A: I don’t have fangs.
B: I’m a porcupine.
A: I’m a—what’s the fish that blows up?
C: “I’m a blowfish.”
A: I don’t have fangs.
In a way, apostrophe is the most relevant poetic trope of the digital age. As we become more and more surrounded by language both real and virtual, we develop a familiarity with texts meant for other eyes and ears.
A: Please don’t eat me.
B: Listen, even after you’ve become a cadaver, you’re still retrievable. God is within us and he has different ways of showing it in our lives, and this is just one way of showing it.
A: Don’t eat—
B: —My friend sent you to me, assuring me that I can use you freely…
Abstract representations of space like Vignelli’s map might make the viewer imagine that she is lost in an overgrown circuit board, a geometry problem, a modern Arabesque designed to awe without representing life. Maps, after all, are always more than utilitarian schematics; at times they are expressions of faith.
A: She did not seem to understand we were talking about a comedy book and not the transcripts from the Nuremberg Trial.
B: That hamster was going to start appearing in press conferences.
A: Right? For selfish reasons, I wish she’d decided to spend more time being a genius.
B: Obviously. Efficiency is great for U.S. Steel, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense for books.
A: I want a beautiful life but I’m stuck in this Garbage World with you people.
B: You’re the one who decided to leave three lanes closed during rush hour.
A: It was interesting giving my dark side the keys to the car. I went joyriding…
But isn’t there always an unspoken “I mean” before anything you say? Before every argument, every sentence, every word? You simply draw attention to your own attempt to communicate meaning. Props to you for speaking the unspoken, for meaning what you say, and saying that you mean.
GPS gives one an easier sense of location, but its power to do so depends on a network of moving satellites, determining location as they orbit with the earth. Whatever the illusions our iPhones, Garmins, and airplane screens provide, we are all seafarers now.
Is a ballgame a series of events, disparate parts, or some kind of whole, something to catch or keep? Or is it an ever-changing probability, waiting to resolve into belonging to someone or other?
“Remember that great line from 1984? ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face—forever.’ The way I look at these recent revelations about our surveillance capacities—I think that what’s been revealed to us, essentially, is the boot of the future. This massive surveillance/intelligence system, documented by Snowden and others—this is the boot of the future. And the question is going to be, eventually, who wears the boot?”
This seems more likely, but wouldn’t this acknowledgement of superiority bring a kind of joy? If you are using your education to enforce class boundaries though grammar, then appreciate the chance to do so! That Ivy League school tuaght you to catch errors like these!
As part of PEN’s World Voices Festival, poet Eileen Myles participated in the Obsession series at the Standard, East Village. Myles’ topic was “Spoilage”…
Wear a wedding dress. That says, I care so little about this date that I’m willing to destroy any possibility of a future for us. Deranged behavior is the new effortlessness—are you following me?
“I think that poetry has a very specific kind of freedom, which has to do with almost always not knowing what you’re saying until you’re saying it, or to be more precise, being able to improvise one hundred percent of the syntax. That is a very specific type of freedom, both powerful and dangerous. It’s so easy to write a silly thing with that freedom and yet it’s so moving when you arrive at a meaning at the end of the syntax…”
A: I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language.
A: —Give me a fucking website.
A: It’s time.