Poetry: Brad Liening

I love riding in limos
It doesn't matter where. Once

I was riding in a limo
and I got a really good idea

for a whole book about
a powerful young man

who rides in a limo. Then
I thought that that idea

might actually be lame.
Who’d want to read about

that? Who’d want to read
an entire story about some rich guy

who rides across a city
that used to be synonymous

with glamour, wealth, and power
but now embodies the inevitable

corruption that issues
from prolonged exposure

to the same? I mean,
the hollow anti-hero

and the myriad miseries wrought
by his archetypal hands

isn’t exactly new. And it’s not
like they’d make a movie

out of it starring a young,
ascendant heartthrob with

thick hair and a wide smile,
one coming off a string

of commercially successful
but critically reviled films,

looking to make an artistic statement,
and even if they did all this,

it’s not like I’d take a limo
to the premiere, packed though it’d be

with the rich and the famous
and their immense, knowable hearts,

I’m an important, post-war
American writer, after all,

and if I did go, I’d have to
remain inconspicuous, maybe

even wear a disguise like a wig
or some kind of fancy mask…

then again, riding in a limo
and sipping champagne

while gazing at the throngs
huddled on gray sidewalks

through the eyeholes of a mask
and a limo’s tinted glass

to a premiere of a movie based
on a book you wrote based

on riding in a limo
is one of life’s rarest

and most exquisite
post-war pleasures.


All rights reserved to Brad Liening.

Poetry: Avrom Sutzkever, trans. by Zackary Sholem Berger

Poetry: Widow Mother