Issue 25: David Brazil

from Mnemosyne

Lacrimae sanctorum:

in these little

obsidian bottles,

silver fronds of

David’s Choice: gone

odorless without

a chance to heal: the

number six that

came at last

on which I met

Antmen, who

invited me

to see his show: for

none can bear this

life alone: but

on a sabbath, recalling to

Rabbi Dev the

ruach only takes on

gender in its

adjectives &

everything merges with the

nights so fettered in their

sordid pulses after

Akande gave me an

index of metals which

asked like Lynice what

love requires:

Rivkah the

interpreter at

debrief a green tourmaline,

as matter turned it

self aware to sit through

one more fucking

meeting whose oration

blessed the

helpers of our hospitals,

who lay unclaimed on a

lonesome sward in

Oakland, where

the water fell on me,

between Raven and

Octavia who sounded

off a hymn that

had its root in

Oakland where I

heard Brooke say that

they stoke beef.  Jai said

his case was in one-oh-seven,

six Agape folks showed

up but he

wasn’t on the docket,

whether this life meant

nothing, or

everything, or something,

in Auschwitz the

Holy Hunchback for—

got the Warsaw rebbe’s

Torah, but said that

every sabbath meal be—

tween the soup & fish,

the fish & the

chicken, carnal city’s

violent consuetude:

the mortal

mush of

solemn lilies

permeated one

hundred camps of

wailing kids,

when patience delivers

volumes of sealed

nectar, within which

the ledgers of the

columbarium say

judgment on our flesh:

we sat divided

harking the last

trump, before

my teenage magazines like

Playboy, Fangoria,


and when I

preached in

Concord pre-the-camp

I told my wife if

I get arrested


I might just have a

West County


a sign we are,

meaningless, painless

are we and have almost

pushed Lukaza on the

skateboard down a

stretch of 13th

St.: and then

from hour to hour we

rot, and rot, and

the cops and

Klan go

hand in hand.

The sibyls

sing I

saw the Lord on

high and see I

send an

angel going ‘fore

you to prepare

a place where

mated pairs of quail

could kiss in the

Yuba on the

Fourth of July,

in stasis between the

synagogue and

ekklesia, or else

most whelmed by

my own sin as

part of

the etheric body

Will Alexander was

talking about,

while King

Tubby’s Meets

Rockers Uptown

spins once

more upon the

Numark: “Baby


layers veil

all things, & I

sat in a

sunset amphitheater with

spokescouncil kids,

and Jacob

Kahn saw me on his

bike ride home from

the bookstore.  What I

read fifteen

years ago was

Suetonius: when I

work sound I set a

hymnal as my

misericord, the

sweet woman who

keeps me alive: holy

presence for which

we build the mikdash, that

the Lord may dwell

among us as

style is to

letters: moral radiance,

and this is my

pastor, and this my

mother in Christ,

absent from the

morning meeting for

justice but

the bodies of

martyrs tend to

get charged

like when I met

Samuel once more on


who had the same

birthdate as me,

November the thirteenth,

which he

proved from his

license.  O you quiet

martyrs, Nia murdered on a

Sunday, on a

platform where I stood so

many times before, to

transfer or just

stand in the sun alongside

morning commuters in the

year of the

iconoclastic edict, when

successive penitential

cantatas follow,

maintaining this seasonal campaign …

David Brazil is is a poet, pastor and translator. His third book of poetry, Holy Ghost (City Lights, 2017), was nominated for a California Book Award. He is the editor of Wave Books's edition of Philip Whalen's Scenes of Life at the Capital. With Kevin Killian, he co-edited The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater, 1945-1985.

With Chika Okoye, he was the founding curator of the Berkeley Art Museum's Black Life series, focusing on cultural production in the African diaspora. He has presented his work at Cambridge University, Johns Hopkins, and San Francisco State University, among other venues. He lives in New Orleans.

Copyright © 2020 by David Brazil, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.