“A Tour de Force” by Brendan Constantine

Brendan Constantine


I got a book and can’t
make myself read it, even
though my lover swears
it’s good, even though
the cover says we might
all beautifully belong
somewhere. Imagine if
everything you saw was
printed inside your skull
where people could see it
after you died. When
you do a lot of cocaine
it feels like that’s true, like
the gallery is struggling
to stay open because pipes
keep breaking and the floor
is always wet. That’s what
I remember, anyway. It’s
been a while since I had
enough money to be that
beautiful and echoing.
Of course, you can’t find
anything in my head that looks
like a sunset or a toy horse,
it’s all just goo in there,
that’s what memories become,
dark water and milk. You
could no more read it back
than you could drink the ink
from a novel and know
who loved who.

from Rattle #73, Fall 2021


Brendan Constantine: “I don’t have a single approach to poetry. That is, whether the thing I’m making is a poem isn’t even on my mind. I’m just writing, and the longer I do, chances are I’ll discover what is on my mind. Sometimes it feels like walking against water, each word difficult and liable to fall away. Other times, it can feel like the poem already exists and I’m merely ‘negotiating’ with it, to see how it would like to be born. This piece is in the ‘where the hell did that come from’ category. It seemed just to appear at the end of my pen. My third book was like that; the speakers just barged in at odd hours and said, ‘Take this down …’ In this case, I almost felt goaded. What I wrote made me uncomfortable and my discomfort became my guide. I hope this doesn’t sound ‘too’ crazy. Just the usual amount.” (web)

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