Acta Diurna

Laynie Browne


Of course there are plenty of men who behave like elephants.


Women of a certain class were rarely alone.


You might expect to get crushed or maybe torn to pieces.


Characters across sky, tinting snow with streaks of gold and blue.


Even when attending to the most intimate parts of their bodies.


I had actually convinced myself that buying books is the same as reading.


Selling Dutch “olykoet” (oil cake) in 1673 from a shop in New Amsterdam, today’s Manhattan


Bare, save for a satin bodysuit.


Never live without beautiful books.


They use the same wavelengths that prevent us from sleeping to make us more awake early in the day.


There is really no downside to this intervention.


He was happier when he made $12 a month as a teacher.


Invisible with age.


Women’s dynamic biology. Think of serotonin.


A calm confrontation.


It’s possible to run a computer on water droplets.


Crying isn’t just about sadness.


The knowledge that another person isn’t you.


Ideal times to skirt the sidewalk madness.


People are gorging. That’s why it’s not intimate.


Non-synthetic emotions. Now you have permission to give voice to fantasies because of how much power they have in real life.


Hitting people with bulky bags, slow walking or clogging up prime jaywalking territory.


Their lives were, in a sense, communal property.


Carrying a mattress around campus all year.


Friends or strangers spontaneously step forward to help.


He keeps accusing me, while I embrace him, of something in a dream he cannot remember.


A sentence between public and private.


In a long, slightly transparent nightgownlike dress.


Hardly noticing that we had no need of handwriting anymore.


What happens here, no one knows. Another universe? Oblivion? The back of a bookcase?


The most private moments in a woman’s day, as she washes her hair, buttons her dress.


No matter how much you take care of them, this disjunction between reality and image is jarring.


You could call it kind of psychosexual obesity.


Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.


Bottle-fed, sleepy and wobbly on their legs.


Author’s Note: Acta Diurna is a series of sentences from newspapers, a daybook compressed, a little treasury of false chatter, a magpie, gazetta or farthing coin, a spectator, countable rags, forecasts carved in metal and stone, a folio of folly handwritten on silk, a list, a metonymical post and a global body of text.


Laynie-Browne - headshotLaynie Browne is the author of twelve collections of poetry and two novels. Her most recent collections of poems include P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel 2015), Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press 2015) and  Lost Parkour Ps(alms), in two editions, one in English, and another in French, from Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havré (2014). She is a 2014 Pew Fellow.  She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.




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