The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

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APR 2016 Issue



as you get older
your net gets smaller
weaker and bigger at the same time
your filter
               weathered, looser, finite
what gets to you now
isn’t debris
but gold
               scattered nuggets
               only to you because
               you’re older
your level of participation
a deeper relationship
               with the trash you leave behind
               blood from my nose
               from my pen
               feed the tiger
               to cure the bruise











to fuse terror into the word strive
try explaining surrender as definition  
or fear — as — mirror that forms body
try accepting the collection of — who yu talkin' to —
as — an opacity of letters

that define the history of change
as people — or — scars in the form of
animals who write — you know, the ones who attempt infrastructure
re-constructs that beyond the output of misplaced spellings
by purposely confusing the reach — of — what you just said

to spell out — achievement — before — wonder
try spelling out the thought of idea
using the of that spells connect — the definition of — the making of
to art in the time of body
to the already gone of this body

that makes — what I don't need to see 
remind me — of what I do need to see
so I can say — what I don't need to say —
and be the change before the get
dive into the cortex of a nation

incise decision out of skin — out of semen
out of blood — raise a question with an image
before a thought — compare body — to — idea being object that dies
to — image being thought that arouses idea
with fight or flight —

escape inside be
explain yourself — inside yourself
inside the making — the age of talk           
relies on speech that doesn't explain — but
one that looks

like you — moving on the inside
striving for transparent definition
before finding who could be — unknown
unchanged — you know —
someone like you










there was once a way                    to bare the soul
a telling                                            to the revelation
there used to be a point                to exposing weakness
                                                           to the pointy-shaved airspace
centered over love-emoji
                                                           to the latch-key materialism
incognito'ed       by desire
                              by delusion's outpost
                              where we set bags down

there used to be a purpose to       the not-getting
                                                            the reach-mounting
                                                            the faulty-eared reconnaissance
inherent to the perfectly symmetrical
                                                            the hate losing
garbled by solo track announcement

            there can only be so much sleeve
                        for       every heart
            so much balance available
                        for       the overly sensitive backwash
                                    the gullible spit-seller
                                    the dewey-eyed sweetwater whip crack
                                    pulled by night porter
                                    to throw weight around
                                    where skinny shavers crawl      but
                                                                                            don't let me
                                                                                            mislead you
            i believe the only faulty step
            performed by scalpel on praise
                           was the first one
                           that slipped the fall       as bounce        
                                                                      behaved by push

speaking of       i am now on my way
                            to the front of the train
                            a perfectly symmetrical walk
back                   to the point where people rush
                            before they decide
                            how to leave                     what was always in motion











you know what, you gonna regret
don't call me, when i have my guys
do you hear me, when my guys are over
for lunch, you hear…can i say something
can i say…wait a minute, okay…what it is
huge kids, what i say…wanna be that
the way it's going, big talk…what i say
but listen…it goes back, to what i'm asking
to do, what this is, i come back
guy tells me, do that…what else
nothing else, what to do…listen, you go first…i go personal
don't ever go personal…listen i'm a guy
i see where you're going, see what i'm saying
but i'm gonna tell you…never go personal
if you go personal, you gonna get
listen…when i left, my mother left…my family left
look, what i say, is never go personal…don't leave
don't put…family don't matter…never
i will never go personal…if i go personal…i'm gonna tell you
cuz look, you seem upset…i like you, you know why
because it's upsetting…i been one…and when i get there
i don't like you…but i come back up…tell you
some personal thing…look…listen, you want my friendship
i dont know what you want…if you have a doubt with me
i'm gonna have a doubt with you…i don't care
what i say, listen…what i don't have
can i say something…what it is…like something personal
don't ever…is what i'm asking, okay…











            it is not who we are
                        as everyone
            is their own we are — pulled apart  
                        at the core
            by the edge

° ° °

for the callers
finding language — finding
not      and what not does — 
            to finding
            what find does
            to language     

                        it is not
                        what stays
                        that defines you 
                        — what goes
                        that finds you
                        is the not step
            the one
            that takes you
            where the other won’t
                                                the one that won't
                                                is not
                                                the one you want
                                                you want
                                                the not
                                                the want

° ° °

i came to a wall of water
eye'd by explosion, caught
by fractured night — i took in the full moon
less a man than me, vision seek
by quarter noon — i took in the higher ride
shut by door drawn free — i spoke
in light-filled essences, broader strokes
than me — my lower tree
climbing with me, open a man
to climb inside him
form a limnless tide at center —
who dared leave a seat, out on this road
along galaxy's rimshot — i took in
release, for a go at free

° ° °

taken by night
my ribbons, my eyes in flux
            … whatever edge
            … tells me
            … is the one i am
                           is but the lesser invasion
                           —the heated states of hands, of feet

            … rota … rota … rota
            … round … round … round
                           … inbreath
                           … inbreath

° ° °

dot here, dot there, to again the again,
and there, the dot and here
caught one, again to gain the here
to dot the there — and over, one more
one other, dot to dot, to gain again, its dot
its own here, to be, its here   
— to open here, i walk between now
and there — a call, that arrows my hearing,
that falls my here, after my i —
lose two letters, replace o and w, make
blank i am

            the half quarter light
a blank dot
            the full man
                        — scrape tree off sky
                        sky dot            
            climb eye, spoken
            scrape the seeping man —
                                    i dot
                                    — here
                                    dot there          — between
                                                            my lower tree
                        the start that leaves us — sees
                        our dots that star
                                    the dots we are











Edwin Torres

Edwin Torres is a NYC native and editor of The Body In Language: An Anthology (Counterpath Press). His books of poetry include; Quanundrum: i will be your many angled thing (Roof Books) which received a 2022 American Book Award, Xoeteox: the collected word object (Wave Books), and Ameriscopia (University of Arizona Press). Anthologies include; New Weathers: Poetics from the Naropa Archives, The Difference Is Spreading: 50 Contemporary Poets on Fifty Poems, and Poets In The 21st Century: Poetics of Social Engagement. He is currently hovering the zeitgeist, occasionally unearthed in Beacon, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

All Issues