The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2021

All Issues
NOV 2021 Issue


We Never Accurately

Tulip makes me multiply
charged velvet and public
days clear my throat
an american comes out, listing no
more decisions, the whole slab
from the butcher now, no cuts left the poet
said “what we’re doing now doesn’t feel
About language, I can never accurately
measure the edges of my courage.

The window ledges domestic to
here is a freight car, domestic, here
is no money, domestic, a church
service, domestic vacated
want, domestic a poor
place to start not wanting plastic
prison tables we moved in unison
to sit where I could always leave, I
couldn’t compare like Bilitis who wrote about
women whose psyches
were always to be taken, and
the women who weren’t really women
said we are not
for you” and we would kiss
each other’s ears instead.  

“Say what you have to say. Say only what you are.”      -Francis Ponge

Rubber wire drops and curls making a no
way sign, no intelligible shape, no apparent reason
for its toss on the sidewalk, naming
itself wave crash on shore of your
elbow rubbed red and truthful. Tongue
strewn wakes up wrong, knowing
yourself only on the way, on a damp
train, on a sidewalk speaking
for itself, then it is no longer
a side walk just red rocks huge and redundant as
mountains gone as the hand that tossed you
are elsewhere so I desire. To leave,
they left. I left, to where we can see
deep down at the end of the day, where
my father’s heart is still beating across
the country. Pink to blue. Pink to green even.

In Mam instead of saying “on top of”
you would would say, head. I can’t be
trusted relationally since yesterday
blood rose to the surface of my skin, you all
see it, fell unaffiliated back
on myself, since here I am again re
ordering and waiting and letting it speak loosed
until the weather grabs not all of us, not looking
for anything significant to say
about our epoch, wait to
key in ten back, as if it's enough, define
transgressions, breathe out and die
living variously, the flower seller says limited
because of everything, we rend and render, beckon
and reckon, yell leave me alone!
I’m changing! An island sinks, signs held by real
hands read 250k, read Was Here
First and you say it doesn’t matter, pay 20 dollars
for 10 masks, be blessed, no dried
yeast only live, cop rises
gets a fresh squeezed cop
juice, extra ginger, tip cash, a dog
gets slipped into the caution taped
park to be let loose, don’t realize
you have time just have it
by no hand loosed, Ashbery’s April
was loosed and Schuyler’s was cold mine was
ours moody loud light light contagion
death, over this bleach and lemon scarred
discard pile, I can’t escape my own image, only fight
over my own name, sunset look look, page
load dank light on vat trash, my throat
on fire isn’t it, it’s the house unholding us thickly
pressed and sick, we use ours hand to cover the street
in a sheathe then drop it, say.

Thin Green Exhaustion

Irate red snail eye lights
deck out a skyline slow
budging the storm
who knew speed, who
named malfunctioning
air rights. Steel in the whole
hard thing squeezes out
of the sky, under the auspices of temporary
tattoo cradling the pen writing the seasons
no longer taught to flip it quick. Slow
mourning bitter leaf, galleons
try to render us invisible and cannot
see us watching them, the power
hosing the baroque
claw the haunched sky
a human sounding
machine, a human eating the head
of a prawn, a human
with fingers, gathering the night
blooming succulent to bring a summer
human running a fever, a human stroking
the hot head while waiting
on line, ice melts, in one
minute I live here, in the next I
am terrified of saying a word. Open.
Bosses arrive, I show them
my jewelry with one hand
while the other touches
the bread, the paid sticker, I place my
case on the laundromat window, rest my face
on heatwaves increasing five-fold over the last century,
same, here, unfold my heat century
there lie facts, several warm inabilities, like living
here in one minute, I do love what happens,
excess exaggerations and totalities
consisting of lit
lantern an ancient hope a quieting
disaster rain can still
touch everything, gray
reflects worry, inevitable exposure digs and grows
an alter to the rhythm and
blues blasting from the window where I had been someone
now walking the tracks telling
the truth. Distance
from the news is resinous
log ash, raccoon can drown
dog, otter hides secret
stones, here this, here
heed, the following streams the flowing
honors no longer in relation
to before but
Red says on the screen it must be spring,
an ant is here.

No One Is Bad Forever

Stay put leap year expends
slow sad sweat, a river spitting
out in Los Angeles, where the driver
Mimie tells me her friend Genie took her
for granted, in LA people seem
nice but they take advantage, she says,
Chicago and New York they’re more upfront,
about taking
advantage, this is what
the boat driver Mimie says. Who
are you on this earth for?
Cast their feet in bronze, those re-threading
the actual wire, those back from the campaign
in Nevada where the teachers union worker says “love you”
by accident when you go.

I know better, I don’t make a habit of saying
Trust Me when I leave. Happy
birthday. Black hills spread
between the drivers’ shoulders.
Black hills spread between the centers.
Between the driver’s hills
is me, I’m the driver, happy birthday.

In Cocteau’s Orpheus, Orpheus falls
in love with death, instead
of Eurydice, and death leads
a motorcycle gang, and who
is death in love with?

No one, I’m the driver.
A sleek gold bird differs
imaginations of naming.

We can see this misunderstanding and it launches us.
Some into awe and some into naming
Cumulo-nimbus clouds over there, sun
for her for now, for here launching
some into nothing. Who are you in the prolonged
emergency for? Cast their hands indolent
through hills without hoping or fearing
arriving late to the gathering
of individual times, to say briefly nothing
I want nothing, but aggregate
infracts, we said let this year be gooey and
it was, 2020 the gooiest geometry calling
who’s close anyway,
just to say walking in a group is a new society
where that x on a sweater signifies a particular why,
time and era, raise your hand if you are
not here, send the text
Are you sleeping? In our loneliest
we are devotional, devotional
when we delicately place
our knobby joints and soft joints in a heap, a heap
of our joints which is refuse, just
trash meticulously opening our
mouths to address each
other by a name not agreed -upon.

To stop laying waste to this body is to value the body beyond its flesh which is to lay waste to this body

Wake up a shark, marking
the background check no, wake up
again and belong to the daily
desert screen saver's
religion, where there’s no space
on the floor you have to dance
into yourself, far and low and in, wildly
contained. Spring hasn’t arrived, normally
the lion statues are drooling, can’t
tell if the flowers smelled
bad or me, both rotten, both in need
of a routine that living
won’t allow us. In need
of a living that routine won’t allow us. I
mark my word on the form that will
outlast me like flowers not asking
to address my identity directly, none
of my survival is called
upon, as a statue I can still extend,
subtract my impolite display.
Mistranslation may be humor for
only one party, Cis gets
autocorrected to wise, you have to change
the settings yourself.

Everything about this feeling and
the living attached to it is impractical, I am
banging on the wall, “I have no territory!” “I am not a body!”

The doctor’s office wall holds
a diagram of the heart with a hot
pink electric current coursing
through the “rest”, a diagram
is a map, and the map is a dot, which is a whole
day, a show
of a hand, just a hand. Just someone else’s
hand and your hand, that’s all.

And doctor, how many times have you begged
in your life? For your life? Not at the hands
of gangsters, that is the state, just begged for it, begged for your
life? Not prayed wanted or wished, just
really begged, please, please I’d like my life.

A whale filters water so good
because they have range, go down
low get all the way to the top
of what I’m good for, this body its charges.  

Say It In Less Words For Prosperity

Vigilant to here with the thought
I’ve lost, I spoon feed my Dad
chocolate ice cream, Chile and California burning
again the nurse also forgot to vote, I ask her
what’s the word for Now, we
collect our different names, conditional
single candle, born in the forest, brass
might into my hands, April doesn’t rhyme
with itself. Like a novel Lara lied
on the bench while Sam observed
the rats, she said. Like a world,
I’m bleeding, I can’t tell stories, I love
what doesn’t happen, I
consider the homosexual tendencies
hoodie to hide in, but I want something else inside
of me, like a question back at you
it is grey today, I don’t want to lose
anyone. What are the conditions of your
making? Suffering
inconsistency, fingernails remind me
happening lines leaf
to big buoyant here and
the name was maybe yours, but the day
hissed before the thought took place.


Carolyn Ferrucci

Carolyn Ferrucci is a queer poet from and in New York City who writes about the weather.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2021

All Issues