Brian Foley

Broken Numbers



The woman in the car next is singing the same song as me

& the man in the car next is singing the same song, an old want-

not we pack the world with, it puts away nights

& won’t take money. For an answer there has to be a hitch

to stand up to to quiet the vinegar, so long ago

divorced we hardly notice its once blue appeal,

its lot of cheap space giving us tone. In my radio, the roads turn

to reach around in the old way. A hydrant opens, sweeps the sidewalks

but nothing is lost. Friends, I want to take care of you

You Must Not Want To See Everything



Hope is a chemical. A scream ignited in the eye

that can’t be heard sober. To the sad: we sell smoke

to reconcile the angles wrecked in a chest, rescued

from something we would see, the alarm where living is

coming forward. It’s hard to know what to ask for.

In some cases we are expressed in flames. And there is

no personal face. And there is no muscle interested

in making the one building the fire left ours.

Holding in thirty odd years behind my eye, does it admit

a stink, like torture made in faraway places. Don’t

we become unreadable when we cease to remember

melting surrounds us? Something in me wants to know.

If we believe a sun’s simpling acid mediating the weak

gravity of joy could evaporate years of spit smeared deep

in a face: it is one less light I want to understand.

The more we know what’s in us, the more difficult

to remain calm. We sleep at night because we have to.

Awaiting Description and Embrace



If I’ve become unnecessary

I’ve not been told so to sleep

I won’t go

for brief is this reward my own If I am

dispersed by daylight within

reach of what

my theme has been

passing through

a human center before me

unnoticed to no one I am

like a soul

like a soul

closely pressed to the palm

it came from

baffled by its skill to stay forever



BRIAN FOLEY is the author of The Constitution (Black Ocean, 2014) & TOTEM (Fact-Simile Editions, 2014). His chapbook, Puritan Landfill, is forthcoming with Black Cake Records. Poems have appeared in Boston Review, Verse Daily, The Volta, Denver Quarterly, The Fanzine, Everyday Genius and elsewhere. He lives in Denver and attends the University of Denver Creative Writing PhD Program.