The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

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MAR 2017 Issue

from There Have Been Some Days I Didn't Know Your Name


Closing abrupt windows I remember the
Wind through the halls of synagogue
The singing gods of Ward Street
Nyunya is alive, also known as Function
Ambassador, a kind title for dealing with
Difficult people in a suburb of Boston.
Fire consumed a backyard of snappy
Memories the couple had twice lost
In the years I didn’t know them. When 
Story lays down the front door in a bed
Made from desert flora, I met the
Welcomed strangers in the deckled
Dream of summary coats. Turning
The volume on its head to make room
For dinner I heard the neighbor call
To her cat unkindly, a deciduous factor
Of walls without insulation multiplied
By the number of years that lived
Here. To record night as a series of
Fixed integrations left out for the moon
To sun some, the beeping of the truck
Waiting for its driver’s return, no
Patience in the autumn of July, coming
Home to a knocked drawer of summer
Moving over our imagined limbs in
Concentric circles of thought. To see
Uncertainty baste days in florid shock
Convening for the wave echo’s wave.







Willing the instructions something
Muscles the way / We speak to people
I am talking about intuition, bravery,
Embarrassment and awe, I am talking
About a condition of senses.

The less they tap one another
The more frightened they become
(The animals). Time presents itself in a
Chandelier of ideas on an international
Trip in the 1980s. I was with family
Staying at a nice hotel. The air hung
On. My sister calls and says she’ll call
Again, my brother is buried in Lexington
Under a house made of cans of tuna
And children, and his wife’s things
I call the operator to ask her how to
Spell words, this was then.

A sign for a dog (lost) named Marco
I take to be a performance calling out
The game under the guise of another
Scene. The house appears the same
And the robbers are inside, taking my
Favorite turquoise, my machine, this
Rude string. To take a self seriously
I try not to invite cavities, the silver
Dash of the workday, the plain job
In a series of handshakes and hang-ups
The laundry laid out on plains with
Ineffectual elegance. It’s enough to
Want the show and a different thing
To put it on, walking the morning
Of Mexico and thinking of you
And TV programs we may or may
Not see together. I page the day that
Has become lost in its dimpled memory
Signaling bandits (captured) outside the refrain.







Without company I moved the natter
Toward the street, checking the sound
Which the neighborhood provided ahead
Of the screen it’s almost the longest

Day of the year, this particular year of
Attention, a doorbell, a cauldron, a
Cautious form of dream, the stable full
Of streets and measured feet in all what
California could seem (a set of insistent
Waves meeting at the station, a refrain
For making dinner or decisions). Under
Represented by a self in the workplace
I keep carrying the weekend home in a
Muted scene of summer, stammered light
A picture in itself. The uncomfortable

Fortune of compassion shouting back
From a place near San Pablo (a stupid
Motive five years ago) / What we heard
From the city was encouraging but also
A banking violence, to turn lights on
And off. Regardless of manners we
Ate something before the fires came
To summer in the hills. To know
It would be safe, a sky of imagined
Names marking season, mauve nights
Coming because it had been dreamed
Before, a scene beyond the window
No one would believe if I told them
In pictures, congratulating ourselves
For being witnesses though not deft
Citizens. Form met me on the kitchen
Table, sweater rolled up to the bloody
Elbows. I concocted a meal and forgot
My ending, changed planes in the room
To jostle the state from what it was
To be becoming. (A song of cords without
Upkeep, a bug on the rug.) The train’s
Sound distinctly Midwestern, a palace
For the origins of memory, I put a bowl
Beside the cup and waited for the horses
To swim back. In dressed dreams they
Come to me fixed to an idea in June
Delaying the means of day, but in sleep
The clock appeared askew and I shouted
I’d like to solve the puzzle. To begin (once
Again) pour a pinecone over the mug’s
Contents and take the séance into the
Parked shade. To weary of a thing
Implies intimate exposure and I
Wonder around the others in an
Echoed broom chassé, compiling artifacts
And emotion, saying something regarding
Introspection, which isn’t the same as pulling
Affection over my face in wild states
Of love. There lays a dance of pickled
Thoughts I may not be able to say in
The daytime. To come under the spell of
sprites who bring me to where I will sing in the evening.







Reminder: it’s too much to know
The dumb rhythm of tomorrow when
We live against the sea under a condition
Of lopsided amnesty and since I work
For the capital I have a sense of blank
Reward on my beak, the green of another
Ground separating sheets of life. (When I
Set out I have a bag and the intention of
Vegetables.) I aimed for the shaded side
Of the street, said hello to strangers and
To old friends who were now strangers
And to acquaintances turned expectant
Though I hadn’t been certain of her state
And didn’t want to offend the shape, or feet.
When I was a room I relied on the window
For story in a Romantic sense, which he
Explained on one walk of the many that are

Our hours when a person isn’t in another
Realm. To get used to something is to be
Flawed at not knowing space in the months
We stalk—mutuality is all curses. I’m on the
Fence about this coat I picked up in the middle
Of everything, the sound it makes, it’s weight
Like an x-ray vest for rain. If love is for
Maintaining the imagination, its firmament
Waves o’er figures of loyalty and faith, the
Skipping needle each day two people are
A set of silverware, a union of conscience
And frivolity, a break in the stubborn echo
Of the structure’s façade. To call foul on day
For breaking is to know the temporary fix
Of time, its shutting off occasionally, cutting
Oligarchs’ teeth on the pavement because
They’re confused. Clarity was dug up centuries
Ago by the Pipers of Algernon after crossing
Famous seas / The collection winnows a self
Articulated to no one in the artifice of this
Bowl into which I sing. To wait for the same
Community to catch up to decency would
Require a different outfit altogether. No guns.







Middling day I could say I nested
My identity or that I was happy
As a part-time person in the city
I’ve always been embarrassed
Around people my age, waiting for
The floor to reach below the bell
Rung for an occasion aside from
Dinner. To have a diary is to be
An incentivized outfit, our rhythm
Ok but not perfect, which happens
To be a caution for taste going
Into a third summer of wonder
And kinship. (The backyard feels
Safe.) The second of two dresses
On its way to a laboratory of minds
Thinking of the body, it looks like
Fall in June, so in four months we
Will have an answer toward function
The bowl keeping up with its plumbed
Hours, and by tomorrow I’ll have
Lunch and a constitution and a bed
To myself. It’s enough to know
We don’t.   







Going into the room there was no
Protocol, to sit, turn, to squawk in
Communion with unnamable birds
When the authorities are not now
Working, when America is not
Working.                           To charge
Us with knowing another, to pull
A blade out from the hours under
Which we sleep, impediments
Unto our own days of work collapsing
Play, understanding public apologies
As the greetings of today, these thugs
Of summer in state sponsored suits
Rounding up the world with paper
Cups, removing breakfast from
the valleys.






Amanda Nadelberg

Amanda Nadelberg is the author of Songs from a Mountain (Coffee House Press, 2016) and two other books of poetry. She lives in Oakland.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues