The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 13-JAN 14

All Issues
DEC 13-JAN 14 Issue

Seven from If Reality Doesn't Work Out

It is a minor corner
With the laptop illusion of knowledge
Where I can separate the good bombs
From the bad dead
While contemplating the distance
Between Mayakovsky and Lilli Brick
I work with weak closures
To balance the killer within




All I can afford
Is a small scale metaphysics
Enough to run a rented apartment
With borrowerd Wi-Fi - in order
To watch a faraway war
Or book maintenance appointments
A small enough metaphysics
To invite an angel or two over
& cook them hot water
In exchange of divine secrets
A small epistemology
To go with it
So I can read cookbooks
& cartoons about Spinoza
Or the washing instructions




Searching for one's own bones
In artifacts scattered
Over multiple bodies
This is to await constructive feedback
Upon failed intimacy
Split this Korean dish with me
Then complement it with sadness
This hope is dire
And it needs the war skills
Acquired over years of poems




Operating from a withheld safety
In the intimacy of extinct music
Some argue for due process
The moments of useful exile
With its mild discrimination
And abrupt orgasms—




with opened bridges
loss is so unpleasant, we want it
with limited ambition
the clocks move




pre bus lipstick
to water the nothingness




Sorting through abusive mornings:
       Occasional butterflies to curse
       Few memories that will erase themselves later
I breathe instead of breakfast
A soothing world of trial and error awaits us
Until death opens up the shape of the bones



Maged Zaher

MAGED ZAHER is the author of Thank You for the Window Office (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), The Revolution Happened and You Didn't Call Me (Tinfish Press, 2012), and Portrait of the Poet as an Engineer (Pressed Wafer, 2009). His translations of contemporary Egyptian poetry have appeared in Jacket MagazineBanipal, andDenver Quarterly. Maged is the recipient of the 2013 Genius Award in Literature from the Seattle weekly The Stranger.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 13-JAN 14

All Issues