What if evolution was decided by committee and revolution by mere chance? What if man was a subspecies? Don’t you remember me asking that? I’ll ask it again: what if man, as a subspecies, was woman, with tiny red wings on her thighs and pasted shut eyes? What if she flew in the sky or slept on the moon, and what if the earth was a saltless water world filled with forgetful, vengeful two-headed Ra Ra’s hitting the screen too mirrorwise to see
could none the less not blank out every note
of the four letters which his anxious eye
made out from several dot[s] of cathode ray
causing a painful tightening at the chest
or then a lurch up from the lower spine
pushing the head out with its brace of eyes
to stare down at the flooring which he then
just as the blood arrested in his vein
slowly began at that to understand
or feel as though he understood that this
widely disparaged carpet was a map
of every message which he had to get. Box sandwich! Ramen! Coulis de tomate! I went grey in the temples, grey at the neck! Solitude of the stars! You think you are with someone but you are alone. Fundamentally, piss-dry basin of regret! Try again. Salute an onion! Make yourself rich in a jar! Fortitude! Lost heart! When we tried to be… when we… when… Tryptophan in the north! Hello Kitty knew me too. Cough, sputter, silence. Old collapse! Modernity! The North! I ache! I hate you! Brigade of eaters!
I have a disease caused by chemicals and the voice. I ate diseased vegetables and cattle. I was no worse off. They tried to serve me orange juice, which made me sicker. Up one side and down another! The leaves were too big, they were gorged with water. I was attacked, I smoked, I did not dare return to the building so I had no jacket. I plunged into the woods. I boiled some chestnuts and ate even the skin. I was sick on plants. I cried, I threw up, I danced with the others, following the strange movements of their limbs in the hills, mimicking them so they would not betray me. I was unable to say how long I had been in the forest without water. I ate the leaves. Skin came off my fingers. I fell in love with a girl and I was a girl. In the dark, I sobbed where no one would see me. In the day, I was saint or hooligan, I carpet-bombed life with my demons, no one could see me. I could switch, my bones hurt, the tumours had come back, I threw them up in the toilet, I was still on the train, I was never on a train. The train had no toilet. More than 10 million square kilometers of the surface of Mars is made out of glass. “I am a fat man,” he announced, “and I jump up and down whenever I can. Hearing the clink of loose change in my pocket and feeling the rubbery bounce of my body at the same time is bliss.” “I see,” said one of the onlookers, “but all that clinking and bouncing must tax you.” “Being taxed is never a problem,” said the fat man, running his hands over the spread of his body, “I’m too big for that sort of thing.” “So, what will you do when the party is over?” asked the onlooker. “I shall ride my horse,” said the fat man, “to the edge of the empire where I’ll consider my holdings; and of course I’ll eat something. I always eat something.” I suspect this is why Kinkade’s paintings have exerted their weird, hypnotic effect on me. They are so preposterous, especially the stream-side ones; he really needed to sit down with an architect and go over the basics of drainage. In bed the scissored leg is so funny / we come immediately onto wire dolls with paper eyes. I intend to go to the office next to mine to ask some absurd unanswerable question about the body and growing old and being female but I forget to do this and instead I talk some more about the economics of higher education, the student loan industry, various other sorts of numbers. We have been doing this all year, attempting to understand the way these numbers press in on our bodies, trying to find an impossible ethics in them. I go to get back to work, absurd unanswerable question about the body and growing old and being female unasked and before I leave I am given Jennifer Moxley's Evacuations. I take it and read it immediately.
[Note: Sources: SPD blurb for Lily Hoang, The Evolutionary Revolution; Reynard Seifert, ““I tell them, ‘You never had the chance to make 7,000 women happy in one day.’””, at HTMLGIANT, 15 Apr 012; Simon Jarvis, The Unconditional, as quoted in John Armstrong, “Dipping into ‘The Unconditional’”, at Bebrowed’s Blog, 15 Apr 012; Erín Moure, “EXCERPT: from Капуста (Kapusta) a poem/play in progress”, at Joyland Poetry, 15 Apr 012; Geoff Manaugh, “Glass Hills of Mars”, at BLDG/BLOG, 15 Apr 012; Mark Strand, “The Impurity of Pleasure”, as quoted in John Gallaher, “Tax Poems in the Times”, at Nothing to Say & Saying It, 15 Apr 012; Laura Miller, “Thomas Kinkade, the George W Bush of Art”, at Salon, 9 Apr 012; Jenny Zhang, “Burping My Friend Igor” as quoted in “Jenny Zhang: Dear Jenny, we Are All Find”, at PEN, 12 Apr 012; Juliana Spahr, “I inend to go …, at Swoonrocket, 12 Apr 012]