The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues
JUL-AUG 2022 Issue



her name is tracy.
she lives on south tracy & attends tracy high
in tracy california.

bounded by the sierras & tehachapi
& other upfaulted blocks
where everything glitters like a fly’s eye’s
fractal gaze over what seems several to tracy.

tracy buys her panties at the dollar tree
in a place once known as poker city
            for all the brothel slots
& back room dealing.

she works fulfillment center shifts
just down the road from best deal tire & wheel.
keeps tabs on famous tracys thru an online tracy tracker.

her boyfriend’s name is tracy too
& flourished when the salvable were stirred
with recidivists in a new punitory jape
that landed on cheap labor & more rape.

it’s almost too much tracy when history’s exhumed
            recalling blueschists & shales stitched to crusts
recycling back to the mantle that still holds tracy up.

the last ice in town was pleistocene
so tracy trains for fictive hockey
by skating backwards in his head.
his glower & sketch smile expose
he often botched power plays.

tracy longs for tracy to wrap around her feelings
that rise like a spray chart when tracy enters —
a tantric spread of tenets claiming delay

            of lust
            of catching tracy as catch can

thinking outside the gore —
the 5. the 580. the 205.
past tule elk & mule deer & coachwhip snakes
beyond the pledge of tracy that finally meets the sea.

what else is there to do in slow-growth dystopia?
besides citing the worst day in rock.
or a stack of tracy tires on fire for years.

what happens here is irregular death
among the walnuts & sugar beets
when citizens vanish in the cut.

tracy smears sunscreen on tracy’s blistered back
to guard against the apocalypse.
            & hopes to someday fuck on a boat
beyond the crush of she inside.

tracy points

                   to a thing dear in the air.
                   to a clock she manifests.
                   to a sign regarding flight

& not another pit bull on the loose
or a pay advance approaching blear.

her height is from the feeling of a fall
like a busted embouchure lip-synched to tracy
with a less than orchestral take on harm —

the valley's charm of nowhere

coin laundry
                     And I oop!
                      —Jasmine Masters

so many vogues in the soap center
waiting for the swish of colors to quit.

X learns walking face in the ballroom —
walking realness across the ruse of space

                   to a track that won’t need feet.
                   to a place to slam their back.

a compered sky aids the spread
            & clicking squares with clean shirts
to tread the boards of trailer park truths

            popcorn ceiling
                    judy’s hairpin
                            sorting carry from cut.

across the street the cemetery’s for sale.
            a readymade priced to move
like a butch queen in drag
between takes of news rinse cycles
while dryers shake cream off a requiem cake.

no telling how nightfall turns weeds
to primula that dip with first light
            skilled in the battle between graves
& the cirque of these legendary suds
like deadpan making tongue-tied work.

when numbers clock to need
X mops for a dial-in-god
long ago gone south.
            but why drop a dime?
when a thong speaks volumes.

the notion of himself as the center of phenomenon by fiat

not yet at the X-walk
            he tries with a stare
to stop their car

& rushes for the X-walk
            making use of the hypotenuse
to arrive in position to cross
as dictated by

            THE LAW OF THE LINE

in a gesture of already standing there
to engage in projectile verse.

but X
indifferent to sophistry
& what trucks with

            the minims of language

replies by hitting the gas
& spelling it out
with cartoon exhaust

             f u c k    y o u    &    c h a r l e s    o l s o n    t o o …


Ken Taylor

Ken Taylor is author of “first the trees, now this” (2013), “dog with elizabethan collar” (2015), “self-portrait as joseph cornell” (2016) and “aeromancy garage” (2020). He is the founder and editor of selva oscura press.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

All Issues