The Brooklyn Rail


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JULY/AUG 2023 Issue

Three Cities

Edge City

We headed out passed nowhere and hung a right we drove through the day and into the night we camped beneath dead starlight and listened to the planets ring listened to each other sing little songs oh you were so pretty then on the way to Edge City when I woke from the dream I was screaming I was listening to the birds in the morning smoke you were nowhere around when I woke and you were right there too your eyes and smile gleaming like a knife I was dreaming of Edge City when Lucifer walked through the garden all his jewels shining all creation smiling at the beauty of the morning star oh you fell so far you fell so far you fell so far and now you're shining above Edge City the ceremony was over we stepped into the night we got into the car and drove listening to Louie Gonnie sing the white lines so bright racing racing racing racing racing away from edge city oh nothing lasts nothing lasts nothing lasts nothing lasts ain't that something?


Movie Night

Turn the lights out
Turn the corners down
Turn the bed into cinema
All the dogs at our feet
sleep like popcorn

First you see the city
then: reverse

angle you react like the sky
a reverse angel
it’s hard to know which is more perverse

island loaded with buildings
or sky that is always
never the same

before there was drone
there was wind
and before wind
all that was not land
or sea and before land
or sea a giant crane
holding a camera in its beak
still as an arrow
in its quiver

all the negatives
have your name
written in white wax

little moons
the way you wish
to be

That was
a long time ago
before we fell

before we turned
the corner

we didn't finish what we started

There you go again
dreaming for the lens
look at it…
how beautiful the glass
that covers the mechanism.
You turn me
a few stops short
of closed

still the light pours in
and forgets everything

we tried to make



for Chris Kaufman

up on a time
I looked down and out over
his body wrapped in a shroud covered
by dirt and flowers where breath once
rose as mountain above cloud

each their own reluctance offered
two shovels the first reversal
ancient sound dirt upon the corpse
earth reigned in the hole

when we walked real slow everyone left
something maybe just a tear
in the crumble scroll of ritual
goneness (the rabbi's word)
then it was only us and the gravediggers
I noticed how man reached the backhoe arm
gentle as a child's handsinearth
a bird wrapped in tissue
and you said: I always thought it was
the machines now I see it is the one inside

have we not one father
in eternity duration of blissful rest
silent        before time
never bought never sold never grown old
no trousers rolled no mast to lash
a maze of soul enfolded

enclosed in a locket of earth


Oliver Ray

Oliver Ray lives in Tucson, Az with his dog Emmett.


The Brooklyn Rail


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