The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2015

All Issues
OCT 2015 Issue



Elizabeth Bishop

I can't control my appetite
As a boy I finished everything on my plate
The last bite was the most important one
Today I eat bok choy tossed in oil, lemon and salt
The more bitter the better
Bitter melon
What a beauty
Button down on it
What glossy lips
America is doing everything it can to kill me
I stop and remember this is food
I’m not just “eating”
It needs time to catch on
Bishop is bitter green
In Bishop I found my adverbs 
Just one can last a while
During a storm
Or running up against a snail
They mean something for some reason
And can be easily inserted
In 1946 the average print run for a book of poetry was 1000










Two pumpkins are enough for now
They scare no one
But the statue of the saint with open arms is terrifying
That’s not me
Where’s the light?
Without a moment’s notice the saints pass us by
We damned ones
Here’s the saltines you requested
They're all cracked!
We must crunch our way through life once and for all
We’re mostly water
Good luck with that
I can’t swim
I can’t drown either
I'll drink a cup of bourbon and call it a day
But I'm doomed to sit here and listen
To the lives of the saints
Family and friends
One saint won't go to sleep  
He needs to work in the morning
I can hear the garbage trucks grinding
I turn the page and see that another poet has died
The checkerboard is propped against the altarpiece
And the dominoes are all lined up
The rest of this is on the tip of my tongue










Need no reminder
Today is spring
With all its disappointments 
Even this handy brush
I am sad
Sadness fizzles out
Now there’s nothing
Don't plug in with wet fingers
Even slower pupils
Rolling to the back of your head
Be here now
Breathe deep but don’t let anger go completely 
You'll need a little  
To fight off the drones
That is false
On your knees infidel!
Today’s infidels keep their distance
When the big shot is in town
With his magnificent cologne
He hears my plea
I’m pinned to the floor
I guess I asked for it
His people look in my pockets
Lint is there
You can at least learn less
About what brought you here
This isn’t the afterlife
It’s the past
Mother is here
Can she thread you together?
She'll need industrial grade thread
Be a good boy
Study the great books
Their spines need a damp cloth
Keep them out of direct sunlight
Read them too
Soon they’ll be gone
But don’t open your eyes










Kindness of stranglers
Their gentle chokehold
Good conversationalists too 
Thank god for that
Representing no one not even yourself
Luckily your politics are in line
Accounting for everything "right" in the world
Not necessarily a mission statement
Because there's something besides your life
Or this life
Why are you so wild right now?
I thought we had a history
No we're meeting for the first time
The deep feeling
A pool
When it rains
We’re wearing heavy sweaters
We smell like big wet dogs
With business cards
We're starting a revolution
Something for your epitaph
R & B, Latin, Jazz
Three stations at once
Johnny Hartman
Deep voice of an angel
Have you heard
The rent is going up
I’m not anxious
Maybe you are
Actually everything has improved
Since Schenectady









Short on Diction

I’m short on diction
So I keep a couple of lists near at hand
I got off the boat
Many moustaches on board
Cable knit sweaters
The shoreline at night
Outlined in white pen 
Fleeting light
Buckets of steaming water
Emptied into porcelain basins
Moving slowly in the cold
Teeth discovered in a wooden box
They’re not yours
Going under an overpass
A deep blue
Thoughts stay too close to me
Up to my neck
I’ve lost you again
Without each other
We see double









Suburban Thoughts

Pencil me in and don’t spare the flourishes
This is a good spot to cool off
This blanket near the stream
Though now I've caught on fire
Alive thanks to two people
One of whom died in the flames
Where to now?
I’ve eaten lunch and I’m lagging behind the crowd
Consumed by the recent past
In which I became a plastic relic 
I blame no one
Brains are useless now
I’ve gone inward and somewhat upward 
Thanks to blackstrap molasses
I’m dressing up for the parade
St. Francis advised us to boil our grain
But now I’ve locked eyes with the garbage man
Boy is he sweet
They’re watering the area
The woodpecker has found the wire and urges others
To come this way
The end is near
Don’t wait for some retard to tell you 
Or you’ll be stuck like me
In for the long haul
A lost soul
In a universe of pansies








Kostas Anagnopoulos

Kostas Anagnopoulos is the founder and editor of Insurance Editions. He has published five chapbooks. What Works, his latest chapbook is forthcoming in spring 2016. His full-length book, Moving Blanket, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse. He lives and works in Queens, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2015

All Issues