PoetryIssue 08 | February 2010

Four poems by Mahogany L. Browne

Brooklyn Tongue III

There is a man that cleans the vestibule with a dirty
mop. His patois is heavy like coco bread in milk. He
really isn’t the superintendent, just some man they pay
to mop over the urine and spilled beer. He never speaks
to us when we pass him. He never holds open the door,
even if our arms are heavy with groceries and shopping bags.
So we tuck our smiles in our pockets and limit our answers to
curt head nods. We hold our breath until we make it behind
our apartment door. There we will take a deep pull of Potpourri,
gingerbread and everything that reminds us of home. We stand
and wait for the assault of sticky candy and sour coffee to slide its
odious body back into the building’s main vein, where the man with
the stiff mop waits for Brooklyn to go back to normal.

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About the author

Mahogany Browne, host and curator at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, is a Cave Canem Fellow who facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. She owns an on-line marketing and distribution company for poets. Mahogany is editor of His Rib: Stories, Poems & Essays by HER and author of Destroy Rebuild & Other Reconstructions of the Human Muscle. She has released five LPs, including the live album, Sheroshima. These Brooklyn Tongue poems are from the forthcoming collection, SWAG (Penmanship Books).

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok