The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2017

All Issues
NOV 2017 Issue

(As, Within Three Parts, Each Thus Pronominal)


“At least no one is keeping me alive”
                – Matvei Yankelevich, “[At Least]”

We were cuffed in the back
of the van and
Someone said, “well, if you’re
 a poet could you / give us
 a poem?” Mind gone for
Fear of its end, exhaustion
As the notation of affective
Similitude that courses through the steel
Walls, that conductivity of fear all
People feel, perhaps, as the extension
Of dream – the sleep paralysis, that
knowing sour bulge of air
What stings the nostrils or hangs on
Its left leg, an
ear, a lobe of surety that
Tomorrow will be worse, that when
They have brought you to your
Knees you will not know
What time it is, nor that
day has passed and
Day will have erased itself
as judgement and spit
in your face, trained you
to ward off and ever.
is a nightmare from which it
cannot wake I
didn’t know what time it
was / as I have been
to the future and we are not
remembered / the
future / remembers no
time / but its ordered
sputter / Even so. A /
 silence of
attribution / of – attrition -
a brittle point / the world
sheds and so, when they
come, and they will come, when they
come, and they will come, they
will come /  the stent,
what has been stoked not
in the flame but in the mold
about the monumental lip.





The Sole at Footfall or Toward the Nightmare of Directive

I’ve got a good mind to give up living, and go shopping instead
                                                           -     B.B.King - Paying the Cost to be the Boss.

Inscription, its present undone
dipped my hand into it and it returns to me
the privacy of it &ndash how much of it
the incapacity of it–: it all, in your poor mind.
It all. It all, established against the long waves
of (timing was everything, you know – didn’t it
come to you?) Where else where? We feel that we
and will, but that we are choosing
 what is imposed on us and
willing the inevitable. Or :: We are hell
bent on watching ourselves live.
The memorial function-crystal
 the soothing pernicious wrench
what’s in a  (this is as the already having been
 burnt out, have been, kept alive
(I want to have seen ourselves already in
seeing ourselves and the dread of the inevitable
 past of seeing the future’s memory of itself – again?
 Still. Searching around on the floor for the keys
the sudden memory of a dream
memory of a memory, having been
what is internal to it? Again? Still.)
How do we talk about it? How much of it?
The Great Systems of Cumulative Thirst
Again? Still.
 The flexibility of it, then
 the this of) a passing gradual
watching the ever more malleable
writing cudgel commodity no
 deferent - than the petro-firmer who
Brings forth grain from the ground
Meat in a vat. Who’s a - we I say
Duncan refused to publish during the war
War being permanent – what does this say for
Then, they republished all his work
as the descent the descendant the dissent caved
(we did – we were always tending)
to this global civil war, that static set in
endemic to a thinking of sociality as conference
 of thinking over and above con frere for
 affinity conferred – and by. Whom?
There’s a coronal haze that surrounds this
 speaking of not speaking, the capability that wanted
only for its mutability to bend the mute chorus
 spoken of what are we speaking about, or are we?
There’s a constellated sense here – that
if we could rearrange the noise, or if we
could dwell in it – ASMR, teleology of affect
the word folks steadily increasing in usage
over the past hundred years –
 as in, that’s all;  Where does your money go?
That deliberate hygiene of writing – not sanitation,
 but hygiene whereby the self (watching
oneself live / live) becomes the externalized
 site of disposal (take a dump) all else
to assimilate these microbeads, these
– (take a dump) flush against the reproduction
of the frontier capitalization zone (take a dump)
as another tiny kitchen video, the painstaking
 pancakes, sushi, minion bob cake.

In the bathroom of
the bar the graffiti used to read
“RIP Ike Turner.” This had been crossed out
and next to it someone had written:
“RIP Desmond Decker.” Both of these have
since been painted over and the wall now reads,
“my dick is made of dog shit.”

Let’s talk about dead labor,
which we can all agree on. How well does
the financialization of pain assimilate the violence
of the border?
Put your debt in writing.
Make your money work.
Let’s say this is a part, too – of…?  Here,
Though the question of
action – direct, or otherwise, is not one of writing
and has never belonged to it even less so the non-
space of aggregate selfhood – manageable is
worse than governable, and ever after [see above]
How is that
non-space  – as with any other, not as the junk that Rem
 Koolhaas might have wanted us to think
but as a space of imagined contribution –
ATMs, conventions, professional associations.
You want to, it says – caught
in the klieg lights fixed, as ever,
on the alien craft, perched in that
terrestrial junkspace they’re always landing in
open fields, etc (alternately: here it
comes, caught in the headlights – other – other other? Big Other?
I know what regime I’ve got on the low burner.)
So here we are in the blinders of non-space of the permanent
 biometric standard flotsam high
above the measure of movement – isn’t writing,
as program…incremental? Aren’t you tired of
working so hard?
…something about the hell of the cursor?
 The man beside me in the airport mewling into his
Phone: “I think they’re creating
 events that would have occurred without them.” He’s
talking about handbags? And from the bar – “same
as it ever was.” One of my college
professors  recounted how the day
Duras was expected at the writers’ conference, no one could
find her. She had spent a week at the airport in Chicago writing
The Malady of Death. A few years later, another professor
Told the exact same story about Tadusz Ruskewicz
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.
What is the age of the monkey
wrench in the death throes of
professionalism? How
does the state appropriate
these dead
winds of non-space in this model
country of the democratic




iii. Anchored at Sands (briefly, anyway)

“Capital appears to be ascending to a form of sovereignty without a sovereign, that is, without an anthropomorphized God at its heart.” – Wendy Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty

They want to defend us against the west?
Groaned the (largely) automated house, lunching, as
Per usual, at its desk– I mean,
They want, really, to be
Explicative in the capped sine wave where
The limitation of transparency is the transcription
Of noise? Again, pointed above to the question
Of sovereignty, a customer picks up four
Orders of shrimp cocktail at three A.M.
What is it about setting that makes a
Work perceptible as all the more
righteous in its affective
Quality? Is it that you’ve been here
With me, or that transparently obvious need
For language as other than surface, other than
A rehearsal of the diasporic present so common
To an ever-growing population of
Memories transmuted across the impossible
Surface of innumerable temporalities and spatialities?
They say we are going to be a little late
Because of some VIP action on the tarmac, but
There’s an easy enough answer – gaseous
And antithetical to the space of the self, the
Bloviating cancellation of language in the
Suspended body of the sovereign as
Border or a return to these signifiers but
Might substitute other than, if only the liquid
Nature of the post-sovereign capital what is or
Declares an other-than sovereign did not also recur
In the thousand-fold reproduction of power as a
Controlling model of architectural multiplication
Across the landscape of Slabs© in a terraformed
Dream an eye permanently at or of the horizon.
Ghastly, really, these asides but what can one do
But watch over the daily specials, wonder at who
Orders the filet mignon or makes their
Way through sixteen scoops of vanilla ice cream.
In other words, the aside is a means of perpetuating
The work until an easier time, a time without
Settings where one might imagine the poem carved
Into a tree or a rock or perhaps transmitted
Solely by muscle memory of the mouth, hand
Or, to some extent, the eye. But then, once we have
Begun to speak of the feast the feast is ended;
The recurrence of the lysogenic virus
Digging in the wrong place – the virus
Having, as always, been a vector of selfhood
And illness, itself a cheap mockup for a territory
Of contestation per a linguistic or poetic
Sleight of hand, rendering the truth-serum of
Post-ideological nihilistically chirping
Falsifications of meaning moot.




iii. Coda, alt. The Atrophied Cordon (Plugging the Strophic Inconsequence)

“The expression and effectuation of the world and the subjectivities included in there, that is, the creation and realization of the sensible desires, beliefs, intelligence precedes economic production. The economic war currently played out on a planetary scale is indeed an ‘aesthetic’ war for many reasons.”
               – Maurizio Lazaratto, “From Capital-Labour to Capital-Life”

Imagine a life so bored it squanders the flower
And blissed out on the parquet stuffs its
Pocket full of ash, the joke
being the cops are univocal and grab hold of
The final articulation of strength, wear out
The belt of the observable world – one of
The particulars, of the known, of the
Observable world. Is this poem
tired? Is it practiced, anticipated? Can it
Imagine that ideological void, that
Turn in the knot of meter? Cupping a
Forged new in the cordite of its
Past. Zoological garden; homonym
Silt washing into the cup’s conic base.
Is this poem tired?
Particularized, there’s no revolution
However time proceeds it’s by its
Polar root and tousled from
Beneath, it wills the skiving
Ends up from and shore
line, article and breath.
I am reaching in the etched
Fungal alphabet
Hay’s milk an eye closed to
Parcel out the noise
is too much with us
How is it in the language
Of its funders? How’s it muscle
Out the roots? Where
should I bear you down along to leave
and how should I come to
Know you if and this poem is, then,
Tired? I can’t breathe beside the
H to praise the dead the mule
The eye the dog trades
For marble in a glass – worn
Worn out the plug, amniote
Homebody a chore like stuck
Or studied the warp a
Muffled disc – is this poem tired?
Aren’t and chase the radish
Root back down the lead
And its a rare, and it’s a sorrel
And it’s the leavened share of
Cankered root. And or ever and
To press and pull the blinkered midge
Aphorescent pulled from the loam
They said it was as though seven hundred
Acres of white birds had come to rest along
The open pit. They said the more was
Wild, to cultivate the sound of
sands as they stretch out toward the
Night. What to be numerous of diffuse
Speech, what to curse the dawn
And break the stinging nettle, clove, and wheat
What of it – the home theater, the remedial
Dunce, the pay stub, the only
One of us left is stroking the pin, turning the
Lump over in our hands and over in
Our hands, over and against. Is this
Poem tired? And aren’t, and aren’t to
Address you knew I meant, or aren’t I aren’t
Loam and ash, pin and salt the rocking
Mouth, the coast to island out the porous dunce
Get making the billing come nested
Pry the open like a handful and note. I to
Bill the salt of lush and turnip stents, faucet
And come to in a wrenching dawn; stomatic
Sunning and fielded, I know it’s late but
Sense me, make sense me, is this poem
Tired? Is it tossing against the bridge?



Judah Rubin

JUDAH RUBIN lives in Queens. He is the author of, among other pamphlets, Phrenologue (Ugly Ducking Presse 2013, O'Clock Press 2013) and the instant classic Subjectivity (Anarchive 2015).


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2017

All Issues