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Are You There? Are We?

The people who have contributed to this section are people who make me feel an abundance and openness of speech. Who the you and we are is always in flux, sometimes combustion. What I do believe is that poetry finds more particularly and timelessly its power the more variable and multi-vocal and disobedient it becomes.


The "about to happen" / "poetry as forces" when Cecilia Vicuña says that the lies (the words, the language) of the Chilean dictatorship murdered & tortured thousands of people I remember the power of the word & i remember the power of poetry—"made of forces"—that holds something in the action of language


Performing poetry invokes community; I no longer enjoy reading my work solo because something else happens when poems are collectively performed.

IX. What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a grievance in the marketplace / One of the most debilitating functions of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram / Is their ability to solidify the bounds of discussions efficiently and ruthlessly / Before they can be interrogated in any meaningful way

Diversity or Blaxsploitation

When I teach students writing or when I go around to visit schools as a poet and performer, I often ask students to look around the room and to imagine being able to read and access literature as diverse as the people in the room. I ask them to imagine stories from every different background, continent, experience, age, gender, race, and class.

Who Is the You

I have a lump in my throat I have a frog in my throat I am at my own throat let me clear my throat let me jump down my throat to see what’s inside…

The Purloined Lyric

The epistolary is an elaborate ruse. I write in the second person, but even if I pose you very interesting questions I'm indulging an excuse to talk about myself—maybe in the anticipation that you care about what I have to say, certain in my knowledge that if you don't I'll get away with it first.

Looking through Both Ends of the Telescope

If there is a "you" at the other end of a poem, the poem is a telescope I'm too afraid to look through. Each poem pointing in a different direction, varying focuses, different depths of zoom.

Addressable Thou

Hi! I know I probably don't deserve it but I am asking you to give me things. Can you please do it for me? Get back to me as soon as you can. ASAP. Whenever it's convenient. At your leisure. Please respond.

Four Sonnets on Audience

Are you there? I’m writing with more detail concerning our relationship.


RHETORICAL POSITIONING OF YOURSELF what kind of writer are you? Maxe told me: you love language for the same reason you love people

writ | рыт

On the floor of tiny store front in Park Slope that sells bottled breast oil and loose feathers, I surrendered to breath pattern Bones gave—rhythmic ritual, like giving birth.

On Beyond

I began to write my novel Two Augusts In a Row In a Row in 2003. I found my difficulty with pronouns for gender-non-conforming Phillip/Philomena was eradicated with first person POV.

They Don’t Want Us to Feel

The mind’s wet paint. Your ears tingle with knowing. Your scalp—it comes alive. The transfer is complete.


The question of any you that emerges as you draw language out of you can only be partially answered by the writing itself.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2019

All Issues