The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues
MAR 2017 Issue



Vessel [Vassal]

All ceiling and no floor        The terrors of
infinity are taking over        In between
rounds        In between trysts        And
who can hope for better and want 
(In)spectors turning on some side of self       
Heave in one’s own space        A pretty
good never guess        The biographical
deity at the end of a life-imposed
sabbatical        The all-consuming light
works of late capital        Divorce from
one of the self        Same stock        Not
“like me” as attached to gravitational self       
More a matter of accepting error in shared
space where we generated a similarity       
Near matched wavelength       
Concomitant transformations       
Unsurprising crash as tripping tracks
accumulate static and collapse        Debt as
heavy inky filter over the scene       
Agency circumscribed by machinations of
the state        Velcro strips on the soul       
Sometimes we take large bites to choke on
capacity        Spit remainder onto formica       
Tuck undigested mass in napkin       
Before our compatriots notice        But
they always do        And carry that sog for
the remainder        Like space invaders       
Like a brain stormer        Moaning storm
in the brain        Non-site with Syrian
rubble        A peripheral experience to the
one written down        To chase and
retreat interpersonal seasons        Pitching
off ravine into terrific pixel crack up       
But anyway        Dragging down the
stretch        Post dusk bulb halos        An
arrow storm meting out        Stranded in a
snow land        The release valve of even if








Vessel [SpaceMane, for Matt Bradley]

It’s like OK, space is super empty       
You basically don’t exist        Then
“Hello!” as Voyager streaks by       
Thousands of whims a minute        This is
the condition of not thinking        Video
game Logos        It’s up here        The
ordinary red balloon        Protecting one’s
others        No one is going to sit this close
to the stage
on your face        An excited crowd you’re
not in        A new reason to fall into out of
love         with the festival circuitry       
Before he dropped off        Became
hamburger        A mint before orange soda       
Just carrying a beer helmet around       
The way a breakup is sometimes more
dramatic for the families        Furious save
chances in the dark        Before dead of
erstwhile ambition        The pulpy center
heats up        Pointing the way to some
creator’s half lair        Moving slowly
backward in time        Tracing path of
Mercury in retrograde        And just as
much so








Vessel [Legend Can Have It]

Facts and counterfacts and counter
counterfacts        In fragmentia        An
ambulance circling the block with lights
on        Another ward of conceptual
poverty        Leaving ink on the rollers to
gain sentience in drying        An homage
that completely misses the particulars       
Which recalls not the original but some
itchy facsimile        Which decays into so
many bed bugs        Decays into
engagement with the arts as though
situated in the middle of finance’s
collapsed universe        Which lets no one
escape its event horizon        Which, as in
the film of the same name is hell in its
own space        On the run from a force of
eternal torment        Which is to say
student debt        Which is whatever       
Which is a summer camp for private
school kids with a hunter-gatherer theme       
Which is dirty rice with duck livers and
duck hearts        An odd debt to owe this
twirling mote of consumerism        Thirty
seconds to go in the Vancouver power
play        Except thirty to forty years
before its time and removed from it








Vessel [Unhappy Campers]

Then three wishes from the Game Genie       
Post coital in a pre fab                The
charm of bar populated by those just this
side of crippling disease        Popping pro
teen        TV chef reaches into globe and
pulls out geeked flag        Throw-back
every day        In outer head space        In
the Tournament of Champions        For
lack of options        Getting rid of the ball       
Having ball skills        Eating a gingerbread
man from between the legs        Getting
more out of your waste products       
Black felting behind blue wool        Off to
a bigger program        Leave your contents
at the door        And remain still be still
here        This stutter in marginal
generosity        In porous climates       
Burrito search after thunderclap        It’s
not only the cosmos that are indifferent       
To Hamburger Helper        In abstract       
Under repentant philanderers        But you
are what you eat        And I got in the
pizza line every day of high school       
Even if routinely denying the unfairness of
past selves on our present salvage        The
pointed past        With a friend with
benefits without benefit






Dustin Williamson

Dustin Williamson is the publisher of Rust Buckle Books. Other poems from this series have appeared in The Recluse and are forthcoming in Forklift, Ohio.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2017

All Issues