The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 21-JAN 22

All Issues
DEC 21-JAN 22 Issue


Keep an Eye Out

Beware the knotty beauty

the intricacy of your personality

Beware a present bent to fit to the past

a future of fruitless pursuit

Beware the onslaught of the orchestra

whose discord doesn’t cut it

a deepfake Eric Dolphy spurting

faulty furtive spirits

Beware the sound of one hand clapping

which is finally just a slap…

Listen, the world is clever but never clear

It refuses to be your polished mirror

You have to admit it’s terrifyingly blurry now

when normally it’s merely a terrible blur

of the things you’re pleased to have forgotten

and those you’ve never known

Lily of the Incas

Funny how the


white and pink

petals borne

in the umbels

of the alstroemeria

bought to adorn

our dinner opened

fully only

the following day

and how even

now a complete

week later

a few of the same

dead stems,

though trimmed,

linger, looking

for all the world

as if they

are still living

Reconsider, Baby

Here it is again, time to take refuge in the blues

To wrest meaning from the wreckage and rewreck it

The out-of-your-hands not-in-your-pocket

Disquiet time, when everything is only temporary

At best a crapshoot, uncertain in its entirety

My thoughts like fingers passing back and forth restlessly

Across the embossed cover of your stark white book

Position Paper

Where I live is not my home 

I am my home

A bright still speck by the raging creek  

Sometimes sputtering as I speak 

Confusing certainty with a lack of humility

When not asleep, I always think 

To confound expectations 

Search the world for its flaws 

Sort the contrary torrent

I imagine I am the wet breath of the forest

Summoning the rain

But I know I am really a grudging spring 

Unblinkingly yearning


Steve Levine

Steve Levine is a poet and a navigator of the space-time continuum, where he has roamed since 1953. His writing is primarily collected in A Blue Tongue, Three Numbers, and Pure Notations (The Toothpaste Press) and The Cycles of Heaven and To and For (Coffee House Press), as well as various magazines. Recently, Levine has been thinking about the innate human desire to impose order on chaos, something he has only ever been able to achieve in a poem.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 21-JAN 22

All Issues