The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 09-JAN 10

All Issues
DEC 09-JAN 10 Issue

Silent Pictures Recognize the World II


in neon
“aceptamos visa”
above “botanica
consultas esprituales
aqui” car hood passes
blocks most of window
tiny white horses
climb the right wall
various statues of saints
line the bottom shelf
and peek straight
through one side
of the car
to the other

heavy and boggy
a swamp-like stroll
through a door
to secret prayers
chants and speaking
in tongues
voices in head also
a kind of possession
heaviness in flight
spirits solidify
trapped in brightly
colored figurines


a child’s bust white
plaster curls
mouth half open
glancing at the
bronze chieftain’s head
just above
the glass hits
a strip of gold
a stretch of white
a silver bulging disc
then another strip
of white
brown tiles
three small rectangles
alternating with
three identical
white rectangles
until edge above
the child’s head
an old fisherman
yellow slicker
hat and pipe in mouth

still frozen
no hint of movement
anywhere except
the movement
out of this moment
and into the next
history briefly rests
then is not quite forgotten
but carried in little bursts
little flashes of light


screaming yellow pipes
front scrapped wall
white patchy plaster
globules against
weathered uniform grey
bits of black graffiti
white washed brick
cutting a sharp clean
line to the left
spontaneous madness
so close to
maddening conformity
straight jacketed chaos

imagine now
the walk by
arguing couple
locked in anger
bubble of pain
carrying them
through vacuum tube
envelope of impenetrability
from departure to destination


Wanda Phipps

Wanda Phipps is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of six books of poetry including Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire (BlazeVOX) and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems (Soft Skull).


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 09-JAN 10

All Issues