Dream Song #322

Daniel Borzutzky

A technical error caused the bomb to fall from the airplane and onto the cityThe military knew it was a bomb but they told the reportersIt was a UFO         The critic believed that because I avoided rhyme and meterI was under the illusion my verbal constructs were self-generated by natureA spokesman for the mayor apologized for not warning residents that the armyWould be dropping training bombs in their neighborhoodI lightened the burden of my imaginationBy casting out the past and all of its pains and anxietiesI thought my therapist was a redeemerBut really he was the antichristI tried to write a sonnetBut instead I wrote a seven-page letter to my grandmotherWhen I said goodbye to my grandmother for the last timeShe wouldn't come out of the bathroom because of the germsShe hugged a bottle of bleachGave me cab fare and I never saw her againThe past is an endless crisis that reappearsWith each new state of crisisWhen she poured bleach into the sinkI imagined dead fish in the river or fish falling out of the skyThe city hasn't replaced the corroded water pipes in two hundred yearsThere are holes where once there was leadNo one drinks tap waterWe only bathe or brush when we need toShe told me I needed courageBut what I really needed was a sandwichShe told me I needed gritBut what I really needed was clean waterThe poets played a game where they tried to write the funniest suicide notesThey posted the suicide notes on Facebook and one of them lost his jobI remember the hotel room where I saw a man cry for the first timeHe was talking on the phone to his best friend     my grandfather     they hadn't        spoken in yearsThe curtains were the color of red wineThe bedspread the color of sandMy grandfather's best friend was traded to another country for petroleumIn a plea bargain he never agreed toI tried to seize hold of the memory at the moment of dangerBut I missedI wanted to be avant-gardeBut I was too concerned with being liked by my audienceI wrote an article about a manWho was convinced the world would end next weekI called him the day after the world didn't endHe refused to answer the phone

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Daniel Borzutzky’s books include Lake Michigan (University of Pittsburgh) and Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts), for which he received the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. He received a National Translation Award from ALTA in 2017 for his translation of Galo Ghiglotto’s Valdivia (co-im-press).

No. 27

Brooklyn, New York

Brigid Hughes

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Megan Cummins

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Brett Fletcher Lauer

A Public Space is an independent magazine of art and argument, fact and fiction. Founded in 2005, the magazine is a forum for new ideas and new conversations, and each issue brings together a wide range of global voices to tell the stories of the twenty-first century.

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