by Joshua Pollock
Though nuclear fission allows
humans to invade the depths of
time like saboteurs with
geological pretensions, you still
talk about goals and deadlines as
if your lifespan was longer than
a single frame in a sustained film
playing out before hoards of
bored plutonium. Of course there
are forces that police our days
and nights, but throughout the
universe teleportation is more
common than careers or
landlords or elections or masters
of fine art.
The real is a rootbound houseplant abandoned in a
forest. An arbitrary rule inscribed into the soft flesh
of brief bodies.
The sun gives me chills while I
walk across the tops of fallen
buildings. The future: viral owl
active shooter beluga spook. Our
most imminent eschatology is
Here despair pierces all inner space
riding the oscillations of cell signals
irradiating atmospheres with irritation.
Would it be better to have died a young
deity or continue to crawl the earth,
assuming you knew better? Some
bastards want it all. I’ll have to content
myself with the lick of May’s lewd rain
and an ephemeral hallucination of
uncontrolled fight. I’ll have to be okay
with one soggy cigarette and zero
understanding of how time passes,
consoled by the call of a raven on a
telephone wire, with loose maneuvers to
avoid expectations. Imagine being so
heavy that you think credit ratings exist
but levitation doesn’t.
Everything up in the air
I move around with my mind.
A passport, like money, is only given
symbolic meaning through the exclusion
of others by military enforcement and I
want to convulse with you as tall grass
billows in wind, as supernovas expel
molten elements, as a frenzy of swifts
emerges from a smokestack at dawn.
What a waste of a body—to be so empty
of desire you would make plans for the
future. No judge can judge me,
civilization is headless fowl, and the law
a fading superstition. When we break the
glass of our embrace, ghosts, realer than
speed limits, will drift to an old continent
of vapor and lava where everything
happens by accident.
The skull is packed with
coils of temporal ropes,
knotted and frayed,
looping through eyeholes
and fastening a nervous
system before dropping
slack out of a hanging jaw
or pulling marionette
fingers across electric
scrolls. A life is not lived
in just three dimensions.
Rhythms converge and
depart, a halo can be holy
or can burn your hair off,
held down, kicked in a
vacant lot, the night sky
My torso is dark inside when the thought knifes
through opaque bone and allows waves of light to
penetrate a cardiac mass, like a blue scarab, its
copper legs poke into pink, twitch. I clothe myself in
paper and fern fronds so no one will notice the
aperture, but new objects keep finding their way in. I
try to sweep out purple dahlia petals, dry leaves,
opium poppies, pen caps and cryptic notes written
on liquor store receipts, plastic bags and cigarette
butts, it keeps going. Mostly loose, unconnected to
each other or my daily life, which is the only one I
have. I’ve let enough go that I can pause and feel
the evening light like expanding spinal vertebrae.
The cemetery feels fresher than the shopping center.
How thin a stratum will all this concrete press into?
I hear a voice in my head that
the language of yellow street lights on wet
asphalt to the click of dog paws on tiled floor
and I wonder why it feels so still on a
planet reeling through space.
Out of riparian miasma comes a drone, low and, bird
song. There are no wrong notes if you let go of the
demands of the market. Is that true? Noise— elastic,
spiked or curving, a fabric, and even the air is
crowded with optics and intelligent weapons.
Repetition can be comforting, a plush casket, or
uncanny. What I desire is imperceptible, often
clipped with highs and lows, the intrusion of vertigo.
It’s sad but apt that the monument to the revolution
is immobile, sandstone monolith, its fake flame an
orange plastic bag stuck on an upturned fan, or
uncanny. The casino across the street rotates at the
same exact speed. Church bell dongs and his
orbital broke in one blow. The clatter of raining
spoons on rooftops or the staccato tap of running
wingtips. It just takes one tiny fraction of a
Tiananmen in your hometown to know what’s what.
The disenchantment of the world looks dazzling, but
still, after a violent epiphany emerges there’s no
unseeing, its ripples frame a reassessment of what
life entails and should.
There is that dust that rides in
on springtime winds and
catches in lung, clotted eye,
frothing nose. It comes from
nowhere communicable and
coats the city in matte tedium.
Cracks, fractures, and
camouflaged seams exposed
with soot and the world is a
patient ruin with no shine to
hide behind. Below there are
sunken cities where hidden
configurations thaw towards
rebirth, above there is nebulous
cloud and an ocean of tar that
will consume time with its
Drift, rogue planet,
there is nowhere else