The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2023

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FEB 2023 Issue


I had a dream with the poet willie perdomo

it was a full-on hangout with you last night in a dream we were on the corner of Second and 49th
watching a cartoon show on my laptop set down on the sidewalk a compilation of 2D Bugs Bunny in
Pixar-land with commercials between each

the rest of the people in our crowd had gone inside one of the buildings leaving us after dinner in the
building was a lobby with a bowl of paste-on three-headed eyeballs an apartment door left open where a
party was no music maybe we were taking a break

from the party or maybe we stumbled upon it the night was clear with us standing on the street over the
laptop not bending to get a better view to see what we could without effort was the hangout many bags of
fast food at our feet don’t know how many hours

we’d been there but there were more unopened ones waiting while the cartoons played on the laptop the
commercials were all highly produced animations of apartments with glossy highlights and bright
interiors it seemed that the commercials

were meant to provide a home for the viewer who didn’t have one who may have been watching the
commercials on a street and wished there were walls and picture frames and dogs and surfaces they could
clean and claim as their own

I came to this awakening and thought I should tell you but then the commercial was over and I said I just
thought of something but I’ll tell you later you were focused on the screen there on Lexington and said
like whatever but I was on Second and said whatever back

this episode had characters we’d never seen on a flat dimension no CGI which threw us off when finished
I closed the laptop your head was shrouded in a goggle-hoodie of yellow with black shoulder-shrug I said
I think commercials are for lonely people

whose night is just starting now and want some sense of home and order you said well I have more
confidence than that and exposed your bald head to the street lamps and passing headlights making the
city a revolving galaxy bouncing off your head

suddenly defending my own insight I explained how smoothed-out Pixar had made conflict and how we
were in a world without edges reflecting our slow emotional descent you said you started writing poetry
to calibrate people on street corners I said I bought

Mad magazines my computer somehow surviving the debris of a moonless night you know how to string
rhymes together I dared three students came out of the building with the party followed by a classless
teacher they all pointed at us I quickly

tidy up the junk food at our feet into one convenient bag in that same motion you swooped into the lobby
and came out with many three headed eyeballs pasted on your shaved head the street we were on had
become a slight hill they all gathered speed

as they walked by us quickly or maybe we had always been downhill you on Lexi me on Second my
laptop folded you told me the first words you ever rhymed that’s when I knew it was time to go and
thought about a cab but where would I drop you off

you said either no or you’d walk or nothing as we hug slapped five said love things and I wondered about
someone else a long time ago on that same corner who I dropped off and tagged graffiti underground
never seeing light again

I thought of you again and how endings to poems are nothing like life and thought of him again how
endings to life are nothing like poems

: yer'clipse :

dont lose       so much of yurself       yu know 
yur life is precious       dont give       so much of yurself        
yu know       yur life is precious       dont lose 
a light on yurself       yu know       yur time is precious        
dont hold       a light on yurself        yu know 
that shine is vicious

dont leave       it all on a shelf       yu know 
yur soul is precious       dont take       it all on yurself        
yu know       yur so delicious       dont let        
yur fissures erode        yu know        yur mountain mission         
dont ever        loosen yur hold        yu know       
yur fallen edges        

dont sylla-battle       yur roam       yur words 
are such a treasure      dont savage-jabber       yur po'm        
yur will       yur why yur measure       dont be 
the one to believe        yur life’s       a crystal lesson        
dont feed       yur flutter yur flow       to sing
yur fallen feather

dont elevate      yur crawl        just lower 
yur inhibitions       dont be       the one to believe        
yur mission       is only position       dont leave       
it all in a dream        yur rise       is what yur wishin’          
dont take       it all on yurself        yur mornin’s 
in yur vision

dont leave       a listen alone        the light
yu steal is precious        dont luminesce      yur howl        
yur soma       summons heaven       yur suffer 
a savior savante        a seller’s       seven seconds
yur simile       severs a saint        a soul 
in need of heaven

dont be       so hard on yurself        yur sorrow       
sounds ambitious       dont say         yur less'n yurself       
yur feelin’       so malicious        dont lose 
so much of yurself       can yu see       yur solo precious
the rhythm       a rapid refrain        can yu see 
a solo presence        

   yu know yur life is precious yu know yur 
     so delicious yu know yur life is precious
   yu know yur so delicious yu know yur life 
is precious yu know yur so delicious yu know 
  yur life is precious yu know yur so delicious

skry is a delicate ocean

my ear — weeps
for a time gone by
or is that what sound does
to the angled tonic

where the origin you
what you
you choose — speaks
of unseen you

a difficult shun
to speak — of the unseen
is to love
unbearably linguistic

our compression of distance: vii

••••••• people want to own what they aspire to be
to refract through immersion
what it takes — to be owned
I am placing myself on a cover of a book I wrote
to become what I imagine
by reading through it

I am placing myself on the pages
of the thing I hold
to be sure — that someone will hold me
in return
to confirm the one
in the hand of another

how I think my mind — into words
what it is I have thought and been and dropped
how these movements — through time
have identified a space I have owned
how my page is who I am
when you hold me

no confusion no doubt
what is being held — is not
the story of the person
holding the page
but the story of another — in the hand
of another

there is clarity in the mission
of both hands
a clear image — of who has the ideas
in these pages
to be clear — in the hand of the not-writer
the image of the person who is the writer

will be clear —
the perception of the crystallized horse
underneath the person
is not
to mobilize refraction
— but to read through it


Edwin Torres

Edwin Torres is a NYC native and editor of The Body In Language: An Anthology (Counterpath Press). His books of poetry include; Quanundrum: i will be your many angled thing (Roof Books) which received a 2022 American Book Award, Xoeteox: the collected word object (Wave Books), and Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press). Anthologies include; New Weathers: Poetics from the Naropa Archives, The Difference Is Spreading: 50 Contemporary Poets on Fifty Poems, and Poets In The 21st Century: Poetics of Social Engagement. He is currently hovering the zeitgeist, occasionally unearthed in Beacon, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2023

All Issues