The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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APRIL 2020 Issue


In Rigor and Yet

how do I entangle my dismemberments
the richly detailed confusions I embody
in rigor and yet

maybe respect is harnessed by tyranny
the self-aware protagonist
inched by frame

notepad as digital implosion
how do I form thumbs
to catch flames enslaved

in lines from other prayers
that embered memory
creeping the active same

the restless times I conjure
tuned into a fragility that I can’t imagine
aligns with mine

matters of release
have nothing to do with what we have
but what we move through

choose a word
that you think moves you
define anything but here

Tango Rotro Upsilon Memphis Pump

I’m a good one        > Tango
I’m a good one        > Rotro
I’m a good one        > Memphis
I’m a good one        > Pump
Mommy knows me       > Tango
Daddy knows me         > Rotro
Make them happy        > Upsilon
Make them happy        > Pump
Say you’re sorry         > Tango
Say you’re sorry         > Rotro
Take the high road       > Memphis
Take the low road         > Pump
Make them happy        > Tango
Make them happy        > Rotro
Get the cherry        > Upsilon
Make them happy        > Pump
I'm a doer          > Tango
I'm a doer          > Rotro
I'm a doer          > Memphis
I'm a doer          > Pump
Clean the bathroom        > Tango
Clean the bedroom       > Rotro
Clean the baby        > Upsilon
Clean the country         > Pump
Not a loser           > Tango
Not a loser           > Rotro
Not a loser           > Memphis
Not a loser           > Pump
See the Daddy         > Tango
See the Mommy        > Rotro
See the dentist        > Upsilon
See the donkey           > Pump
Make a you turn        > Tango
Make a you turn        > Rotro
To the me turn         > Memphis
To the me turn         > Pump
To the me            > Tango
To the me            > Rotro
To the me            > Upsilon
To the me            > Pump
To the left           > Tango
To the left           > Rotro
To the left           > Memphis
To the left           > Pump
Seek right          > Tango
Seek right          > Rotro
Seek right          > Upsilon
Seek right          > Pump
Unify them           > Tango
Unify them           > Rotro
Unify them           > Memphis
Unify them           > Pump
Uni-fry them            > Tango
Uni-fry them            > Rotro
Uni-fry them            > Upsilon
Uni-fry them            > Pump
Spray the masses         > Tango
Spray them asses         > Rotro
Pray the masses          > Memphis
Pray them asses          > Pump
To the alpha            > Tango
The omega             > Rotro
To the maker            > Upsilon
The eraser               > Pump
I'm a selfie             > Tango
You're a selfie             > Rotro
I’m a bestie            > Memphis
You're a bestie           > Pump
Mommy knows me       > Tango
Daddy knows me          > Rotro
Say you’re sorry          > Upsilon
Make them happy        > Pump

Mad Dementia in Little Italy

8 Chinamen  Walk into an Italian restaurant  Nonna Grandmamá its name
8 Chinese Grandmothers  And one Italian Man  Walk to their table
                        To the table that seats them
8 Beast Feeders  Walk into an Italian Grandmother  Grandmamá Mamán
8 Chinese Breast Walkers  Walk into a marble bust
             Ivory capuchine fatigues
             Please sir for today the special
8 Bull Walkers  Storm a village  Running with stationary policemen
                 Pamplona’s money shot
                 To choke on voyeurs
                 Thrown into the lion’s mouth
                 A tourist in a coal mine
                 Villagers of social contortion
                 Against the quiet wave
8 Cautionary Vibrators  Set on stun
8 Facial Distortionists  Prepared for silent protest
            In togas of old world morality  Walk into an Italian tourist trap
                            Little is not a country
                            But a neighborhood
                            Disguised as a nation
                            In a size to soften the blows
                            Of ethnic cleansing
8 Mountain Goats  Walk into an Italian restaurant  Grandmamamámamamamamá
                          How is please sir everything
                          Terrific thank you
            Master Waiter praises descent on his enemies
            While returning to the kitchen
            Glancing at the cloven despair
            Of dark alley day jobs
8 Godless Pharaohs  Commit afternoon faux pas in a Chinese bar
            The continent rubik’d
            In a game of lunch specials
            For demagogues and gangster chefs
8 Saint Gennaros  Walk into a street fair  One town over from China  NoNo

                                  its name
8 Italian Grandmothers  Will steam your shirt
            All subtlety and dashiki entendre
            Left intact
8 freshly unwrapped Italian implants  Walk into a Chinese business meeting
                   Ready for slaughter
                   Lasagna Bolgnese and Peking Duck
                   On one plate
8 Mouth Feeders  Will get the check
          If you spread your dime
          In a restaurant
          That knows your name

William Carlos Williams Enters the Conversation

the ball  no question
makes  of mark the ball
no question  makes
of mark


Edwin Torres

Edwin Torres is a NYC native and editor of The Body In Language: An Anthology (Counterpath Press). His books of poetry include; Quanundrum: i will be your many angled thing (Roof Books) which received a 2022 American Book Award, Xoeteox: the collected word object (Wave Books), and Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press). Anthologies include; New Weathers: Poetics from the Naropa Archives, The Difference Is Spreading: 50 Contemporary Poets on Fifty Poems, and Poets In The 21st Century: Poetics of Social Engagement. He is currently hovering the zeitgeist, occasionally unearthed in Beacon, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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