oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo “On TV, a show can appear once, & end, & then go on forever,”
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo one man in a bar tells another.
Everything we love we love in conflict.
oooooooooooooooooo “If you make a show & everybody likes it, bravo; if they don’t, you still had a show.”
Perfection is a kind of desire, & its end, & who would desire an end to desire?
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Someone has apparently fallen asleep in their car.
Dark lake water. Fog beneath a wood dock rises, puffs between the cracks, becomes
a slow moving topography.
oooooooooooooooo The suicide’s body, the Detective Sergeant imagines, is like an aquifer well, returning
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo like a prodigal son donations from the invisible depths.
A child, caught on the dock alone, the body floating beside him, perfects this scene.
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo These kids, he thinks, you can only protect them for so long.
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Salmonella vaccinations, special badges. Sees them
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooo sleeping arachnid—legs all over the covers, all under the covers.
In life, like in a Mexican standoff, everything points to something else.
ooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Time’s change mumbles from so many pockets.
It’s a structure that relies on alternating power, with a consistent base of workers.
ooooooooooo o oooooo The body of the writer for TV dragged upon the stone shore. Dragged to the dock.
Something is missing. One thing’s for sure, though: this will not end well.
o o They say one’s sense of the commonality of experience is determined by one’s place in the structure.
But it will end.
oooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooo Back in the sound studio, the child’s father, an aging punk rocker,
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooo ooooooooooo spins his wolfram ring around a thumb.
Call it beauty, but you can’t share real beauty.
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo The drums beat on in the distance. Something will give. Something fail.
Real beauty lies in a personal conflict from within a collective identity.
ooo oooooo His ex-wife is at the door with his son. The world, he’s been told, is his own negative interior
oooooooo ooooooo projected into space, a residual belief in the darker values of humanity made public.
It is this conflict that separates the human from the experience, but never the human
experience, nor the human from the idea of human experience.
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooo “I want more than anything for you to believe in me.
ooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooo I know I was a shit husband. But I’m not going to be a shit father.”
If you give in, just a little, to the value of there being an end, & hold fear struggling
in its place, the world becomes to a viewer the expression of perfect instances, each
in the process of folding, imperceptibly, out of existence.
ooooooooooooooo “Could cleft from your brain the idea of a symbiotic existence with others & replace it
oooooooooooooooooooooooo with a hoard of walnuts, with just a few words & a little music, & you might
oooooooooo ooooooooooooooooo thank me for it later. The limits of language are the limits of our world.”
The tattoo was just the beginning.
oooooooooooooooooooo “But I think without words, often, & with accuracy. Ideas give me the heartburn.”
The light through the bottle ambered the rest of his evening.
ooooooo oooooooooooooooooo “Sambhavna. It’s a Sanskrit word, meaning both possibility & compassion.”
The child’s face in the school bus window.
ooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooo “I will never—I’ve seen the results—I will never eat a ghost pepper.
oooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Say, you ever see anyone walking around that old mill?”
In the bare cabin in the snowy woods, a live rooster, strung upside down.
oooooooooooo oooooooooooo“You’re a good man, Bobby, goddamnit, now just shut up & breathe normal!”
& what is there left to love but randomness, as an ultimate attachment?
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo He might outrun you. But he can’t out-think you.
& that love is the conflict of desiring a thing made whole by its end & the ordering
tendencies of chance. Love is simple permutations, on display.
But to accept that you are another person’s prime experience
is to accept an end to yourself.
ooooooooooooooooooooo “You think I did all this…out of some…fucked up belief that I could live forever?
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I did this…so people could have a choice…of how to die…Sergeant.”
Simple permutations, defined & rendered to oblivion.
oooooooooooooooooo “You look like a damn Kentucky Fried Chicken wing with that sling on…Lieutenant.”
Some days, I get to be the good guy.
Some days I make do.
Joe Pan is the author of two collections of poetry, Hiccups (Augury Books) and Autobiomythography & Gallery (BAP). He is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press, serves as the fiction editor for the arts magazine Hyperallergic and as small press editor for Boog City, and is the founder of the services-oriented activist group Brooklyn Artists Helping. He lives in Brooklyn