The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2023

All Issues
FEB 2023 Issue

Hand Me the Limits

I want things
to be things
I didn’t know
before I turned them
to storm
– Clark Coolidge, “Below as Beyond”

What primal kinetics
schmeared th’occasion
but the rank fever
that is the fear
of venom, uncertain
species at any hour
or to say, we praise
the box you’ve made,
vague tint in your eyes
a sort of unspeakable
violence or corner
of a room, greasy
dust a glue that’s
hard to get off.

Soup were the option
and thus we folded
into these drifts, certainly
playing cassino, yodeling
into the trash that filmed
and films my sight,
the faint barber of time
clipping you into shapes
swept into crackle, dry
ribbon my fist followed
through to my nudity
in mirror, drug me
despising the beads’
whisper in your dull head
and southern exposure
deleting every day,
never more wanting
to be wetter.

Shimmied up the fallen
snag aloft at rest
where I plotted
my abandonment
of my plectrum,
wasted on wrong
lessons like the rooster
at your insistence
dissing the blood
around my skull
or the fey rhythm
my boyish tits bounce
to, prodded by poor
circulation in fingers
or it’s the dent
that cannot be sucked.

Shoesies pinching in the lot’s
long path to narthex, a slur
you threw at me, put out
of my mind righteous
fresh scab each hour
three decades after,
I cannot help but arrange
hurt and quit myself then
in wound, I recognize
how these mean gurgles
swap in and out but
their front resents
their asses, you understand
how language inheres
or doesn’t, tell me more.

Held unlit ’tween
teeth, baby fluffing
over in all flesh big
baby boy, your mama
in the mind’s pew, big
fluff more like my
own heat merely
touching stomach in
the cold, where I
descended unrecalled
but around this time,
puffing in
the woods next
the tracks, eyes on
each syllable his lips
formed and so, high
as high goes like
chasing is natural
or never to return.

Rent as I could
or on my knees
with my legs tucked
“breaking the law”
in the magazines,
we did, we’d a heap
of hours shirking
each other out of
existence, pale
you misunderstood
the pale boy’s pout
and I never forgave
you, your healing,
your only dread
my fingers limning
his, with certainty
he closed me, cool
milk his face poured
onto my shoulder,
and pours like this
poem I’ve written
before never mentioned
the movie we saw:
Tomorrow Never Dies,
the distance between
insanity and genius
or something less
more likely.

I swallowed melody
as purpose, my knees
in the grass you are
so fond of, flailing
skeletally in want
as though mimickry
could rally the sense
of myself for you,
elsewhere my Schwinn
and moustache wisps
circling the access
road to the tracks,
that is, relieved
of duty inasmuch
as I owe you
a pinch of nested
tumult and fear,
or another name
for the vein show.

Rendered as clean
for those months, inaccurate
spilling the bells you’d call
pretty or try to rake
into the suplex denying
all my claims, my skin
on the mat, a hint
like a cake you forgot
where to look, so sad
the chords I whistled,
that is the root and that
is my sweat there
upper lip quivering

It is beaten and then
some so you lick it
and defend its sugar
industry, the unweathered
that is your weeping
cynic’s affinity for lining
inflatable heart pasture,
deface me some more
because I so enjoy resting
my scowl at the top
of your spine.

Ill and jammed into,
you saw the water
dripping at pace
from my wrists tho,
silver pouch or not.

Hasten to fold
though I decide late
to spread, saunter
like a Shetland pony
revelation, or how
I’ve formed my vase
as container, worse,
nutriment for the that
what bathes your lips.

Oy oy, bleak fancy
always losing juice
on the grill or never
without a disarming
smile, turbid and maybe
righteous arrival
from your day drink,
the summer commands
in its wretched glopping
shriek the sort of grief
you love like not
believing its not,
you never lined around
the feed for government
cheese and it shows.


Ted Rees

Ted Rees is the author of numerous books and chapbooks, the most recent being Dear Hole (Shmekl Times 2022) and Dog Day Economy (Roof Books 2022). He lives and works in Philadelphia.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2023

All Issues