I HEART My Cat Still Life

Heaped on a cut-crystal sentence
of average length, with two or three clauses,
one independent & the rest dependent,
the square fruit is in automatic or blue accent 2,
with a repeated line from a disclaimer
making window blinds (lowered) to prevent a migraine.

What Kenneth Goldsmith said is our screen world
is merely a thin skin under which resides miles and miles
of language, line command descriptions of systems
unfurling, fonts loading, and graphic packages
decompressing, and the html> under the floor

                                  is like a sink hole beneath the basement
                                       as I retype in brite January lite Wallace Stevens’
                                  “Sunday Morning” on my Dell laptop. Coffee
                                   & oranges in a sunny chair: I reach for a bluish apple
                                   and take a bite when a mewing comes
                                       from the Persian rug covering the DOS startup text.

It’s kittens on the job, kittens w/ quarterbacks,
kittens on the naked shoulders of firemen & police, 
kittens w/ priests! An adorable blue-eyed Siamese
poses close to basic sentences like in an early reader.
Script kitty plays w/ dust bunny. See script kitty run!

                                   What? So that kitten is clickbait?!?
Throwing glances over its shoulder like grenades,
pretty kitty runs straight to the door of the dark web
hidden behind a designer pillow on the wing-back chair,
guarded by a dozen more dust bunnies carrying AK47s.
Actual kittens held for ransom by an army of bots.

                                          You have 4 hours to locate the nearest bitcoin
                                                      ATM. YOUR TIME STARTS NOW.
                                          Okay, okay, mister booming movie trailer voice.
                                          None of this is what I had in mind when I typed “coffee & oranges”
                                                      though it’s because I typed “coffee & oranges” that I’m
                                          running into a labyrinth of illicit desire & trade,

thru the Dream Market for murder/mayhem as vender
editors shout kill rates, past the cliff cave system
with holes marked Elections & Cyber Marriages.
Who would’ve guessed that a 20th century American poet stands
above such darkness, such places of consequence?

With seconds to spare, I avoid Biblical punishments, e.g.:

  • a wreath of bees will exit from my mouth,
  • my nephew’s dorm room will catch on fire,
  • a flash flood will claim my baby grand piano.

What about Robert Hayden? John Ashbery? Jane Miller? Jorie Graham? 


Enter here carrying the last 4 digits, your mother’s maiden,
employee identification, evil eye, crucifix, carved man,
your belief in democracy, your hail mary, security question,
return policy, your order #, your code. Push aside
that boulder of disclaimer.

From Battle of Silicon Valley at Daybreak (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). Copyright © 2022 by Alexandria Peary. Used with permission of the author.