Poet Of The Week

Morgan Boyle

     February 27–March 5, 2023

Morgan Boyle is a poet from Nebraska currently based in Ridgewood, Queens. Her work can be found in FENCE, HAD, Anti-Heroin Chic and dream boy book club, among other journals, as well as in Peach Mag’s Something Right Here anthology. Boyle is a two-time winner of Poem of the Month honors at the Brooklyn Poets Yawp, including for the poem below. She can be found on IG @morgan.le_fay and Twitter @morganlefay777, where she was briefly banned for cyberbullying the moon. On Friday, March 3, she will be a featured poet along with Joshua Garcia at the Brooklyn Poets Friday Night Open.

Winter After Fall


been painting my eyes dark and getting plastered in the park

in lieu of words i’ve vomited in the bushes on the hill

it wasn’t a poem because it wasn’t a poetic sadness

poetic sadness isn’t wet doesn’t spatter

poetic empathy isn’t blurred eyes from crown heights corner liquor store love

in the bushes in the park pissing in the dark

friend posted up as sentinel

it wasn’t supposed to be like this

at the beginning it was eight hours of sleep and the softness of home

slipping into words into digital messages

eyefucking strangers on soulful walks

all i could do without touching another body

now it’s been almost a year and i’m eyefucking

on the street eyefucking on the train eyefucking in the

photos i take and send to strangers whose bodies

i don’t know and i miss the not knowing

the unknowing the feeling and touching and thinking

that they could be anything and anyone

and the parks and the streets are the only things i explore now

staring down neon signs that were new to me in april


the newness of april

stretching fingers toes entire limbs

stretched my head into april who was april

who was i in april

god that newness

the poems i wrote in a soft world free of work and full of sorrow

nothing like the fear of death and lack of work to kick a body

january came dark

winter came dark

i came darkly in a world free of good porn

in my bed yesterday or was it the day before

the bodies are lacking

my body is lacking

the mirror in my room is too big and all i can see is my body that should be old to me

new to me in the constant scrutiny i got a tattoo

to solidify my old body in my new head but every time i wake up in the mirror

i always wake up in the mirror i sit up and i am the first thing i see

i see dissonance the dissonance of body of mind of tattooed self of stupidity

i move through stupidity never having felt stupid

wake up as a new person every unnumbered day and look

into the dissonant and dare not to feel sick or stupid or sad or

concerned it’s been almost two years since i’ve seen my family

will they notice that i’ve aged

have i aged

can i be stuck at a young 28 until i can throw my body

back into the pit

the human race never wants to work again

let the government take care of us and let us be ourselves

sad people lonely people romantic people building monuments to the dead

until we cross that mysterious comforting line and join the souls

hanging in the ether i think that we as a people

we as a people with our farting lovely idiosyncrasies as a strange little

race hanging in space could build something new, something striking

if none of this existed and instead we were just

given, allowed our time

the time we were bestowed by being born into a world that is made up

you were gonna fuck me on the west side in the dark by the hudson

and you were an enigma from two years ago who burned a

cop car at the right time and i was gonna let you

hands on my thighs skirt rolled up

staring into the depths of the river that would

make me grow gills if you decided to pull out

and throw me in

throw me in

give me the gills

give me the bodies and the sunken cars

is freedom to be found in the third arm

and the second head

and the smarter brain

that i’ll grow at the bottom of the hudson

maybe i’ll crawl out a drowned hideous creature

horrifying enough to be paid to exist in solitude

i’ll move into a house on a hill

just let me be yr 21st-century recluse

give me the time back and maybe i’ll write something worthwhile

w/ a stipend i’ll write love letters to friends and mean them

i was on my bike coming home from work and there was one man

in the hudson in a wetsuit mouth full of tainted water

yelling happily at one old man on shore and i took a quick video of his joy in

pollution interspersed with videos of a nut truck

and we all laughed at him

but hell maybe he and his hidden wetsuited gills

are better off than my 9–5 10–6 11–7 some saturdays

after all the pandemic is lonely i am lonely my bed is lonely

and i am hot online

loneliness has bred nothing but photos with nothing in them

streets filled with only me

if my grandma dies i’m gonna tear the world apart

don’t i know it


Brooklyn Poets · Morgan Boyle, "Winter After Fall"

Tell us about the making of this poem.

This was a pandemic poem. I was living in Brooklyn and had gone to Manhattan to see my friend Catherine and we had a couple drinks on the cold sidewalk and missed one another so much and had so much to talk about, but the pandemic was still going on and we didn’t feel comfortable indoors so we talked until our toes went numb and parted ways. I was frustrated by the fact that we were all encouraged to go to work without experiencing social outlets. I missed everyone so much.

What are you working on right now?

I wrote three poems yesterday that I am proud of. One is about eggs, one is about selling my cat tree on Facebook Marketplace, one is about being a little hungover and having trouble buying Gatorade at the corner store. I’d like to write a book or a chapbook someday.

What’s a good day for you?

A good day is a day that is beautiful and I wake up early and finish my tasks and see my friends and maybe we are dancing or at a good party and no one is at work.

What brought you to Brooklyn?

I tried to move to Brooklyn from Astoria, Queens, and live alone in a suspiciously cheap Crown Heights studio. Just my luck it was fully infested—top, bottom, out the walls—with roaches. If it’s cheap, there’s a reason. I ended up moving in with Craigslist roommates in Clinton Hill in mid-February. Two weeks later, the city shut down and those were my pandemic people: an opera-singing therapist and an interior designer. Luckily, they were lovely.

I came to New York from Nebraska six and a half years ago. Having already met nearly everyone I’d wanted to meet in Nebraska, I came to New York to be a librarian. I became a librarian and stayed in New York because it is such a good place to be and I have met wonderful people that I care about deeply.

Tell us about your neighborhood in Brooklyn. How long did you live there? What did you like about it? How has it changed? How does it compare to other neighborhoods or places you’ve lived?

I lived in Clinton Hill, on Fulton St above the Mr. Melon (I love you, Mr. Melon!). I was equidistant between Fort Greene Park and Prospect Park. I spent a lot of time lying in the grass in the parks. I also spent many days walking to Crown Heights to see my friend Michelle. I wandered all over Brooklyn by bike and on foot and took lots of pictures.

Ridgewood, Queens, is home for me now. I love Ridgewood so much. I’ve only lived here since 2021, but this is where my friends are. It’s changing always as gentrification happens (I am part of this wave). My favorite bodega with the best al pastor tacos closed down last year and I was so sad. This is my favorite New York neighborhood that I have lived in, as I have a lot of friends within walking distance. I have a drawer full of friends’ keys on goofy keychains so I can visit everyone’s cats when they’re out of town.

Share with us a defining Brooklyn experience, good, bad, or in between.

Once, on the bike ride home after a very long, lovely day in the sun at Prospect Park, my friend Paul (a fellow Nebraskan) and I came across a full opera happening outside of a brownstone in Bed-Stuy. An opera company was using the brownstone yard as a stage and we were seeing their dress rehearsal. We pulled our bikes over and sat on the sidewalk and watched the opera for quite a while and I nearly cried, it was all so lovely.

What does a poetry community mean to you? Have you found that here? Why or why not?

A poetry community means everything! People are inspiring and brilliant and it’s been very good learning from all of the great poets I’ve met in New York. I have found a poetry community here and they are the smartest and most welcoming people. I feel lucky to know them and have created more and better work as a direct result of these relationships.

Tell us about some Brooklyn poets who have been important to you.

Biggie Smalls and Hettie Jones and everyone I know who’s writing bangers in Brooklyn. The list is long and would be annoying and I’d forget somebody I meant to put on it, so I won’t write it out.

Tell us about the last book(s) and/or poem(s) that stood out to you and why.

I work for the New York Public Library and last year was on the poetry committee. We created the NYPL’s best poetry books of 2022 list. I read so many books, and the standouts for me were: Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die by Tawanda Mulalu, Mothman Apologia by Robert Wood Lynn, Flowers as Mind Control by Laura Minor, Constellation Route by Matthew Olzmann, Path of Totality by Niina Pollari, Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking by C. T. Salazar and Togetherness by Wo Chan. I saw Tawanda Mulalu and Wo Chan read together at Brooklyn Poets and it was one of the best readings I saw last year.

What are some books or poems you’ve been meaning to read for years and still haven’t gotten to?

I had to delve into my files for this (my files are horrifying). I’ve always wanted to read Muriel Rukeyser, June Jordan, (more) Audre Lorde, (more) Terrance Hayes, Morgan Parker and many others. The Blessed and Beautiful Seth Leeper just recommended Kim Addonizio to me, so while it hasn’t been years, I have another poet to read.

Describe your reading process. Do you read one book at a time, cover to cover, or dip in and out of multiple books? Do you plan out your reading in advance or discover your next read at random? Do you prefer physical books or digital texts? Are you a note-taker?

I read one book at a time. I never have the brain capacity to read multiple. I like reading poetry books aloud best. I am not as intentional about reading as maybe I should be. I like books and I like reading books that are in front of me. If I go somewhere and the books that are in front of me are books that I want to read aloud to my cat, great!

What’s one thing you’d like to try in a poem or sequence of poems that you haven’t tried before?

I do a fair amount of poetic vomiting. That’s not a great word for it but it’s a bit what it feels like. I’m a busy person and I run around a lot. Poems are typically written on the train or the platform in between work or other activities. I’d like to be more specific about things, more intentional. I’d like to write poems with punctuation, with form, floating poems with their feet off the ground, at least for a little while, just for a change.

Where are some places you like to read and write (besides home, assuming you like to be there)?

I like to write on the subway because it doesn’t make me sick like the bus does. The local train is good for slower-moving poems and the express train is good for frantic poems. The platform is for editing.

What are some Brooklyn spaces you love? Why?

There’s this funny bench all by itself on this pretty platform in Fort Greene Park and I like sitting there and reading books and in 2020 the whole place was just me reading Alice Notley on the bench surrounded by a group of people taking private kickboxing classes at the same time and I thought that was nice.

Fill in the blanks in these lines by Whitman:

I celebrate a complete breakfast,

And what I give to you does not include breakfast cereal,

For every overpriced sugary breakfast cereal commercial has lied to me as good as it has lied to you.

Why Brooklyn?

I don’t believe in fate or anything but also I was always gonna end up in the vicinity, so much stuff has happened and I’m so happy to be here.