Emilyn Brodsky Reacts to Dolan Morgan’s “Insignificana”


Dolan Morgan’s new story collection Insignificana includes 22 illustrations by the author. To celebrate the release of the book, Morgan asked three of his favorite writers to create responses to the images. Poet Allyson Paty, fiction writer Jessica Lee Richardson, and musician Emilyn Brodsky each received three illustrations and free reign to do whatever they want. Below, find the third set of illustrations and Brodsky’s reply.

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Three pieces by Emilyn Brodsky


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you got that good good construct of time
you got that high class construct of time
you got that vestigial tail
you got that inability to adapt
you got that jurassic technology

you pretend you’re a seventeenth century duke
you pretend you’re a famous composer
you pretend you’re a piece of carbon paper
you desperately search for your adjective

you are a construct in a construct
and you’re eating it slowly
your jaw is popping
you’re jawing and no one is listening and
you’re this stupid endless construct
of time and music and class and want and description and
it really pleases me to know that i could disappear you here
if i were to say
you are not even an epithet
for a facsimile of the things you pretend to be
the pleasure i get from that knowledge
is enough to keep you safe today
is enough to keep you struggling

you got that death cheated
you got that struggle
you got that sound in your ear
you got that lucky bastard


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don’t forget your arms’ location on your body
or they will rise up an army against you

don’t forget you wrote a letter to the states
you’d yet to visit and promised them better

don’t forget your fear of men or you will wake up
and find yourself sewn permanently to a lawn mower
singing a swan song that goes

don’t forget the eczema behind the ears of the man
who bailed you out of your own body

don’t forgo forgetting dementia runs in your family
don’t run you’ll never be safe anyways


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wrote the feeling of loss wrong
wrote it as lost
and laughed
assumed i’d accidentally stumbled on the truth
but knocked my teeth out in the moment of impact

having swallowed one nine eleven joke too many
having had to play the parent from inside the womb
a mouth full of warm blood was and always will be

a comfort like a weighted blanket
or the feeling of being lost
nothing like the feeling of loss which
is like when the blood congeals and it’s not
a beautiful thickener it’s a choking joke
and laughing
is not an option anymore


Emilyn Brodsky was born the night of hurricane Gloria in the suburbs of New York City. She plays the ukulele and writes simple songs that she sings with torrential enthusiasm. Her most recent album is “Emilyn Brodsky Eats Her Feelings.” You can watch the video for the song “Born Again” here.

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