The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2022

All Issues
JUNE 2022 Issue



This one slides through sky -- not
across, but through -- slide
moving, slicing through,
reminding that sky is
membrane, delicate,

thin, membrane that can be
wounded by sound, and healed
by sound, sound closest to
the human voice.  Berlioz:
from religious accent, calm
and imposing ...
to wild clamours of

the orgy.         
Bruges, trombonist as a
he-goat.  That
gliding sweep around
the D & H tracks.  Cappy --
brakeman, union guy who voted
all five times for Debs, trombonist

with his small-town band -- on top
of a boxcar.                  
All those
angel-trombonists birthed
during the Renaissance. 
Richard Strauss: never look
at the trombone section; that
only encourages them. 

Payment record, Hildesheim,
1428: to the new
trombonist and bombard
player, for drink money. 

Locomotive heads into
the straightaway; engineer
glimpses Cappy’s body

dropping into the deep,
right gulch.               
all 76 are placed side
by side in just one
line, indignities will
occur: bruised necks; knocked off
1535, Nuremberg.  Albrecht

Glockenton the Younger inserts
a trombonist into his
miniature Job, His Wife, and Two
.   Much amiss in
this painting.  Four side panels.  In one,
a Renaissance priest has just
stepped outside the church, perhaps

a house; a little skeleton
precedes him.  In the
panel below, a gaunt man on
his deathbed; the mourners all
turn away; a woman
in the foreground laughs; a
boy, perhaps a skeleton, climbs

out the rear window.  Bottom right,
two men lift a body in
a winding sheet; in the background,
a packed charnel house.   Final
panel, a blindfolded woman
leads a procession of robed and
hooded acolytes.

A handcar dispatched
back to retrieve the corpse; but
a mile away from the accident,
Cappy walks toward the next
station.   He’d landed on
his feet, and lives 50
more years.

Saqueboute perhaps
derives from saquer, to draw
out, as a sword from its scabbard.
Just as he comes through the arch,
instruments make great
rejoicing.  Sackbuts and others
make such a din that if

a bird happens to fly
past, they make it fall from
the sky into the crowd.
Urbino, Castiglione’s
joke:   A Brescian in Venice, sees
a trombone and inquires how
the tubing can fit down the

human throat, as the slide
retracts from seventh to first
1561, Spain and Mexico,
Philip II’s order: Because of
the cost of maintaining the present
excessive number of instrumentalists
who consume their time playing
trumpets, sackbuts, and other kinds

of instruments, and because
very many of those reared simply
to sing and play on instruments
soon become lazy scoundrels, we
require a reduction in the
number of Indians who are now
permitted to occupy themselves

as musicians.        
the center of the painting, Job
covered in sores, sitting in the
mire or perhaps a patch
of ashes and holding his cupped
hands before him, his head slightly
inclined, so he stares just above

the heads of the three
persons nearby: his wife, arrayed
in 16th Century finery, her mouth
open as she looks down at
her man, and two musicians, a shawm
player, eyes closed, and a
trombonist gazing at Job.  Background,

several clean, modest German
buildings, a small group of
citizens observing the scene
of suffering, or perhaps
We shall all be changed, in
a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye, at the last

trombone; for it shall sound, and
sound, and the dead shall be
raised incorruptible.

But Job’s wife?  What
does she say to her husband?  Or
does she sing along with the
instruments?  Why a trombone?  Is

this a song of solace?  Or is this
when she recommends that Job curse
God and die, with musical
accompaniment?  Or does she
make that O with her
mouth because
she foresees having

to bear another seven
sons and three
daughters as part
of Job’s
restoration?  And what
does Job think?  Job,
the only

who seems to understand.      
his end, hospitalized,
Cappy sees a line of seven red
lights, one beyond
the other, sliding
off into night.


Along a two-mile
stretch it appears, slowly at
first -- barns, fields, houses, lawns at each
end -- then more quickly -- stores,
diners, offices meeting
at the center.   Along the

entire line, a tension, a slight
and constant tugging, the whole
enterprise seeking to end
itself, to give itself back.
Everyone has cut
down their trees.  But not me, I
couldn’t do it.                          

And people,
moving in the meadows, yards, in

and out of door frames.  This one
passes the pharmacy
window but turns back to
view the new display, a
photo of the bearded ones,
the town fathers.  Half
of them or so identified,
great grandfathers or great

uncles of the very old or
recent dead.                                                 
Through the long night’s
inferno, the valley turns
to ash, and not even the dead
will sleep here.
Reservoir, completed
1951: Eureka,
Lackawack, Montela

flooded.   Nerversink Reservoir,
1953: Neversink,
Bittersweet submerged.         
father, two little
sons, sit on the shore, watch
the luck of a nearby
fisherman.  He casts, squats, then
tilts his head level

with the water.   He must
see the filmy flash of each
trout right before he
jerks his line and fights it
in.   Seven.  Eight.  Just
while the three of them
look on.   The father
wonders if the other man

can also glimpse a church
spire, still-standing wall, round
silo roof.                                      
Public Meeting at
DEP Police 2nd
Precinct.  This is a great chance
for County residents to
become more familiar
with our mission and our

people.  At the same time, we
welcome the opportunity
to learn more about
the concerns of local
residents and ways that we can
serve them better.  There is no
overriding agenda for
the meeting.

On each side of
Main, a parallel -- railroad
tracks and river, each tugging
with tension, the rails’
ringing warns everyone to
get away in time, while
the other’s deep singing proves
that rivers know how

reservoirs are made.                   
Towns.   Under Lake Lanier,
Oscarville.  Georgia.   After
the execution of three
young, black men accused
of raping and murdering a
white woman, the Night
Riders burn the town to the

ground, thus obviating
that problem in the near
future when the flood waters
come.   St.  Thomas, Nevada:
.   During drought
remains of the old
hotel and ice-cream shop appear.

We’re not moving in
the direction of displacing
fewer people.  We don’t
have thoughtful policies that
appreciate communities’
sense of place.  One of the things
I find so interesting is
a paradox.  The

American West is a
culmination of placemaking,
but also of placelessness, of
moving on to the next thing when
necessity dictates it
When a family or
a community plants
fruit trees, that’s a sign that they

planned to stay for a long time.  Some
of the sadder things is
when people talk about
their orchards being ripped out.

The rain thunders along with the
thunder.   She gazes out
her window and believes she
sees the day from behind

a waterfall that will
soon thunder and thicken until
there is nothing else.                   
Back in
the hometown again, staring
at that town fathers’
photo.   One leans toward his
neighbor moves his mouth
soundlessly.  Then they all begin

to stir, some shifting about, some
angry, some looking down, scuffing
their shoes on the ground.
Their faces brighten, eyes
gleam, as they begin to
change positions, making the names
penned below the photo no
longer match the figures

above, bolting, jumping,
whirling, until they
freeze, each one out
of position, stock
still.  Do you see all
these old places?  We
are the owner, but today
we are homeless.   We try

to protest, but we cannot
because they call you
a terrorist.  We are
talking about 12,000
years.  We saw the history
here, but now our
children will never
see those dusty,

beautiful caves.
The Takings : Vanport,
Kowaliga, York Hill, Seneca

Village, Sousana, Derwent,
Ashopton, Hasankeyf
Curon, St. Thomas, Beerston,
Cannonsville, Rock Rift, Rock
Royal, Granton, Arena
Union Grove, Pepacton
(meaning “Marriage
of the Waters”).

They are getting closer.  No
powder to fire, anyhow.

Yet there is a movement -- their
beards growing like masses
of vines, clutching, snagging,
obliterating faces,
bodies, and sky, the whole
space blotting black, then

so slowly coming
clear again -- the
same space, the same
plot of ground clear
of any body or
face -- only
the sky, the old
land, land of

the ancient bear
and fox -- and
on the primeval
ground, shiny, but
already, always
always cracked,

only a
eye.   Now,


Joel Chace

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as, Tip of the Knife, Eratio, Otoliths, Word For/Word, and Golden Handcuffs Review. Most recent collections include Humors, from Paloma Press, Threnodies, from Moria Books, and fata morgana, from Unlikely Books.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2022

All Issues