BathHouse Journal

Anselm Berrigan


Jim Brodey


It’s getting hard to have me around too Jim
So I write you under yellow light leaning
Into some waylaid framed dimensions tearing off

Them from reapers may Joan Mitchell’s oils leap
Off their canvases & drown the neo-fangled supremacist
Cops advancing on the water protectors at DAPL

The heart of the breath wakes up on a screeching
Bench in the park-skein veins’ excavated twirl
Of holes do holes twirl Jim do you speak to

Sullen children in the after-breath of hoisted wooden
Woo bouncing off trained belches into tantrums of
Refusal til some sugary bribe arrives triggering

Departure I have three & a half jobs which is
Three too many when I said get me in for free
To the sky addressing you addressing it I imagined

A band composed from your trashbag of tapes
Lines harder to carry slipping under the nails
Tom R. checked out recently to twenty versions in

Twenty languages of Tottering State going at once
The construction workers buzzing outside’s intimation
Of locust abortion technician agree the cackling

Was beautiful if overly kempt for subroutine
Bum phasers on slow withdrawal from the
Whomp-clod headlight eternities of slush

Hour traffic you go that way & scout out the
Other direction you wake up & actually speak
You amplify Breathlehem into collectors’ edition

I never tell what I take from its taken every
Try to get the shape of a thing even a little
Bright flowers painted from their lifelike listen



Jim Brodey


You’re just going to find yourself yelling at clouds
If you wake up & dive into info-bits first thing
Last thing & what cloud wouldn’t whistle back

If you cooed its way straight up neck craned ob-
Structing the arrhythmatic piece mealdom of street
Traffic by serenading cirruses with your right to be

Judged by your best bent tonal escapades you &
The pigeons rising up and defecating down to wish
Good luck upon the sucker denizens of our on-

Going charade of linear experience to intrude
For intoxicate silly promises so reflect as agleam
Night with wander portraits heat reveal fucking

Merging the Hesiod Dylan tapes hippityhopping
Straight regal unplugged warm an old chaos
Begrets heads of mild comport for loving in purses

We all need heads to carry around in purses to
Protect from the non-pigeon life forms swirling
Around our daily ant wars & primal odes to

Carelessness one convention hides another locker
Portal to convention’s gigantor half-life a jar
Of conserved tears in the wallpaper fabric of

Reality dead in a song for a pepsi a karnak in a
Green hoodie with teleporting dog dammit Jim
All the leaves live in flown-under facetime

Fantasies of sanity you’d have to structure some
Bullpen usage around champagne Jujyfruits
Marvelous as Aquaman on a melodious

Afternoon come over & sit down forever tell
Me all the ways in silence we don’t exploit
Our traumas together I’m a feather not a leak



Jim Brodey


Here is a contradiction involving time
Here’s a counterfrictional hairy seat
Devolving time & time’s uncle shame

Here’s a bobbleheaded Jehovah spotless
And wicked as a wide-orbited unemotional
Lamb cutting off its gibby-tripped legs

To dance one-legged in the rain in
Florida Here is an I am defrosted defronted
Decrusted decustardized & dedappled

Yours with dwarf star lips anything surrounds
Claude Monet was one of these heiresses a
Flying horse of wild crab language more

Face under Here’s vicious deportation squalor
Here is a counterfactual spotlight for loveless
Professionals all desire they meet as illusion

Here let me a a if let there glow on and we
Here is so only stars writhing out street free
Herein and grace there this or violent will dealings

Hear that firing marvelous on when she bespeaks
Hearish rampant moronic palatial mind to Mr
Here buckles a pioneer one reacheth whereas

Heres of him run explanation into when the this
Reveals likewise gone to vapor Here’s a likewise
Pumping straight to your heart with a spliff of

Unsane word shape blastments shed rhythm’s
Tortoise histories Here’s guppy marginal talker’s
A bent other cruising items all reborn armor

Reaching envelops where-separated tariff brains
Get-gots brained & rebrained by interior post-
Astral domain Here be trance Here be lanced



Jim Brodey


I only hold against you your name and your pain
But for also holding up against you an Aussie
Python stuck between engine and oven mitt

No I truly hold against you your belief your
Name is yours, is yours, is yours, the torture
Of disagreement, its nearly become torture to

Disagree, where’s that one star framed solely
For thee, Jim, you aren’t the you here, I
Hold against myself the flimsy inability

To let myself go, completely, but only I
Hold that really can you believe it’s a quarter
Century since you turned that last corner forever

& fake fucking news is all the rage? sorry
Not fake fucking just fake news – fake fuck-
Ing is as establishment as the national debt

Pop-song formula, single-issue plotz & shitty
Movies making suckers cry in surround sound
I will begin a campaign to claim my fake name

We’re just shitting ideas these days Jim every
Other mug on line’s a Robert Moses building
Grass-free playgrounds in the mind rinds, oh

This negativity has to stop shopping itself
Around I only only hold cruelty against the vast
Non-body grinding bodies into numbers &

I’m seriously worried about the gentle zen
Gem of Mundo, whose anger runs whispering
Away from him looking for a kindly host

Like me to play unto wraith didn’t Eddie
Cook you broccoli once? All little kids secretly
Know how to cook for blues-addled bums



Jim Brodey


All this shattering incredulous dull-minded
Speed all this slow burn ache Stockholm
Syndromed into cuckoo clusters of badass

Fucked upholstery all these endless Wystan
The cat w/superpowers stories for unsleeping
Munchkins demanding adult brooding go into

The wood chipper the cat could swing on
People swings go all the way around the sky
Bar travel by balloons inside balloons & stride

Across Saturn’s rings just to check the grain of
Footing I should say pouring all the unbridled –
You been bridled lately? – love addressed to names

And me slumming at the sky church to get some
Something sums to come off the teen-death-shock
Chest were bald scalps or super-old-skinned beings

Scarier don’t clean your floor ever I am a princess
Of bubbly nothingness & mean nothing all the lines
I steal from Jim to make this there slanky-ass poem

Who invented ass as a demi-adjectival modifier
Anyway — someone who knew the power of the
Ass-syllable in fits of rhetoric dawn & corner-yap

It’s a precision-stress an undeniable slap of emphasis
That defeats its own generic-ass non-quality what
The fuck was we saying all the neo-classical mosaic

Brodey shmear I’m laying down to help me get
Through via unfashionable non-currency this
Absolute disaster of a current state may there be

More hoary hosts of landings on this dark star as we
Dig to un-survive through and for “the one poem
We all write out of our entire existence alive”


Note: These poems take their form, and measure of address, from the poems that make up the Panda Heart section of Jim Brodey’s posthumously published book Heart of the Breath (ed. Clark Coolidge; Hard Press, 1996). Coolidge published part of a 1988 note Brodey wrote on the poems in his preface to Heart of the Breath, the first three sentences being “My original intention for writing these poems was to take the usual so-called academic line and blow it to smithereens. To take poems that look exactly alike, ten stanzas of three lines apiece, and imbue them with extreme gracious information. Forcing out every ounce of my knowledge and experience in a pleasingly lyric form.” For my part, I knew Jim a bit as a kid — he was a family friend. But when he was going through hard times and showing up at our apartment on a regular basis in the late 80s I was a teenager, and neither of us seemed to have the capacity to communicate. Earlier this year I got heavily into reading Heart of the Breath and a few of Jim’s other books (Blues for the Egyptian Kings and Judyism, in particular), and realized I had a few things to say to Jim that I could only get at or out through imitation. — Anselm Berrigan


Anselm Berrigan is the author of Come In Alone (Wave Books, 2016), Primitive State (Edge, 2015), and Degrets (Couch Press, 2017), among others. He is also the editor of the recently released What Is Poetry? (Just kidding, I know you know): Interviews from The Poetry Project Newseltter 1983-2009.