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A Night in Brooklyn: Poems by [Nurkse, D.]
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A Night in Brooklyn: Poems Kindle Edition

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Length: 97 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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About the Author

D. NURKSE is the author of nine previous books of poetry. His recent prizes include a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A former poet laureate of Brooklyn, he has also written widely on human rights.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Waking in Greenpoint in Late August

We wanted so much that there be a world
as we lay naked on our gray-striped mattress,
staring up at a trowel mark on the eggshell-blue ceiling
and waiting, waiting for twilight, darkness, dawn,
marriage, the child, the hoarse names of the city—
let there be a universe in which these lovers can wash
at the pearling spigot, and lick each other dry.


A Night in Brooklyn

We undid a button,
turned out the light,
and in that narrow bed
we built the great city—
water towers, cisterns,
hot asphalt roofs, parks,
septic tanks, arterial roads,
Canarsie, the intricate channels,
the seacoast, underwater mountains,
bluffs, islands, the next continent,
using only the palms of our hands
and the tips of our tongues, next
we made darkness itself, by then
it was time for daybreak
and we closed our eyes
until the sun rose
and we had to take it all to pieces
for there could be only one Brooklyn.


The Bars

After work I’d go to the little bars
along the bright green river, Chloe’s Lounge,
Cloverleaf, Barleycorn, it was like dying
to sit at five p.m. with a Bud so cold
it had no taste, it stung my hand,
when I returned home I missed my keys
and rang until my wife’s delicate head
emerged in her high window and retreated
like a snail tucked in a luminous shell—
I couldn’t find my wallet, or my paycheck,
though I drank nothing, only a few sips
that tasted like night air, a ginger ale,
nevertheless a dozen years passed, a century,
always I teetered on that high stool
while the Schlitz globe revolved so slowly,
disclosing Africa, Asia, Antarctica,
unfathomable oceans, radiant poles,
until I was a child, they would not serve me,
they handed me a red hissing balloon
but for spite I let it go, for the joy
of watching it climb past Newton Tool & Die,
for fear of cherishing it, for the pang
of watching it vanish and knowing myself
both cause and consequence.




From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2736 KB
  • Print Length: 97 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (July 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 10, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006XWQC2E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,663,346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Hilary Sideris on July 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this gorgeous collection, D. Nurkse gives us a Brooklyn we both know and don't know, a mythic borough laden with the past but intricately layered and alive, like an unfolding time-lapse bud. The title poem operates like a compact and intimate creation story: "We undid a button,/turned out the light,/and in that narrow bed/we built the great city--/water towers, cisterns,/hot asphalt roofs, parks,/septic tanks, arterial roads..." The city begins to sprawl like uncontrollable desire, then returns to the lovers at daybreak, to be dismantled: "and we had to take it all to pieces/for there could be only one Brooklyn."

Nurkse's speakers are familiar yet inscrutable. They are never "types." The stories they tell are filled with odd and breathtaking particulars. In "Beauty," a barber squints "to clip the old man's hair/though he has so little--," and watches it fall, "holding its greasy curl/in midair as on terrazzo tile." His customer is compelled to tell "once more how his wife left him/on the steamer to Salonika/early in the Ford administration/though now it's the boat in his story/that cuts a wake like a white scar." Likewise, the tenant who regularly overhears the quarrels of the lovers in "The Next Apartment" takes the situation beyond a neighborly encounter when he meets the lovers in passing: "When they saw me/in the stairwell, they were relieved:/someone sane, a human, someone who will die./And they explained: Sorry about yesterday, sorry/about tomorrow..."

In "Twilight in Canarsie," we are taken through a dreamscape of Brooklyn past: "factories that once made shoehorns,/waffle irons, or pearl cuff links...
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By Athena on October 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Rich and realistic while feeling the scene and emotions of the writers - clearly Bushwick.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the truly great poets of his generation. This is D. Nurkse's finest work to date, and I recommend this book most highly.
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Format: Hardcover
I guess I came across Nurkse in the august pages of Poetry. On the basis of this underwhelming volume his reputation is a mystery to me. I know there are better Brooklyn bards (don't pin me down - I'm thinking) but even the translations (four pages of riddles and five of song couplets) are lame except for coplas 16-19; these are a shoo-in (as we say in these parts) for his selected. What's wrong with the rest, you ask? Oh, don't make me read it all again! Can't I read Ed Field instead?
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