The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2020

All Issues
MAR 2020 Issue

5 poems from Prevailing Conditions

Some people I grieved for, turned from biomass to myth.

A night of brief, intense, repeated rains. In the morning

small and specific fogs blew rapidly off the water.

Weather demands a first person, some skin to touch the air.

When I reached the end I was sweating through my sunscreen.

I was walking toward a form some thought might step into.

In this way the blank page became its own kind of sky. I watched

fogs creep along the coast, tracing a fine pattern on the day.

The breathing for sleep: a four-count between inhale and exhale.

I kept choosing “male voice” on the meditation app. I entered the cloud

of your righteous anger, then set out into the blazing day.

Location, location, location. The day shifts around you.

Part of me was sheltered from the wind. I liked the way

one weather yielded, in imperceptible increments, to another.

This happened across both time and space. My language inadequate

to this descriptive work, plummeting from morning into afternoon.

A school of fish approached, making small slapping sounds as they breached.

I was hermetic in my habits, but rubbed against zones of certainty.

I came to know weather as a medium through which thought

and violence move. Rejecting improvement. Wrecking the ships.

Heaving below the shining products of many outsourced labors.

So some flows of capital stranded me in this opulent sunshine,

while others brought each meal to the table, fully cooked.

I want to know what form is. I want the weather to show me.

The sun eases itself toward setting. A sound the present made against your body.

Had I come far enough into the luxury of speech? I was a weather

of pleasure, a weather without content. A weird rain of infinitives.

The sky wisps over, both high and thin. Voices of swallows, voices of gulls.

What rests without shape? An ocean, an air. What light you are made of,

coming over rocks. Some creatures weaponized against the creature you are.

Something apparently living in me lashed itself to the salty afternoon.

A fire was in my head. Small waves turned over wine-dark weeds.

I sought a shade and sought for it in vain until the large rock beckoned

with its damp and reddish side. Some fantasies of necessity rested within the air.

We were bored with making it new. We stood at the cliff’s edge

above a heaving sea of received language. Speciation and its opposites,

irregular progression of the tide. I felt His Silver Heel   Opon my Ancle—

then the bliss of sudden union. I had loved what was temporary, fugitive, unmanned.

Some small confessions of the epistolary. The ravaged archives.

A deathwish paraded as aesthetics. I could not see to see.

I found myself at some ends and some middles,

got my ass splashed by the wake of a passing boat.

Fog eased itself down across the harbor. Our eyes

could not be trusted to observe its gradations.

The weather, a borderless post-human fantasy.

I waited to adjust to the temperatures of your speech.

I watched a cormorant’s sprightly dive.

Few things blew around the day’s still center.

Sometimes I walked into a borderless sadness.

Other days a pine-scented breeze carried itself right through.

Movements of sound through moisture-amplified air.

Where the personal and systemic align, precipitate.


MC Hyland

MC Hyland is the author of two full-length books of poems: THE END (Sidebrow 2019) and Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press 2010), as well as over a dozen poetry chapbooks/artist books. She is the founding editor of DoubleCross Press, and produces scholarly and poetic texts, artists’ books, essays, and public art projects from her research on poetry, mediation, and public space.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2020

All Issues