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  • As it is, and: Capitulation
  • Jen Hofer (bio)

As it is

As it is for all humans, she said, and it was undeniably true, many other humans interacted with them. The inky sky swells to incorporate us, accommodating even our most baroque market forces. The concave sky recedes, diminishing returns, staunch support via tourniquet and assembly line. As if, she claimed, totally within reason, they became infected with something that quietly added genetic material to all parts of their body as it slowly mutated all of their cells into some other shape. Suspension of disbelief. Bridges, rails, birds, trees damaged by natural forces. The story we were about to relate when something else happened. Suspension of belief. Floating colonies, lost hives, transcontinental cargo systems, connective tissues ripped from their anchoring bone or stone. The comment we failed to make while we had the chance. The moment, as moments will, passed. They recognized, she in turn noted, and rightfully so, the specificity of their thoughts and this helped them to understand that their thoughts were of this time, this moment. And how in the history of the human, they were short-term and historically and politically specific thoughts. Pretty was as pretty did, we might have said under other circumstances. But circumstances were what they were so instead we bombed the fuck out of them. When they wrote, she wrote [End Page 163] with incontrovertible accuracy, they wrote as war machine. When they wrote, they wrote as ideological state apparatus. When they wrote, they wrote as military-industrial complex. The list went on and on. Something else might include raindrops falling up in a flurrying motion, an abandoned radio station, the fact that most things are by the side of the road already or end up there, falling in love or falling out of love, interacting with humans in a crisp or cloudy or pollinated way, interacting with humans in a business sort of way with specific interactive intent that may or may not be satisfied, interacting with humans in an animal way which, it can be definitively argued, is a human way. Because what they really wanted, she indicated with utterly justified zeal, was constantly to be saying they were complicit with all sorts of things, even things that happened without their consent but happened nonetheless and continued to happen also without their consent. Something else might include the tone of voice one minimum wage worker uses to address another, the posture a person assumes as they step up to the counter, the exact change deposited in a machine dispensing plastic cards used only once to transit the city at medium-high speeds, the misplaced apostrophe that makes us possess when we want to contract and vice versa, the store called “little finger” selling something indiscernible to an undesiring clientele. Something else might include insects having multiple legs, waving and quavery, pests against the passiflora vine polka dotted yet not pleasing, rather alarming, a claim to be poison- free which points to poisons nearly everywhere else. Something else might be ubiquitously available for free, but we just don’t see it. Something else yet again might comprise an inverted pyramid scheme, a spilled funnel, a tunnel which dead ends into a small house on the site of a former mine, a non-dynamic field of statistical observation punctuated by the unlikely sizzling sound of crickets on a heavily trafficked avenue, actuated by a false-bottomed beginning with its lid propped open. They wrote for themselves, she pointed out quite correctly, because they wrote to figure out things that they could not figure out otherwise, things they could not figure out just by thinking. They needed writing. They needed [End Page 164] poetry because it reshaped their mind, because it resorted things in different, sometimes beautiful, sometimes troubling patterns. They especially needed poetry to think with others. But is not need relative? There are lots of reasons this might not matter. The shift in tone or timbre of the air as it sweeps up our skirt in late-summer tangles, the not-blue of blueberries, the not-blue of blood, an illness with sudden onset and no cure, an illness with...


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pp. 163-171
Launched on MUSE
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