The Mysteries of Brooklyn

A meditation on memory in verse

Photo: Steven Pisano

Last night on Court Street in Brooklyn so fair
I saw a man with his arm in the air
And stuffed in the fist that he held to his face
A grayish contraption connected in place
By a long silver coil that wrapped like a thread
From a box on the sidewalk right up to his head

Into this odd gadget he shouted and yelled
But then he’d go quiet, his voice somehow quelled
By a sound coming out of the top of the thing
Which I swear right before I had heard give a ring
I couldn’t quite place it, this talking machine
Though it seemed in the past it was something I’d seen

I’m certain this object I’d previously known
I was sure if I thought I’d flash back on my own
And I would have stayed longer to try to recall
But the old stuff in Brooklyn, you can’t place it all
So many strange customs in vintage detail
Then I spent thirteen bucks on a juice pressed from kale