The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

All Issues
FEB 2021 Issue

from Petrarchan Ditties

He is like a schwa

Or lilac at dawn

Interposed by fawn

Pied magenta.

He is like Florida:

Full of neon brawn,

Toxic lawn

Makes duh of every the.

He is not like a tug

Boat or freshly squeezed,

Neither flamingo

Nor snug as a rug for a bug;

He has never teased

“Look, palmettos playing bingo.”


He made sweet of his

Meat, metonym

For goodly whim

Or physis.

It would be bliss

Returning to him,

Bubbles wrinkling the brim,

And he gives me a kiss.

I have not used my tongue

In so damn long

But my lips are

Like rips off a bong—

Bojack—bee has stung—

Circuited heart’s scar.


With a little shelter, with

A little kin, or

Some full store,

We counter that myth:

It lacks pith

And makes more

Trouble for our core—

Zenith and width

Some lace for laceration

Like asters stir, whose stirrings start

The youth to masturbation—

Elentic persuasion

His average heart

Can’t beat, nor tattoo diapason.


One, two, dell and spew

Forth ragged ere rears caught

In a catch-all of naught

Mortices blink plumbs blue.

And then there interposes rue

With its dainty green wave, its hot

Bitters bite erotically wrought

Or telos tells on you.

I am dizzy in the sweeps

Fill the pipes past full—

Full of hope, hopeful haptic

Means time still keeps

Breaking unto days: mazy pull

pushes sweetly, lets me be geriatric.


I take one piece, and call

It too large, but

Really it’s just

A bit too small:

Nonetheless I fall

Down unto lust

Abolishes any slut

Till I’m ten feet tall.

With my shadow

I act, and you

Praise my lack of tact.

With what I don’t know

You yelp, turn blue

And green till reds react.


There is no excuse, until

There is, and mine

Is that I needed the brine

Called rhyme, and fill—

Like sun caps a hill—

This frosty stein

Winks like sparkling wine, 

Like Jack but missing Jill.

Thou art not soused

Nor thy

Lips crisp crimson,

But I am aroused.

Dear I: don’t go home and cry,

Crawl weed, scrawl jimson.


The time has come

For me to be

Like a sea

Silvers glum

Photo or some

Letters flirt, flit pretty:

Therefore, we

Order us shot at phylum;

Not one cell

Turns inebriate, nor

Can we stay sober;

I and I, citizens spell

Country dredges ocean floor

Like a dancing boot, a roper.


I read it in a book—

Bounds, and bound

Unto tabor’s sound—

But was not shook.

On closer look

I slam ground

Like lost refuses found

Or green spells its hook.

Today, all I want

To do is sleep—

Slumber not almost weep;

My feelings lie gaunt

Like unfelt affects haunt

Scree lines this steep.


Adam Strauss

Adam Strauss lives in Louisville, KY. Poems of his appear in Sporklet, New American Writing, Burning House Press, and Word For/Word.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2021

All Issues