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     North star

     know love as it's running
     through you not idling
     for career wealth mastery
     family rich with hopeless
     abandon pulsing through her
     westward expansion
     from room to room
     over the whole house
     or apartment – open road
     house ecstasies bursting
     in overgrown plots
     with only two exposures
     ever westward rushing
     to ruin banks saving wrath
     like rivers that make
     their own silt roads





Waiting spectators for a moment's second
sight before girls switched. Old religions

still practiced today. Old magics not lost.
Repurposed the symbols, sigils and signs.

Freedom. Hex. Girl again, courtesan,
alley life in rushed, all too brief afternoons.

Spectral dream fire fanned like longing
would never change. Seemed all yeah,

posted up. She knows his mind already,
his opportunities. Even though he trash.

Madness welter in money, thrust wife to faithful
like rent was coming due. Accept any woman

for eyes are interchangeable in the Holy City.
Drinks bought. Accept him as prophet.

Cavort with his friends,
American, gladly. Want her

delirious with all this talk, with her
undress. Take her longing arms

my suffering and writhing, I will better
care her heart. Have it swallowed whole,

shoes on, ready to walk out the door. Already leaving.
I slept outside last night. Crazy year we had last week.





It was weird outside.
Sleep gave up completely
on feeling rested. Fiends
drive us. Ever onward.
Mexico City wants
Monterrey's excitements,

high enough to make the sun
behind the sun appear.
Forward thinking and
long-term perspective burned
down because it could get more
from the insurance money.

Clouds written in enormous
skies' blue pass out of wall's reach,
its razor wire, mirrored facade
over smoke towns,
manufacturing towns,
every wounded road.

Cliffside rapists' names
whitewashed into greatness
of precipice stone
and desert mesquite.
Hardly noticing our own.
The great road resumed.





Antique fields joked with local ranchers.
Here the gas stopped. We slowly rolled along,
wheel over to see the raw world school us
whispering in my ear like that new car smell.

Driven by fear this whole time.
Steered toward safety, away from imagined lack,
real loss. The lies I've told myself, all dust now.
Front cool congealed thought, amalgamated.

Turn inward not to hide but to explore.
Arms skyward in our sphere, ecstatic collapsing
of external order: roadhouse, white house, mad house.
Now people wear clothing with holsters built right in.





Grapevine news ready to suck
the life out of us, gray dreams pre-plotted
seeded according to algorithms.

Plumeria, kids playing in little yards.
We reclined to rest in comfortable
chairs feeling we'd found our high noon.

When my heartfelt dreams get crushed
I just make new ones,
therefore my heart is invincible.





Would outfit the Roxy in roses,
visit New York, the big city,
wishing all summer as her grandmothers had.
Dreaming of what starlets they could be
if only discovered. What idea didn't she,
to be a star. Her take wanted life of you.
To what crying was. Having not blood her,
generations and generations back
that sunken emptiness gazing out
with eyes so dark even at her sex friends.
Was that fun for you?
She said she was glad you not heart her
because heart gladdened means just this:
I love you right now. Shrouded
in perpetual depression. Why settle
when she breast beautiful, hips wide,
prestige and displayed that – blouse low-cut,
her gorgeous, animated conversation
gets the job done. Narrow state roads
roared on asleep, exhausted into rural
where log cabins that feel private are.
Who will be a star? Us all?



Betsy Fagin

Betsy Fagin is the author of All is not yet lost (Belladonna, 2015), Names Disguised (Make Now Books, 2014), and a number of chapbooks including “Resistance is beautiful” (therethen, 2019), “Belief Opportunity” (Big Game Books, 2008) and “For every solution there is a problem” (Open 24 Hours, 2003) among others. She works as a librarian in New York City helping people navigate information landscapes and shares embodied mindfulness practices to support community in cultivating resource for the ongoing work of collective liberation.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2019

All Issues