The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues
MAY 2018 Issue

I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts


It’s rather like the crucible of America turned into a museum

What makes the current scene in our capital disturbing

Is that our elected representatives have given themselves the license

To dispense with society, sundry constellations provide 

In less than full agreement with learned councilors and other officials

Many resist this idea and insult me whenever I speak of it

A lump of coal bursts into flame

Convicts please them, pulpy, and soft, and yielding, and rounded

Evading pressure, gliding from under the fingers

The vile putrescence of inarticulate noise

Words pass from mouth to ear to another mouth

And another ear, and with each passing, they receive another generation of digestion

This is the subcategory of the aleatory tape worm that wants,

In fact, to be a tongue

I know the Nation doesn’t get to Indiana

In its controlled squalor, its moth-eaten middle class in the fiction of place

As bullet-proof activist, distant intellectuals and bohemians

For whom time dribbles out like shit down a toilet

The “calculated unsatisfied” Dorn describes to Baraka circa 1962

Some decongestant of options like absence somewhere

Approaching normal

To “detain” or to “incarcerate” this literary life

Is too much for me

I mean there is no point in this being poetry, especially

Retreated into the shadows of wallets with flashy ego about integrity

In the niceties of the literary canon

That’s the messenger level in this hemisphere, somebody expresses

An interest in turned up suede shoes, the whole story is tautological

People imagine they have to say something

The aura of the hepatitis shot which still hangs about

Nabbing the admiration of the “classless” society



Andrew Levy

Andrew Levy is the author most recently of Artifice in the Calm Damages (Chax Press), Don’t Forget to Breathe (Chax Press), and Nothing Is In Here (EOAGH Books). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous American and international anthologies, most recently, An Anthology of 60 Contemporary American Poets (Zasterle, Spain, 2017). Levy’s writing works on the intersections of class & the ecology of commerce, experimental music & media convergence, and the technologizing of freedom.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2018

All Issues