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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

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APRIL 2021 Issue
Poetry

two


Nursery Song
      (After Sean Bonney)



Don’t say “pandemic lockdown”
Say Fuck the rich/their private island getaways
Say Fuck their Aspen lodges/stocked with climate-controlled volcanoes
and children named after weather stations and rare cheeses



Don't say “clubbed and beaten”
Say Fuck clubbing and slumming
Say Fuck following and liking



Don’t say “assortment of pretty much everything you can imagine,
at a loss for words, beyond your wildest dreams”
Don’t say “quartz countertops, home theater, private cul-de-sac, second getaway”
Say Fuck the rich, their carbon footprint, their dinosaur ways



Don't say “stay at home orders, essential workers, front lines of death,”
Say Fuck fabulous gym rat, TV personality smile, life style influencer


Don’t say “drowning in debt, jobless rollout, prioritize assisted living,”
Say Fuck lounging by the pool, swimming into the future, moonlight stroll



Don't say “another milestone, strain capacity, possible spread,”
Say Fuck galas and red carpets
Fuck blockbusters and special consultants
Fuck jewel in social crown
Fuck emulation and following in footsteps
Fuck controversial outfits glowing in the dark
Fuck svelte gluttony and perfect abs


Don’t say “going hungry”
Say Fuck jaw dropping


Don’t say “hoi polloi, riffraff, and proles”
Don’t say “back to normal or the way things used to be”
Don’t say “Let’s see what the future holds”
Say Fuck the little golf cart/stretch limo they rode in on
Say Fuck their followers and their driveling ways
Don’t say “viral”, say virus
Say Fuck your pumpkin spice


Don’t say “comfortable at home attire, loungewear, soon to be biggest trends”
Say Fuck whole new meaning and affordable chic


Don’t say “The right balm for wardrobe doldrums”
Don’t say “fashion plate and ice cream colored costume”
Don’t say “luxury matching designer errands”
Say Fuck the old self, the complete overhaul, destroy all evidence of inner calm


Don’t say “stable environment, outdoor grounds, privacy, and for the kids”
Don’t say, “pitchfork diplomacy, flag stabbing, constitutional gripes”
Say Fucking bloody thorn in your side, I got nowhere to go but up









Nursery Song (Second Chorus)



Fuck “flaunt”

Fuck “perfectly my type” and “got to go for what you want”

Fuck “meant to be” and “forever”

Fuck “haven’t stopped smiling”

Fuck “has my back” and “always there for me”

Fuck “effortlessly demure” and “naturally handsome”

Fuck “sincere apologies” “no excuses” and “the single worst decision of my life”

Fuck “celebrity breeding” and “predicting children’s looks”

Fuck “epic blunder”

Fuck “steamy” “dreamy” and “creamy”

Fuck “debut selfie tribute”

Fuck “plant based workout”

Fuck, “heartfelt” “double take” and “in a frenzy”

Fuck “fist bumps” and “baby bumps”

Fuck “one rule for celebrities and one for everyone else”

Fuck “binge” “fringe” and “cringe”

Fuck “wonderful journey” and “eager to begin the next chapter”

Contributor

John Yau

John Yau’s next book of poems, Genghis Chan on Drums, will be published by Omnidawn this fall, while his monograph on Liu Xiaodong will come out from Lund Humphries, and his one on William Tillyer will come out from Rizzoli. He has poems forthcoming in Cafe Review and the New Republic.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues