The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues
MAY 2018 Issue





Every now and then

wind works my ear

such wars I get to be

smash into my face

a cross-eyed

hummingbird, drunk

on busy-wingéd chaos

all up in my shit

all else is sleepless books

and reams to haunt

and pinhole cameras

for utter sky companionship

when I get fired up

all is permitted them

so unkillable, a sweep of tules

on dawn patrol

details at war with form





Sand winds

smoke coming off of piles

the region secretes another

Desert Lakes Golf Community

proving the unseen

haven amused and exploding

blue-green askance, slope-up,

fan to foothill

do I want to get mixed-up

in this country's facts

some of its gods

cloud islands, skies in which

our grief has not yet started

and it's a good thing, too

surrounded on all sides by wind

graceful, illiterate






                         The plastic cup gently touched

            the ground but do not

                         feel too destroyed about it

some light touched the knuckles on your right hand when

                     the sun sliced the fog like that


                        you won’t care

            that things had been

               so touchable and alive--

                  read that like it’s nothing

                        go somewhere else to learn

            one of us is always

                         trying to touch plants

            gravestone rubbing supplies

                                    bony ridges underneath

the you that likes wind

                      they avoid that one because of wisdom

                      and they look good doing it

                       touched in mind and forehead

I rise to the occasion: a shame and a freedom pop out together

                                                  unerring, like the touch of desert air conditioning

                                     the thought was fairly earth-colored

   in one dizzying encounter,

a particularly violent young amateur         

            touched the curve in my upper life

                                    his finger

                                                Dear sir/madam, mistook me

                                                right there where the tooth touches the inside of the cheek

              and a jewel touched the rim of the blue-white hollow in his neck.

                                                                                                 Uh, yeah...Perfect amber.

                                   typically, arms are raised to the sun

                                   in a posture of joy and worship

                                  ~some light touches you in your chest.

                                                          Get back in touch with your part in the ongoing grass.


                                              The trick is how not to lose your wits (etc.) to history

it was a miracle

he won’t feel that way when he’s young anymore


                                                             or or dread

                                                             or or a humor brushed-up against

                                   it was so normal   

                                   to feel a slow kind of

                                                           ‘being within’

                                                           or ‘hanging around’

                                                                                    that coarse lightness came

                                                                                    from the way she worked~~~~

                                                                                    “all this every day”

myself I need

to further

silence —

it has always been the wrong war

                                   mothers curse us, curse sons

                                   too innocent of our work to know how to be cursed by it

complain of too much howling

outside the outside

            very late last night

one splutters about, knowing only the lover’s complaint--

                                      it all started with those high weeds that leaned over

                          touched the trunk of that oak

                          again and again from that day forward





An old and inedible bun

California buckeye

some annual grasses

knee high in cow parsnip

caked earth, she was just laughing

a tick engraves

the inside of my cuff

with its sword-like thingy

after a good while, she pulled

her foot from my breast

pocket at last and

we sat on the little

blanket from Oahu.

Seen and written

it's just enrichment

heard and tasted

tempered on the tongue

cheap and unrepeated

and old and unrepeatable

more of a fire color’s

relentless shape:

swarms are her gestures

so gnat clouds waft on by

I see her face in that drought year

this afternoon like that afternoon

or an X Ray of an iris

held up to the sun

but more beige.



Jared Stanley

Jared Stanley's most recent book is EARS (Nightboat, 2017). Forthcoming projects include Ignore the Cries of Empty Stones and Your Flesh Will Break Out in Scavengers, an essay and artwork, Terma, a collaboration with the artist Sameer Farooq, and Bewildernessless, an artist's book. He lives in Reno, Nevada.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues