The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

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MAY 2021 Issue


from The Exploding Nothingness of Never Define

Here as Elsewhere

Unemployable acrophobic acrobats and their shaggy pet orangutans
Shaggy orangutans convincingly docile
long faces

why the beach feels good

Born at age zero
staying at zero

infinity + infinity = infinity
Infinity minus infinity is harder to answer

It feels good
Fearless kangaroos near a paragraph
Near a peach
Contemplating fuzzy math

Lake loon swoon swan
an emotional oasis
an island of repose
by a digital lake

glah glow glee glue
how beautifully is that said
My mind is consistently elsewhere as here
Consistently here as elsewhere.

For Clarice

The garden had entered the living room.
A delicate breeze caressed a face.

Dark, shadowy waters obscured the infinite.

How beautiful and enchanting everything was.

Desert Heat

the desert blossom
like a secret debt to wounded lips

sweet and peaceful

pleasure in phrases
lovely silent acts
Chronicles of the present moment
There is a whole world of larger scope
Where wisdom and psychology
Provide an exquisite pulsation

where desert blossoms talk of the moon.

from Undulations

            7 July 2020

Happy to rewrite something this week because I want to leave something
behind, for example the discovery that white dwarfs in the cosmos are the
source of new life, like our sun, a yellow dwarf star, hot with temperatures of
100,000 Kelvin, containing chemical elements such as carbon, which is the
fourth most abundant chemical in the universe, right after hydrogen, helium,
and oxygen, and is a key element in the formation of life as it is the basic
building block of most cells, carbon is, realizing that all the carbon in the
universe originates from stars, indeed we are made of stars, except that
astronomers cannot agree on which star is responsible for spreading the most
amount of carbon across the cosmos, still they agree that low-mass stars
develop a degenerate helium core, degenerate(?), while COVID-19 deaths now
top 130,000 as new cases spike, in step with the upcoming unknown numbers
of jobless workers, not to speak of the man crossing a New York street with
his 6-year-old daughter being fatally shot, while at the same time an Italian
glacier is turning pink, giving way to bizarre “pink snow” which is actually a
bad omen for Earth, even as Mongolia finds the bubonic plague in a sheep
herder, and most interestingly, astronomers discover a vast assemblage of
galaxies hidden behind our own, in the “zone of avoidance,” a massive wall
across the southern border of the local cosmos, named the South Pole Wall,
consisting of thousands of galaxies, beehives of trillions of stars aligned in a
curtain stretching across 700 million light years of space, so massive that it
perturbs the local expansion of the universe.

            8 July 2020

200 days before election day. Social justice, enemies, and a brand new
operating system. A surprise comet is coming and won’t be visible again for
over 6,000 years. Astronomers named it C/2020. The president is incoherent.

The dumbest student ever. Cringeworthy moments. That book is a carnival of

What happens in a pandemic when a government allows the virus to carry on
largely unhindered?

Back from the grocery store, I walk among the ruins. There is evidence of past
opulence, now boarded up, shriveled up, dried up. Makeshift restaurant
tables on sidewalks, attempts at recreating the past.

People occupy those tables and order from the old menus.

I see potatoes and carrots in our future.

            9 July 2020

He is not above the law. It has been decided. It’s official.

Plus the ruling that nearly half of Oklahoma is now officially an Indian

New record infections. New obtuseness. New virus. New present. New
ignorance. New slowness. New dimness.

            10 July 2020

There will be a meeting, and teletherapy is here to stay.

Empty Manhattan apartments reach record levels, landlords slash rent while
Sir Ian McKellen is called upon to step-in after the East End pub that he owns
threatened to sack the barman who was too scared to return to work because
his diabetes put him at risk for Covid.

A Florida Komodo Dragon undergoes surgery after eating a water bottle
dropped in its zoo enclosure, and Gary Larson has returned to the Far Side
after a 25-year hiatus.

Antibodies are the most precious resource on the planet right now.

Blood cursing through veins of coronavirus survivors probably contains
immune-rich antibodies that could prevent or help treat the infection. It’s a

Now many people get re-infected, so who knows if that’s true. Lack of
knowledge covers the earth. What little certainty there ever was is completely

            11 July 2020

Lingering buffalo.

   Daydreaming fish farm.

      Remember the Avocado!

            12 July 2020

The noctambulant night owl’s bathrobe was subjected to the imbecilic cretin’s

Nowhere to run. Dying must be like this: “Oh well, I’m dying. Goodbye then.”

I want to go healthy and serene. It’s not unhealthy to die. It’s the ultimate act
of clarity. Nothing cleaner than death. No more destruction necessary for
survival. No more urgency. Just think!

The corpse, of course, becomes pure trash and must be disposed of.

How we take care of each other. How we keep going.

Whatever I write on these pages should not exceed the page. It’s not a rule,
but when I approach the bottom of the page, a certain anxiety takes over with
undulating intestinal savagery somewhere inside my abdomen like a restless
ladybug climbing to the tip of my upheld index finger wherefrom it can safely
take off like a helicopter.

Life is like that.


Anne Tardos

Anne Tardos is the author of ten books of poetry and several performance works. Her writing is renowned for its fluid use of multiple languages and innovative forms. A Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tardos lives in New York.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2021

All Issues