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Excerpt from A Year from Today

finally I love
Glenn Branca hip to his tuning system cook to it
pour two glasses eat the Shakshouka  heat drifts me
forget it on simmer
   but you cannot destroy
the yolk of an egg
   within the vibration of a string
 is the entire harmonic series
dog barked at a running boy
again responsibility bar raised the walk has to
have style I bark  at the same person too
such is an anger
   received so
   guitars thrashing  peaceful in
   a black sabbatical  =
      you can never stop working


reading a long book about real life
catastrophe maybe
it’ll stop me from dreaming
up my own  hot afternoon drift
wake DRINK WATER FOOL the problem
with doing things you love all day
is like being on speed
worrying can make you think you’re exerting
some control over the situation like not enjoying yourself can make time
drag perverse fountain of youth when there was no joy
and a whole life ahead  drift
then an ice cream spoon
           falls to the floor


the map says catch the D from Dekalb
signage says B MTA worker tells me no I have to take the Q
wait for the Q and the D comes was she right or wrong
I get on the D she was wrong triumphant on Prince!
picking up a cord I’ll surprise K with some shorts for the lake
shopping in Soho is wicked feel that judgment or is it sudden
resonance of K saying  that I looked like
a foreign exchange student in my hat and back pack
all the shorts are ugly  find some pants
for myself  uniform fetish vibe I know what I’d
do with my money cultivate an excessive wardrobe guy on F home
asks if anyone is listening is anyone awake for his speech
about illegal incarceration make eye contact tail end
of independence day weekend  kid glares his girl-
friend leaning into his shoulder  all of our fantasies
offered counterpoint  look for reasons not to feel
anxious nature’s remedy  is people pull handle in case of
emergency  I’ve worked hard  on my infrastructures and it’s hard
so don’t pull that handle  pull out green notebook  Hank
said he’s sitting on a donut “like a dickweed” glad I jotted
that down and to follow up with him “do you want to be
a thing that limps  or do you want to be a player?” I forgot who…
Claudia? a Sicilian  said “you’re Sicilian you shouldn’t even be
working” and god I ROARED that afternoon in the empty bar : “all I want
is a little reaction” Tina Turner in Rite-Aid man on F last week
chatting up young woman  “41 years in NYC and I’ve never seen the Statue
of Liberty” and “New Jersey? No offense but you look like a California
woman”   I’ve been quoting Cher in Moonstruck since 1987
except I slap myself in the face  SNAP OUT OF IT  her way
of saying BE PRESENT my proto-Buddha   accept that I’m not going to
like you for what boils down in geologic time for another 45 minutes


butterflies Monday through Friday
morning in my stomach
   is it the conditions of life  before I check my work email
or my relationship with
my org   called a building a facility today
talking to a friend  and a room within  a venue
and chores fill bucket with hot water
            one foot in tub
         one out slip but catch balance
no rags use old pair of cotton underwear my life in dog hair
      get to kitchen table  knock over chair
         balanced there hits back of
              my head
I guess I’d rather be
doing something else     like nothing


Stacy Szymaszek

STACY SZYMASZEK is the author of the full length collections Emptied of All Ships, Hyperglossia, hart island, Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals, and, forthcoming, A Year From Today. Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals won the 2015 Ottoline prize from Fence Books. She is the current Director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

All Issues