The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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JUNE 2023 Issue


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Skull with its lyric appendage on
a night table just loitering there.

Awful cop dramas, beach of blender
hoses, your gleeful wit posterized

Before the morning coffee. He was
nothing as tall as his brother, the

Sleek suited quipper besieged by
public office. Zoom in on painted

Sunset, unexpected copter thwack.
I renounced that persona: it required

Too much faux fur and a doggerel
sensibility. Where the poke comes

If, a puny oeuvre. Vomitory aglisten
with operatic chatter. Daily, the

Rooster; tally the roster. Past stucco
paste-ups tracking the mirage,

Wearing somebody else’s mustache.

I Was

about to
blackmail the
Confederacy. If I wasn’t
drunk by then, why
even try?
Feature films of the
Greatest Generation,
high-fives for that!
I was about to
jump and shout,
kicking down doors and
lazily calculating the costs.
Mandrake root, medicinally.
Never to
open my eyes onto
peepholes, never upon personal
started coming,
turbulent each in their way.
Ursine takeover.
“Valhalla,” she
X-Acto knives that
yesterday returned to earth.
Zzyzx, California, U.S.A., Earth.

Final Destiny

No florists in baseball.
No crying either, but that’s a rule
you probably knew already.
Why no crying? Because of the liquid
properties of tears, advanced aerophysics, etc.
And no florists because florists
are tyrants of their craft—things
would get testy in the bullpen.
Here I am, awaiting our breathtaking
calamity. I was here last week too,
and the week before that. I called you
on the phone. “How are you?” I asked.
“I’m fine,” you said. But you weren’t;
you had a splinter in your toe.


Regular millionaires.
Run-of-the-mill, regular millionaires.

I’ll tell you, following their money becomes very boring.

It’s all about property in the end,
and the proper places for things: their golden tablets, old golden bracelets,
their amphibious golden tennis shoes.

Following their complaints becomes a chore.
They detest paying taxes,
and do so anyway with counterfeit tokens of the future.

What millionaires touch becomes a window just for them.

The windows in my house aren’t windows at all;
instead, they show images of millionaires’ children having fun and laughing,
playing expensive looking games of stick ball.

My friends and I sit inside, sulking, counting our beans.

Business Hours

by Will Stanier and Taylor Turner

I am the happiest Christmas tree.
I am visiting Stephen with my mom.
It is sunny in a city and I’m in a video game.

Modernity is dead; I have a big bowl of popcorn.
Star of the sports team. Swoon threefold.
There is a glass panel as the fourth wall but only the top half.

I even try the trick of putting one finger through the other palm,
but nothing happens except my palm stops my finger.
You remind me of Joan of Arc.
A piece of paper I had caught in the wind and blown across a barren wasteland.

I am living on a ship.
With the light on I can see the backyard.
Pancake coffee.

The Concert of Europe

The Crimean War has us all interested in fashion again.
Downright rapacious knitwear.
I was optimistic myself, out there sleeping with the hounds. Bed-bugs, miraculous spitting beetles;
you name it.
From the furnace of my thinking cap down to my dancing shoes. Did I say dancing shoes?
I meant bowling shoes; I meant my golf cleats—their perforating talons of no small number.
When you get to the city, we’ll go out for lunch. A good meal of your choosing.
It was Lord Raglan and the Earl of Cardigan at the Battle of Balaclava.
But before things could really get going, my dad showed up driving his one-cylinder streetcleaner.
He wanted to referee and talk shop with the generals, like it was a theatrical production
of Red Rover. Of Cops and Robbers. Of municipally-banned Lawn Darts.
Unfortunately, that day reminds me of all the others.
Fortunately, the others were delightfully morbid in a way that makes you want
to bake a cake and bring it to the park, if not for all the bat-shitting crocodiles.

At night we hear the sounds of train horns; but who’s ever seen sings of the tracks?
Not me; I have a theory they pipe the horns in from somewhere else, to make us
feel more comfortable in our predicaments; the daily fatigue of neighborly living.
Cut me some slack, will ya? The Band-Aids over my newly-installed fish gills
have begun to peel away. And that nocount doctor demands my tab paid in full.
What hideous conduct! What sloppy stewardship of the venomous mathematics that plague
the ticker tapes of otherwise well-meaning whatchamacallits.
I measured the depth of the river by trotting my horse out into the middle of it.
That was the only practical method.
To say shoestring budget would be an exaggeration, somewhat more than gracious plenty.
Money grows on trees like caramel apples from inflatable lamp poles in novelistic Siberia.
Can you imagine mailing a postcard there?
You’d need about a quilt or two of stamps. And you’d have to peel each stamp with the sharp
side of an eyelash. I don’t know why; those are just the rules.


Will Stanier

Will Stanier is a poet and printer from Athens, Georgia. He is the author of the chapbook, Everything Happens Next (Blue Arrangements, 2021). His poems have recently appeared in Annulet, The Baffler, berlin lit and RECLINER. He is currently studying to be a librarian.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

All Issues