The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2022

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MARCH 2022 Issue


Dirt promise

I don’t know
how feel the
feet long
on dirt promises
and dry runs the
gas tank here
to anywhere else
you could want
to go. Sympathy’s
dollar bill worms
a burrow to keep
in mind for next
time’s destitute
email yard
wilting shoeprint
where columns
rose. I won’t be
at the reading
the cops and
some rage are
planning to groom
each other
and I gotta see this
road swelter out
a tear that could
be anyone’s before
we forget. A cage
we’re supposed
to watch
closes on a warm
meal, nice bed.

Season dislodge

Claim that
plastic respect
as helicopters
close the voices
and all I see then is
a brick being.
We dislodge our
proper season
stifle heartache,
what sounds
from the feet
reach the inventory
and swallow
the dull drywall’s
sky to make
of all the jets
some dirt or tear.

Endless vacancies

It takes a common
bloom to weld
such noise to a day’s
endless stitch
splitting as clouds
along the lower
orders of windows.
Exhausted mug
glares a skyline’s
sunned vacancies
as you whistle away
the eye that was
for the eye that
comes forward with
new information,
lots of potential
and an expired
contract on the
blue earth ebbing deep
like yeah, you wish.


The street
is one that
it is safe
for our bodies
to breathe
the unreasonable
air of. The street’s
bodies are ok
with us passing
with our bodies
regarding their
own as necessary
and unamused.
At the intersection,
the street inflates
to become
a roundabout
and the traffic
there has nothing
to do with
anything—it just
goes around
the roundabout
the same and then
different each time.
A staircase
circulates bodies
through its halls, the voices
follow directions, I boil
some water for the
caffeine to put all
of this in the proper
order. A staircase
circulates bodies
through its halls, the voices
follow directions
that they can’t even
hear. The radio is useful
in such situations as it
delivers information
about deaths in other
buildings whose spatial
arrangements resemble
this one. Go home now
and go out for a walk
and eat what you have
left and support
the circulatory system
the economy is, you
can sleep alone
then with other feet
and alone with your limbs
and it will be fine.

Cold Poem

Cold poem’s
dialogic with the
deputized schemes
to hollow out
a whole mind’s city
and make a run
for the dry insides
of known machines.
A church wail
grounds us, partner,
bearing every fire
a price can fit
as we become
verified, logged
and indexed
to calculated pleasure
a body molds from
touch screen heavies
emptying a silo
so sun or the lightning
can come through.

A map of my interests

This is my name.
I have strong preferences
for this experience
over that one. I could
care less what experience
draws me into its path.
I don’t think there is
a path to victory. I think
we will always be victorious.
I believe only in victory
but not strength, because
there is too much pain
in that and pain concerns
me. I am unbothered
by pain. This is what
people call me. Here is
how you can find
me: there are pictures
and relationships
within which I am
situated. I am uninterested
in how I am located
or if I am or if I will be
found. If I’m not,
then I am certain
that I’m not. I’m not
certain of anything
and I’m uninterested
in honesty or in being.
There aren’t any pictures,
and relationships are not
what’s important.
In between is what counts,
and we’re not dumb
enough to get stuck being
either you or me
along the way. The music
you may hear along
the path is pleasing.
I don’t like it. The path
won’t lead you anywhere
and neither will the music.
I am nearing the end
of the song and in fact
I find it interesting when
someone gives up
before finishing the thing
they are in the middle
of doing. So I think
that’s what I’ll do.

Back there

Eddie says
this line of sight
is much better than
looking at a bunch
of black plastic rectangles
and pretending
they are his
friends. Back there
the numerological reams
collapsed and daytime’s
weather fell short
of the skin. Hallucinate
that all this can identify
an experience the fake
light makes you savor.
I’m only a tendril
here, and you’re
a windchime
sledding hills
of decibels that this
imperfect sleep could reckon
an asset. The language
dies with it and then
I’m subject to the arm
of a suit dragging
me to debt’s humiliation.
What is obligation
and whose friend
infects the feeling
transmitting emotional
swamps to destitute
husks that were ready
to party? There’s
a difference. I wanted to put
a machine here in place
of what I take to be
desire’s perpetual whatever
but impressions
rattle and rattle
in place of the words
mined from silicon
earthscapes subjecting
our faces to a filial glare.
Arising and ceasing
arising and ceasing
pronouncing a present that
arises and ceases, enjoy
these bald gifts no distortion
can conquer, oceanic
hissings, emotions of the rug.

Optimal solutions

It would be more
interesting to throw
a tree at a rock
or something than
to sit around
expanding the edges
of our factional ruts
with our whining.
Think about it.
The regulator tells
the device to operate
according to the optimal
solution to a problem
that can be constructed
from optimal solutions
to subproblems
which require
a throat’s nascent
rage. And there
is no repetition since
all nodes are leaf
nodes, which contain
the symbol itself
and not the dirt
whose time it is
to be spat upon
on the way to the
checkout lane
with as many leaves
as there are symbols
lodged in the wire’s
unyielding phlegm.
Optimal solutions
yield pathways
that reveal other
obstacles that
make the solution
necessary again.
In this way our
yawning feels
and we sever
the tree from
its root structure
and throw it
at a rock to admire
how smart we get
to be. The device
has needs and must
also balance sleep
with the destructions
that come with being
awake, and the body
has to be down with
all this. Ingestion is
a process that allows
nutrients and toxins
to enter the organism,
often at the same
time and sometimes
with the same effect,
meaning the organism
can be simultaneously
strengthened and
weakened. The body’s
aches can always
be explained, and the
information will
continue to be useful
to future generations
whose teeth we don’t
have time to think about,
we change the channel
as the sun keeps being
irrelevant over there.


Tony Iantosca

Tony Iantosca is a writer, poet and educator living in Brooklyn. Recent poems can be found in A Glimpse Of, and Everybody Press Review, among others. These poems are from a manuscript called Crisis Inquiry, forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2023. Tony is also a lecturer in the English department at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY).


The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2022

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