Excerpts for Night in Brooklyn : Poems


A Night in Brooklyn

Poems
By D. Nurkse

Knopf

Copyright © 2012 D. Nurkse
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307959324

Waking in Greenpoint in Late August

We wanted so much that there be a world
as we lay naked on our gray-striped mattress,
staring up at a trowel mark on the eggshell-blue ceiling
and waiting, waiting for twilight, darkness, dawn,
marriage, the child, the hoarse names of the city—
let there be a universe in which these lovers can wash
at the pearling spigot, and lick each other dry.


A Night in Brooklyn

We undid a button,
turned out the light,
and in that narrow bed
we built the great city—
water towers, cisterns,
hot asphalt roofs, parks,
septic tanks, arterial roads,
Canarsie, the intricate channels,
the seacoast, underwater mountains,
bluffs, islands, the next continent,
using only the palms of our hands
and the tips of our tongues, next
we made darkness itself, by then
it was time for daybreak
and we closed our eyes
until the sun rose
and we had to take it all to pieces
for there could be only one Brooklyn.


The Bars

After work I’d go to the little bars
along the bright green river, Chloe’s Lounge,
Cloverleaf, Barleycorn, it was like dying
to sit at five p.m. with a Bud so cold
it had no taste, it stung my hand,
when I returned home I missed my keys
and rang until my wife’s delicate head
emerged in her high window and retreated
like a snail tucked in a luminous shell—
I couldn’t find my wallet, or my paycheck,
though I drank nothing, only a few sips
that tasted like night air, a ginger ale,
nevertheless a dozen years passed, a century,
always I teetered on that high stool
while the Schlitz globe revolved so slowly,
disclosing Africa, Asia, Antarctica,
unfathomable oceans, radiant poles,
until I was a child, they would not serve me,
they handed me a red hissing balloon
but for spite I let it go, for the joy
of watching it climb past Newton Tool & Die,
for fear of cherishing it, for the pang
of watching it vanish and knowing myself
both cause and consequence.



Continues...

Excerpted from A Night in Brooklyn by D. Nurkse Copyright © 2012 by D. Nurkse. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
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