Steven Pisano CC
Licking a Stamp in Charlottesville, VA
I regret to inform you that love is exactly
what they said it would be.
I am no longer a brain, or,
a raw nerve, processing these long strings of
moments that will one day end.
I have a heart, and I want to know
how much it can feel. I have a body
and I want to know how far I can push it.
As I understand it, all things die.
There's nothing like a little lurch
of the organs to remind you that
you're merely mortal. Is it really
all that sacrilegious to think we could be
the first? This would be giving, and,
the taking. The listening, and, the telling.
Are you paying attention? I'll only say it once
I'll be gone.
I Want a Brooklyn
After Zoe Leonard’s “I Want a President”
I want a Brooklyn for the artists, I want a Brooklyn for the pervs, I want a Brooklyn for the single parents, I want a Brooklyn for the immigrants, I want a Brooklyn for the birds, the birds, the birds. I want a Brooklyn for the people that Brooklyn originally belonged to, and for there to be a way to reconcile that version of Brooklyn with the Brooklyn full of people who have since started to call it home. I want a Brooklyn in which rent prices aren’t positively correlated with the number of trees on the block. I want a Brooklyn without Green Streets contests, simply because we wouldn’t have to rank the greenery if we hadn't turned it into a rarefied commodity in the first place. I want a Brooklyn where yelling at a cyclist that is doing nothing wrong is a crime, and no one is told they don’t deserve help by a white man in an ill-fitting suit. I want a Brooklyn where the word “future” contains the promise of greatness, of betterment, not the threat of doom. I want a Brooklyn where I can wear a see-through shirt and any man who dares speak a word in my direction gets exiled to garbage island. I want a Brooklyn without one of the highest Black mother and infant mortality rates in the country. I want a Brooklyn that doesn’t push out the poor in favor of basketball stadiums. I want a Brooklyn in which not having $2.75 isn’t punishable with a gun held to a temple. I want a Brooklyn that removes itself from the prison industrial complex, except when it comes to landlords that purposefully neglect their rent-stabilized properties with the goal of tearing them down just to charge triple the rent once they rebuild. I want a Brooklyn where we look at the blazing orange skies of California on our phone screens without the audacity to think we’re any better off. I want to know why Brooklyn got into the business of cutting the cherry blossoms down, and if the only response you have for me is capitalism, it’s my steel-toed boot up your ass. I want to know why we looked at other cities with all of these things and thought we couldn’t have the same. I want to know when and why we gave up on the infinite possibilities once available to us, and I want to know how we can look at ourselves in our mirrors and call ourselves anything other than ruinous.
Arielle McManus is a dual Swedish-American citizen, learning as she goes and writing from a tiny, sunlit room in Brooklyn. She is an assistant editor at Atlas & Alice, and her writing has been published by a variety of literary publications including Hobart, Passages North, Entropy Magazine, and Tiny Molecules, among others. Twitter: @ariellemcmanus
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.