground
Now, but up, up here
Where everyone has a chance
Today's a new day, see
It, procure ways into connection
Waiting for my living dream










Lou Reed 3


A smashing of glass, weighing
Of elevators, pulse remitting cloth
For poetry abounds in uselessness
Pigeons flutter in light, dull
Haze projects squeal, buzz of
Work, steady walk, ripped edges
Cat await smashed slab, dig
Backyard, what would you call that?

Hole, entrance, back window, forgotten
Corner now project, and come
To end, construction vast, but
Not guitar, not sound of note,
Voice contour to delicacy harsh
Present, synch impossible pitch whip
Down at my ballast, platform
Long incline the price clarity

Wired as music slow as
Poetry, back to the road
Avenue alerts that walking beauty
Can exist, overcome falsity, what
Do you believe, write in
That delivery, of goods, anxious
Claim to receive, no, obtain
Thought to be given away











Lou Reed 5


When Friday comes around there
Is work on the sidewalk
When I start picking phrases
Off the floor alert to
Music in Friday's light I
Have to make it, sound 
And it is alright whether
In back or front pausing

You are stretching away and
Fame twists on a branch
They had not that but
Had their own, but all
Had music, but few had
Poetry, anyway, who knows, you 
Must project yourself into a
Day, if that's a culture 

Too, so be it, if
Not, so be that, but
See that what you do
Is something, a shot that
Blows your day, now
That I got you happy
The human ring is holy
Street people we all are 









Lou Reed 6


It's all fantasy they make
Their gamble on, she gives
Of herself, like the poet
Submerged in floss, today's a
Holiday, how come we don't
Get it off, how come they
Stop, no encore, but they
Played enough, we're almost deaf 

Morning, brightness blinds cold swell
Emotion through wavers sink porthole
Even to ascend the stage
Inflict bliss endearing plinth lost
Sound infected seam to inseam
Blur headwind leverage press amass 
High-heel languor hang throb heavy
Lift hushed wave brittle coast 

On the closet inspection bewildered
Rock was wrench put to
Groin full impact crushing ache
Mordant sing arrest known portal
Playable night phantom pattern tribe
Eluct in echo contract style
Again and again same sound
Slight difference finds bells jackhammer 









Near the Corner


Near the corner, not in the middle of the block, is where the action coalesces, to be of street culture is not necessarily on the street. It all begins here, and you can see far and wide, people different ages walking to work, an older man looks up, a younger man strolls his baby, a crazy, aggressive, guy, stating, to any who'll listen, "I'm going to end the Mafia! In three years it will not exist. Because it stinks!" He's carrying a pillow under his arm and seems well-meaning, he's not offensive, but something went wrong somewhere. He needs help, more than a coffee and a kind word.









The Smell of Someone Else’s Sandwich


The smell of someone else's sandwich, while annoying, is not enough to force one to get up from the metal table at which one is seated, in the wide, open, leaf-covered, space in front of the library, to move to another location. And in fact, one remembers the pact one made with oneself: to look at each person one sees and imagine giving that person a hug. You look at the young guy now, who has finished his sandwich, feel his aloneness, even if he himself does not feel it. He's on his phone, drinking a Sprite with a straw from a bright green can, and you give him a hug.







Vincent Katz

Vincent Katz is a poet and translator whose most recent book of poetry is Broadway for Paul.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues