The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues
JUL-AUG 2022 Issue



Hell in the higher spheres— the stars there— good people work its
soil and still the field scabs over— gash of red— watering hour—
faces turned toward a cold breath— I fold my knees on the
mountain— wrap around the single mercy that is left— narrow sex
of a hand— snakes high up slide down a slant of rock— eyes at my
feet— air gathered— it sinks and murmurs at my feet—
soldier-severed & the waters at the mouth— Narrow sex— Narrow


captive entrails


captive angels


captive choruses


captive ghosts—

pull me away from them— let me instead fathom the river— let
me come back into the city— let me dwell on the bodies weighed
down in silence— love that was as ours was once— before the
wild devoured all from our prostrate bodies— turned toward a
beating alien tone— blinking light of stars— Hell’s light— bodies
piled high to reach that zenith—
Us little white kids hugging the big blue body of the sky— us and
Joleen digging the trash pit— us trapped down there— barking
from below at the cows that tumbled right out of the sky’s chest—
nearby— the slow-motion film of the fall— cows falling from the
sky as if they were a decaying speech act— Joleen and us kids in
the trash pit— trapped Coptic scrawl— Gravity was constant
except where it wasn’t— the nearby river where we ran barefoot in
the summer— where we infringed on gravity’s boundary and
floated up into Heaven— the water does not touch us there— it
never touches the shore— us little white kids play there— pray for
the long face— play with the fishes pulled up and ate right on the
The mountain opens and its bones tumble out— us and Joleen in
the trash pit— us trapped in the rain— we floated until the pit was
filled— all the trash floated and we floated— floated and sank and
floated again— us little white kids blue as can be— Joleen pulled
us out— us blue little white kids— we could not pull her out as she
sank into her corpse— as she bled out her nose— Cancerous red
drifting back into the pit— the rain washed out the sight in her
eyes— slowed her synapses to a crawl— they burst out of time and
space— burst out of rock trapped between river and moon— steel
sheet— moon tantrum— burnt offering torn from the lip—
mountain opening up to eat us— come up to eat the debris on the
bank— us blue little white kids laid next to the body of my
assassin— spent ghosts— us laid out in a row in front of the
cameras— our eyes red rivulets— fleshy grief notes muffled under
sheets— our hearts drawn out into contagion— come through their
beating— our bodies propped up on trees— on the figures of the
anatomy of the night— figures possessed of their harvest

        for you

        o angel

        to take back


Us Little White Kids of the World

No one god loves us little white kids— all the little white kids of
the world— songs sung as we go to church— we’re going to
church— boom, boom— we’re going to sing his praises— boom,
boom— the explosions rattled our teeth— Pizza Hut eaten by
bombs— Pizza Hut hit by the guerillas— by FARC— we all rose
up and, risen— horrendous— we went to church in the city— sat
in Sunday School like stiff boards— put on the haughty face—
thought it was the courage face— stayed silent— us little white
kids— no clue what was said— wandered up on stage— handed a
cassava beer— communion— a play trying not to be— a kind of
suicide for the drunken holy— father knocking it out of our
hands— no time for drunkenness— not a time to declare
possession— us wanting to possess all the pretty girls and boys
smiling in corners— us stiff as boards— us little white kids
cloistered and haughty and filled with lust— us little white kids
mounting everything we saw— mounting the cantaloupes—
mounting the tarantula that flings hair on our privates— mounting
Zizuma— mountain with skin and sacred— mountain with bodies
at the bottom— it could be said that out of nothing an exuberance
mounts our bones— us high up on the cliff— us with the stink of
scrotums about our necks— busy as rain on the cattles’ backs—
we clutched at the embankment— us like giants— us clutching
cattle in our fists— pressing the bone to our teeth— aji dripping
from our chins— silhouettes in the grass— night or anatomy—
night that maintains our bodies proper— ekstatic— in agonistic
embrace— faces that strain to retain a laughter—
us drunk on independence again— high up the cliff and swindled
by the waiter— no fare for the taxi home— we walked and rotted
from the feet up— in the rain clawed and scrabbled at the rock
giving way— found our bones hanging from rejas in the city—
a myth for those bones— bones not less— not less dead— what
Amy said to Sethe— anything coming back to life—
it hurts— as the body of my assassin comes back to life— there’s
pain in the crotch— as Sethe, being dead, could only give birth on
the road— our rotting feet hurt as we wandered— no one god
chasing us into one church after another— we no less dead— dead
nevertheless— not us so much the cattle— not us less— we
exploded on the street— not us less for leaping off the mountain—
at the bottom— us falling hard into the pool— rancid cows— us
underwater— us covered in oil— like a membrane— like syrup—
our teeth exploding as we grind them into gunpowder— us left
with gummy gums to eat as we please— us kids gnawing at the
roots of graves like a dog in heat gnaws at its tether— no less in
lust— not less in death— us gnaws at our graves to escape the
onrush of blood— canopy of green witnessing our silence


Tim VanDyke

Tim VanDyke grew up in Colombia, South America, until guerilla warfare forced him back to the United States His most recent manuscript is Farallones (Garden Door Press, 2018). His work has most recently appeared in Typo, The Yalobusha Review, and elsewhere.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues