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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

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APRIL 2021 Issue
Poetry

three


Day #423



The beach is burning in the middle of the city and they tell

Us the lake is not dead but we know it has

Disappeared into the chemical blankness and

The sand is full of disease and

The water is full of petroleum and the water is full of bodies

With cadmium and arsenic in their ears

They have lead in their mouths they

Are falling out of the sky or they are bones in the earth

They are clinging to something they are clinging to each other

They are clinging to the air to the trees to the breath to the night

And you       are a wounded shoulder in the hypnosis of the emergency

You are shrapnel and inexhaustible love

You wear a mold-mask of shame

You see shame in the growth of the willow trees in the locust trees in the red cedars

Your bones are martyrs and on the other

Side of the beach there is water but you can’t see it

They will not let you near it and the waves are frozen

And you feel them

Like fat or hair or dead skin on your body

And there is the irritating hum of time and death

And the living who are dying of so much living

Of so much time and death

They are searching for life they are ghosting the ghosts who chant

Life Life like a curse word a forbidden word a disease word

And you want to see the lake again but they say you need the right code the right

Mask the right space suit

And you want to see your child again but you need

An illusion a canticle an executive order

A cheek a chin a tomb a monument to the earth

A monument to the hysteria of the afternoon a monument to the rhythm

Of the sand a monument to the disappearance of the bodies who are breaking

In some other lake      who are breaking on some other beach

Who are rioting in some other death march

The translators of the silence do not know how to translate the translators

Of the sand and in the frustration that grows between them there is something

So ordinary      a corpse so ordinary that no one wants to disturb it

No one comes to appraise it

No one knows how much it costs or where it has been

Fabricated

It is Day #423 and the sky has

Disappeared into another sky and the beach is shrieking

The shriek of a thousand broken shoulders and I am dying

From too much life in the blankness that

Unravels into the economy of a beating a burning the guilt of this innocent lung

The shame of this atrophied bone

This bloodied body this bloodied child

This blank that consumes the image of how you understand who you are

Which is wrapped up in the image of how I understand who I am

And you don’t want to die today but you might and I

Don’t want to be alone today and I don’t want to die

From so much life it has given me so much

To all of us we break we are broken we are

Little imitations of our corpses of eternity don’t wait for us to die

It is Day #423 and shame covers my body with grief and

Grief covers my body with shame

Only twenty-three people died here yesterday and I was not one of them

And today and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and today

I will not be one of them and shame will cover my body and grief will

Live in my face and shamegrief will form in my teeth

Griefshame will blow air into my mouth and I won’t die alone today

I’ll eat bread I’ll eat rice and kiss my child and say thank you thank you thank you

To salt and to sweat and to boredom let

Peace explode on my body I am alive and condemned and undone









Risk Management



we look at our verbs and feel apathy and remorse

we look at our nouns and feel apathy and remorse

there is a mood of terror in the capitals of the industrialized democracies

we’ll jump off that bridge when we get there

the economic war against the industrialized democracies is not about how many soybeans
the hegemons are going to buy

the economic war is not about steel or coal or aluminum

you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it shit in the woods

the economic war can only be won in the deep verticals of state capital

the Wall Street and Washington juntas will interrupt the unification of the world’s highest-
performing economies

love is a sexy kind of regulatory apparatus

and when you cut off its capital and make your lover play by the rules then everybody can feel
like an economic superpower

there is a mood of terror in the marketplace

should I destroy the nation-state or should I take a nap

should I destroy the foundations of our liberal democracy or should I take a nap

a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

there is a mood of terror in the center of the city

he could not decide if he wanted to take a nap or dominate the fields of artificial intelligence
industrial espionage and supercomputing

we could not decide if we wanted to take a nap or dominate the field of financial derivatives

there is a mood of exhilaration among the taxpayers

the economic war is being fought one democracy at a time

there is a mood of hunger among the proletariat

you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it destroy the means of production

there is a mood of restlessness among the political elite

the economic war is being fought one reluctant consumer at a time

you can dominate the fields of artificial intelligence and industrial espionage if you cultivate a
growth mindset and develop some political grit

there is a mood of fear in the industrialized democracies

the rising price of crude oil does not concern me when I am playing with a dog or a baby

it is not possible to give water to a horse who will not drink of its own accord

the parents who refuse to vaccinate their children     are afraid of living and afraid of dying

they think they understand how to manage their risk

there is a mood of exasperation at the Centers for Disease Control

the rising price of crude oil does not concern me when I am lifting weights or having an orgasm

it is a mistake to believe the next economic downturn will look just like the last one

there is a mood of consternation among the bankers

it is a mistake to believe the next emotional downturn will look just like the last one

there is a mood of consternation among the lovers and the investors

earnings estimates have plummeted but sales revenues continue to reach all-time highs

this is an emotional poem that communicates feelings of consternation exhilaration
exasperation terror panic remorse apathy and as such it reaffirms the justification of the
continuation of our lives

there is a mood of desperation among the investors

I suspect there will be more volatility but the most important thing is that we have remained in
a secular market

according to Camus the only serious philosophical question is suicide but he couldn’t see the
forest of long-term spiritual profit because it was blocked by the short-term trees of existential
panic

there is a mood of deregulation among the lovers

if you change something on the policy front     if you and your lover make a big expenditure
then decide to tighten your belts       the economy will languish and we will all be back in the
muddle

there is a mood of fear among the investors

I don’t think we’re heading toward a recession but if we continue on the same path then we’ll
end up in a downward spiral from which we will never be able to recover

there is a mood of resignation among the investors

love is a sexy kind of regulatory apparatus that profits in the boldest of markets

I am tired of faith but I still believe that God can communicate through the broken mouth of a
broken child

you are tired of faith but you still believe that God can communicate through the broken mouth
of a broken child

we are tired of faith but we still believe that God can communicate through the broken mouth
of a broken child

faith is a thing with feathers

there is mood of hostility among the regulators

there will be more volatility but we will welcome the short-term pain if it leads to long-term
gain

there is a mood of resentment in London and on Wall Street

should I strengthen my portfolio or should I destroy the nation-state

should I pursue my blood debts or should I destroy the nation-state

should I have brunch or should I redistribute the wealth

it is a mistake to underestimate the degree to which bland word choice can undermine the
effectiveness of your messaging









Day #1113



Take a Tuesday any old Tuesday

It could be the Tuesday that I’ll die on

It might be something I’m remembering about the future

I don’t know…..I think they saw me crawling
out of my body

I don’t know

I think they saw some private property
crawling out of my arm bone

I might have been dead I might have been
apologizing for something
I couldn’t articulate

What do they call it when you
hate being asleep and you hate being awake

When you
don’t like the literal
or the metaphoric

What’s the term for
when you’re looking out your window
and all you see is
money flowing out of a dead man’s mouth

Did you hear the one about
what the subtext said to the subtext’s subtext

(kidnap my landlord)

Did you hear the one about the coffins
they give to our kids on their birthdays

A poem came out of their dead toy bodies
like real A +++ literature filled with
colonial daffodils glaciers barbarians bureaucrats

When I die
my archives will be housed
at Jiffy Lube or CVS

Blessed is      the silence of desire
Blessed is      the dignity of silence

I thought I found a way
to pay off X Y and Z
But JP Morgan told me
I’d invested in the wrong massacre

I should go to the old world and become a barrister or maybe
I should repatriate to the shtetl they beat us in because here
the bank is filled with refugees claiming asylum
The debt is filled with citizens claiming asylum
The hole is filled with passports colonial daffodils and national anthems

Nature and nation are like
twin party gods
they take away our shoes
but they really keep us on our toes

For the first time in my life (even though I have
fungus on my feet)
I thought of myself as beautiful

I said self
self
Breathe love into yourself

And by yourself I meant myself

But when I tried to breathe love into myself
all the voices were like
trigger warning trigger warning
delusion delusion trigger warning

Did you hear the one about what the text
said to the subtext’s subtext

Just a little death rattle might be fun
sang the mayor to all the poor people
who were quite unlikely to vote

The city council
ran out of parliamentary semen

The automatic weapons
have more rights than I do
                             tough break

They beat me on a Tuesday and no one
saw this

It doesn’t matter what I did
I was just being myself

I might have been praying
I might have been whispering

Hey where can we watch that birth again

I mean    I’m not interested
in just hanging around myself and hearing
myself talk to myself
as if me and myself
were the only ones
worth talking to

I’d rather put my mouth
where my money is

But they’ve run out of cryptocurrency
at the gas station

And the dentist no longer takes bitcoin

More and more I feel like
I’m so close
to knowing the unknown
Still
I long for the kind of love
that will kill me

What’s the word for
when you eat and shit at the same time

It’s day #1113
and we
must love one another or destroy the nation-state

They say that time assuages
Wrong!

Let’s get lost and walk into the sea

Contributor

Daniel Borzutzky

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator who lives in Chicago. His most recent book is Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 (Coffee House Press, 2021). His 2016 collection, The Performance of Becoming Human won the National Book Award. Lake Michigan (2018) was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto's Valdivia won the National Translation Award, and he has also translated collections by Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues