The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

All Issues
JUNE 2019 Issue

Advil Cream Cheese Kompromat

(For Free, In the Food Machine)

To begin with we were in love
with the idea of being in love
We thought our biceps were bigger
than the idea of our biceps
Our junk mail box was full
of promises made to be broken
airport forget-me-nots
handed over to authorities
midnight outposts
for assignations
but not enough tourniquets
to prevent extremities
from gushing vehicle identification
numbers along with other
digits signaling
our whereabouts

Or to begin with we were in love
with talking about being in love
There were yachts and like
tons of sunsets there
were cut-offs, not to mention
formalwear & sweaty
muscles, free tans &
cutlery extraordinaire
all our favs were
there Wham! was there
Pat Benetar was there
Skrillex, Ke$ha, Ghostface
Killah and loads of erased
emails were there
admittedly it’s hard to say
no to salutes & statuettes
that help build up the imaginary

Or to begin with we were in love
with the idea that we will have been
the perfect forlorn lovers
the polkadot screensavers
used to cover up all the outtakes
of what & where things didn’t
go so well, the unparalleled
blackmail giving us a certain
unforeseen advantage
in the race to undo
the hard-won races
for second-best
even though we all know
second-best is just an island
getaway where every male
hairpiece is actually a map
of the great human pastime
of always needing to be right


Dear Data
I made a blind contour drawing of you
I made a root beer drawing of you
looks like you were fairly close
I packed a lunch of you
A sense of Americanness
kept appearing In the right hand
and in the way I forgot
about things unanswered
like the tons of sunsets
or emails
i’d wished i’d erased
or the apologies
for switching
carpool lanes
& passports
dear data was it future
we were after or


In the invisible city
of one-hit wonders
rests an invisible
city of Pokemon
gyms where
keeps getting
greased up
The Knights
of St. John
can’t stop
giving away
free tans
because the door to hell
is never quite shut

Did you dream
of end times
the color of aubergine
did you dream
an elevator
music that could
make us mis-
remember who
was who
in all the mess
of shootings

I woke up in Wichita
A can of cameras
Polaroids undeveloped
I woke up in Wichita
With Wichita
Looking at me
Through a hole
In the bathroom stall
All the dairy
Was spoiled
It said
Reaching through
to help me
it said touching
me it said remember
tell no one this
the story in which
this never happened
was already crafted
& sent to millions
They will wake happily
Breathing fog
From inboxes


Question: Which instagram
filters remind you of an old mattress?
Question: What would Chachi do?
Question: Does the light of parking lots, Florida, or Victoria’s Secret make you feel
Question: Where are internet killers hiding?
Question: What would Gramsci do?
Question: when they say I stand with France do they fit inside the 1998 dodge caravan?
Question: does the internet have weigh stations?
Question what would Mary Shelley do?
Question: Where is Pasolini when you need him?

I woke up in Wichita
A pocket full
Of scratched-up compact disks
I was raised on compact disks
It said
Reaching through
to hand me
laser discs
We should watch these
It said
Fuck off
I said


Question: what’s the American
word for Kompromat?
is it razor-
sharp mustache or currant-
colored agenda
Is it long long nights
are hard to keep track of
without a little makeup?
Question: did the dancing stop
when they ran out
of a certain kind of light
& is there any such
thing as too much
bump & grind
& when you can’t
bump & grind is that
when you start
to make cut-outs
& lay in bed?

Old me says we’re all at tryouts
and the rehearsals don’t stop
New me says I was just exhausted
From so much sleeping
And I’m drowning in
antiphonal snores
Home Depot me says
It’s both we’ve already
Got you in line to purchase
Series 1 through 4
Click here
shuffle   shuffle   slide   circle
shuffle   shuffle   slide   circle
can you can can
can you twerk
can you do the fascist

I woke up in bed with
Wichita it said
I bought you a box
of fog to help make
peace with
our native tongue
it will help
esp. when vitamins
& many pretend
men keep
pressing us with
fliers also a never
ending anthem
a little somethin
that goes like had me a
woman had me
a west had me a
land thing a
border & a whiskey
costume that didn’t
waver much

Question: Which is more real? Scotland falling into the sea or the Central Nigerian Bank notifications & would you like to receive occasional news and announcements?

Question: Does the internet have national parks?
Question: What would Polly Pocket do?
Question: What’s a better mirror, North Dakota, South Dakota?
Question: What would Bon Jovi do?
Question: How far away do you stand when you watch?
Question: Why so many blindfolds?
Question: Could we move in ways past ever-afters and
tanning beds?


Anthony Hawley

Anthony Hawley is a NYC-based multidisciplinary artist and writer. Recent solo projects and films have been presented by Residency Unlimited, the Salina Art Center and the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series. He is the author of two full-length collections of poetry and the forthcoming artist book dear donald... published by NoRoutine Books in 2021. Along with violinist Rebecca Fischer, he forms one half of The Afield, a performance collaboration for violin, video, electronics, and more. He teaches in the Hunter College MFA Studio Art Program and at SVA.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

All Issues