Is this thing on?
It is on. But you are wearing it backwards. I am not your mirror. Poets aren’t mirrors. Not that they don’t say to see, they do, but it’s murky pond not storefront window. If window, then window in a locked room belowground or a rear window, blinking blinds in a morse ransom to other windows and their hostages. You can’t be sure your reflection isn’t alien. That a poet isn’t from somewhere terribly unsunlit, else. This thing is on fire. The world. I alternate between putting sparks out with my stiletto (knife not shoe… but I find the confusion instructive) and trying to burn gracefully in the alleyway, the cement courtyard, the bunker. This implies yours, or ours. And yes, our thing is on. I’m wearing the ring, the leather wristband, the tattoo, the selfie of us on the roof up against the sky because no thing is real until it is made into a listcicle or an advertisement for happiness. I was once told… I am always being told/I invite telling… I use thing too much. Thing is non-specific. As is every noun. Plain and proper. There are too many Kirstens, for example. Names are the least true. I think I became a poet because language is such an intricate liar, and somehow still blunt. You can repurpose it. Like a cable spool coffee table circa 1978. I serve soup with a measuring cup. A kitchen needs five things in it, and one of them is butter. I’m not sure what you mean by is. Sounds dirty. There is no escaping pornography, or soap. Maybe you are talking devices. All the devices are on. Always. Because the most shady. Because devious. The microphone–to catch your off-comments. The phone and television do the same even when their lights don’t blink. Is this a new thing, this always being on? Probably not. Only everything is out in the open now, and that is not the good that it sounds. It is not freedom to accept everything. I am choice-weary and powerless. You are surveilled. Webcammed. Sold to. Only our own quantity to save us, this flooding language becoming the kind of privacy had in a tenement–there’s an algorithm for that. It is possible though improbable that I would be plucked out of the spew by a hand above the maze. You, by another hand, might be hanged by laundrywire between redbrick and brownstone. A question I have always had: why is laundrywire so cruel? A poet, or a person, could in this way be repurposed into a kind of warning, the last flag flown before gentrification sets in in earnest. By which I mean the eradication of all our diseases, i..e. the poor, the private, all we code beneath vagary in an attempt to signal the desire to escape. Is this thing on? Then I’ve said too much already.