Bushwick: Latex Flat

By D. Nurkse D. Nurkse


Sadness of just-painted rooms.   
We clean our tools   
meticulously, as if currying horses:   
the little nervous sash brush   
to be combed and primped,   
the fat old four-inchers   
that lap up space   
to be wrapped and groomed,   
the ceiling rollers,   
the little pencils   
that cover nailheads   
with oak gloss,   
to be counted and packed:   
camped on our dropsheets   
we stare across gleaming floors   
at the door and beyond it   
the old city full of old rumors   
of conspiracies, gunshots, market crashes:   
with a little mallet   
we tap our lids closed,   
holding our breath, holding our lives   
in suspension for a moment:   
an extra drop will ruin everything.

Poem copyright ©2007 by D. Nurkse, whose newest book of poetry The Border Kingdom, is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. Poem reprinted from Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn, ed., Julia Spicher Kasdorf & Michael Tyrrell, New York University Press, 2007, by permission of D. Nurkse.

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Poet D. Nurkse

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 D.  Nurkse


D. Nurkse is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Rules of Paradise (2001), The Fall (2003), and The Border Kingdom (2008). His parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II—his Estonian father worked for the League of Nations in Vienna, his mother was an artist—and moved to New York. Nurkse’s family moved back to live in Europe for a number of years, returning to the United States around the time of the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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