The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

All Issues
JUNE 2019 Issue


What happened to the sky
solar glare water bottle empty discarded boiling point
shock burnt vitrified the rocks
contact with each other ghosting the journey
contact with every other interpreting the sky

gauging the space between here and now while ever becomes increasingly daunting
understanding the dried out lake mirage a shimmery watery hallucination
threshold magnitudinal afterglow glistens on a horizon of planetary reverberation
political artifacts bones entrails
wrested from self
wrested indicates forcible seizing
what the body spirit can endure is demanded of children in tow
exodus all transitive children wrested parents wrested
trajectory from violence to violence
as pronounced in day as night

had to go strapless rudderless
fascia grips and pulls fleshy swaying undercurrent
erect at the eyelids, contemplating, opening the organs
possibly spinning in place for days
as seen from the International Space Station

to push through a cemented steel door inside
a terminal construed as metal star clustered material
physical barriers fabricated
from repurposed materials of racist, imperialist architectures:
the fencing of decommissioned Japanese concentration camps
later surplus helicopter landing mats salvaged
from the Vietnam War

a hellscape in place of sanctuary
imperative ultimatum emboldened silent infrastructures
built to reject human urgency necessity
can’t withstand the eye as it revolves storm’s dynamic center

a route to Imperium
only to be brutally subjected to incarceration and rejection
children torn away from parents
forced into separate lockdown facilities
Geo sends an invoice cashing in on confinement
vomiting blood
can’t speak between cells
violence is inflected in the logic of tracking down life
pronouncing an injunction
no fucking way is there to get from A to B with the big wall
dispossession pulling solid earth out from under one's’ feet
gravity place situated instantiation

along the monologic border
The pentatentries dot as if absolute
“If you look indigenous and you look Central American
they will stop you,” Rubin Garcia told The Dallas Morning News.
“They never ask why they are coming. They just say we can’t receive you.”
colonial-settlers brought the wall motif with them
paranoia to last millenia an accompanying shadow

though the Earth is everybody
and indigeneity is belonging
an ill-conceived cultural imperative to understand people who
lived somewhere continuously as foreign, immigrant, invader
a baffled crisis of awareness
in the form of reversal double negative identification
and the state of being in between
a dark river and how a settler colonist system can possibly figure
a nation state that excludes people who lived here before
during and after forms of denial crested in both rudimentary
and advanced modes of evasion encourage the thinking ambush

electrified numerical symbols course across borders
infinitesimally omnipresent double-edged puncture
nightmare from within nightmare
scary emphasize scare scared emphasize scary for the record
a national festival of fear some fear the others and the others
out of self-defense must fear others riddled with proof of ill intent
oh scary scary, oh disconcerted shame
all fauna and flora at mercy, unworlded numbers numbing

the wall senses touch
tells of an approach from miles away
will kill from its exterior send out death
in the form of machine gun and grenade fire
enhanced connectivity between Automated Biometric Identification System
and the Automated Fingerprint databases
House Resolutions 4437 to further militarize the membrane criminalize
as felons undocumented migrants and anyone assisting

the dome of nationhood is panicked emporium all is for sale
safety is auctioned at the highest cost
commoditized colonized infrastructural mobility labeled
bloodied on conquest hierarchical matrix mattress
where sense makes none of non definitive systemization
outside walled restrictively: apartheid
dam no dam from the zenith as lightning
stockade an historical choice is a favored neighborly
strategy of symmetry for each cluster of nuclear sociality
harsh as a fence is harsh a reservation entails being surrounded by
the oppressor on all sides

nonstop recording data of sentient forms
creator of the labyrinth and his sons
at one point they too had to flee flown
spreadsheet calculus diminishes down to limited caloric intake
forsaken that son hubris flew close to merging infernos
the daughter had to abandon her line
said she’s preoccupied mining the gloss world commerce
others gathered in a strewn mono field of aluminum
should we tend what others hate
rhetorical snowdrift cascades into no glaciers
methane burp colossal
the plural relations in an aluminum garden
the aluminum phoenix
the aluminum urn with spiky grasses
the aluminum peacock
the aluminum knight in shining armor with oriflamme
the flora is aluminum and reflects the burn of solastalgia
the pollinators are missing the worms are missing
accounting for loss
is a hardship of grief
the young person wanders through the diorama of aluminum objects
adorable trusting in the moment of passage
the world is shiny and alive and we are together as anonymous relatives
seeing within gleaming skulls is a difficulty
what can the aluminum armadillo signify
as she presses her paws against the pedestal of fencing flashing signals
black highways of crude cut through sacred spaces
light sweet light sour medium heavy sweet heavy sour
4.4 billion cubic feet of oil passed through cross border
pipelines in the first 5 months of 2018

a witness isn’t always a stable character
we don’t know if each witness is the same person
their identity is obscured
their flesh was made out of our flesh
which is to say we are each other
until the superdome colonial
gatekeepers change the color code
a blinking light goes off and
throws us-them-we under the bus
under the hurling amplitude
into a lasting inferno
a desertification strategy
of geoengineering
so that what they-we-us
stole doesn’t look so bold
a national anthem
absorbative spat out network
to take as regal fortiture
on webcams no less

they are notable for what they know
what they observe not who they are

the brute and his hegemony of hired
henchmen brutalize with ICE
military and industry fortified the wall
here, here, whether
the wall was made made
mad mad flesh
John of dawn gathered
can’t tell your assets
from a cheat-
o cheater fraudulent petulant
reproducing violent outcomes
reproducing hate fear hate
reproducing racist violence
reproducing violent racism
hate and fear mongering
hate flags flutter give way to hate flags flutter
hater mowed down the anti racist protesters
consumed by hate disabled by hate
pump the hate into airtight canisters
weaponize digest and assimilate
the story that was told wasn’t fact checked
mimic the headless hunter
in the sky the headless hunter, Orion
at the celestial equator of Turtle Island
three stars at the midriff: mule deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep
are the spine of bison

weathering worse than terrible wet bulb condition
the air smells of mountain
deer descending the canyon ridge
hurrying toward
iron rods and steel sweat close to swift geo-
engineering flooding, heat typhoon
jetstream sluggish volition
when the center of the eye reaches land
operate the guise of history
“During the 1930’s and into the 1940’s raids took place
in workplaces and public spaces a campaign of mass expulsion
2 million Mexican-Americans and Mexicans were deported or expelled
from cities and towns across the U.S. and shipped to Mexico”
mirror image return severally along a set of points in the historical context

what want of the wall why we are walled in walled out by exceptional architects
the artificial black snake is given precedence
the artificial globalized snake carrying the remains
of ancestry flora and fauna of millenia drilling for combustible souls
telluric secrets fan out fawn frequented roam release
run away clear out broadly as day in the path of daylight
starlight shadowed tint as night approaches on foot
forests are retreating animals are relocating
die-off extinction brink swerve on fire underwater
cracking of the remaining arctic ice cyclonic epigene
a dangerous super typhoon rapidly strengthening recurvature
camouflage spine under cortex covering the planet
outnumbered, outsourced, outmoded
pulls the country out from under
our feet the solid earth gravity place
the big wall deep state room exhume fume
the blood brain barrier is being breached

no way will the wind adhere to border law
water will flow through crevices
flora will dig deeply with tangled roots
sand will blow the expanse heads will pound sand sand will pound steel
stage a coup with watery heavenly fire
stage a coup with the radiant sun
the vast powerful weather heart tree heart soil
human and other than human persons find the wall
a detriment to existence
find a way to erode the wall as quickly as it is built

The Pallysadoe was a fence system erected in the 1700s by colonial settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts to keep Native Americans and wolves out of “their settlements” and to restrain livestock..

Rubin Garcia quote:

Information related to salvaged material from Japanese concentration camps in the US and the Vietnam War to build the border wall: Kelly Lytle Hernández, Migra!, University of California Press, 2010.


Brenda Iijima

Brenda Iijima's involvements occur at the intersections and mutations of poetry, research movement, visual arts, floral and faunal studies and ecological sociology. Her current work focuses on missing persons and submerged histories, extinction and other-than-human modes of expression. A developing project involves choreography and vocalization centered on Fort Massachusetts, in her hometown of North Adams, Massachusetts. She is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry and numerous chapbooks and artist's books. Her most recent book, Remembering Animals was published by Nightboat Books in 2016. She is also the editor of the eco language reader (Nightboat Books and PP@YYL). Iijima is the editor of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, located in Brooklyn, NY (


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

All Issues