The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

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SEPT 2020 Issue


On Anger, On Power While Listening to Kate Bush While Barely Awake

Oh yes I feel Machiavellian but sensual and why should one exclude the other?
   says the dragon from his perch

And yes there’s always timber to ignite, ready-made conflagration,
   snarls the ghastly dragon, effulgent and lithe

Sniffing the foundations of an unreachable place on a beach of slippery dark
   lime rocks

Oh yes poetry for those who cannot seem to illuminate their own castles built
   on the back of others, hurls the awesome beast

Call it obscurity

Something sheltered in a book like a second language smoldering on multiple
   tongues twisting in pain

Oh yes poetry for the leader whose iPad goes blank like the mind inside a
   chopped off head

Because this shit escalates quickly and don’t we know that already?

Oh yes poetry for the handsy bossman who says governments do shady things with
   other governments and he’s ok with that

Things involving people with a particular set of skills and this ain’t no Liam Neeson
   movie much less poem

Call it darkness

Things like bashing in a set of teeth in a mouth gurgling red in a face once
   equipped with gorgeous eyes and

   the kid is no older than ten

The dragon goes on bellowing,

Hefty acts of hate beget larger acts of same because that’s just too much fun
   to pass up

Oh yes I’m feeling fiery, he slurs from atop the tower, lit
   on Dracarys daiquiris

   And if I only could/I’d make a deal with God/
I'd get him to swap places,
warbles the dragon—But what difference would that make?

Essential Workers

   The men in vests & masks have


Bulldozers & backhoes

   become de-


   on a Monday



   on a gravelly beach

conceived by

   hard-hatted surrealists

dead set on making life

      appear normal



   that builds dissonance—

A rhythm like a giant sewing machine

      rips apart the earth—

a misshapen crater

   opens up

   under the bluest of skies


      only to fill

with pointy brown rain

   the next day


A two-part arm on a poised excavator


   becomes a long-necked

dinosaur named CAT

      that pivots in place

            as it stays


      by not eating

      the dirt

         it consumes



   surge uphill on our street

Masks on the men exiting the trucks

            Red lights

   shatter across their

      faces & the faces of those

         who like me

      watch from


in robes & sweats


   as Earth forgets its big day

This Is Not My Last Poem

   I am in possession
of this very minute. Oops, gone.

Constant egress, oops…

My head, a flare
snorted by far away bodies

of water.

The hour losing mass
under my feet. Rain, give more.

Everything ignites.
Everything must go.

Like a lizard ripped apart by another lizard

dreaming of being eternally bilingual
under a sun cock-blocked by

clouds. Rain, give us more.

Isolated cities
awash in storm.

In the meantime

sustain me, love. Isolated chocolate
on a pillow,

   I began unwrapping you

after my hands, once clamped together
like clams in prayer,

opened a book.

Then another book.
And another.

More pearls.

I would never fall in love with Becky Thatcher.

Yet what else could have
been realer than

Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn

in a church attic? (And what was really
going on between those two?)

What could have been
more real than the real boys

whose jeans

   I’d unbutton
to find other


Not to snatch
only to treasure,

pellucid on my palm.


Guillermo Filice Castro

Guillermo Filice Castro is the author of the chapbooks Mixtape for a War and Agua, Fuego. He has work forthcoming in Allium and Barrow Street. Born and raised in Argentina, Castro lives in New Jersey with his husband and two cats.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2020

All Issues