NEW KIND OF IMPRINT

I.

Blackest color black, czarnuszka, or
All-powerful ring: (no) fear excuses
Surrender, a new kind of imprint on
This world and others like it: dependent
On no man, woman, ring, exploit kit,
Negative ions, blandness as a form
Of violence, revivals that never end.

No, old man, we may not be capable
Of your venom, coded mistakes, or
Apocalyptic needling: above the roofs
Where love and hate collide, at least
We want to shoot for compassion.

II.

They say stay close to the nature,
It will never fail you: its bass throbs,
Gelatinous treble, unsteady shapes.

To become more animalistic when
You don’t know what’s next: last year
Was an essential arrhythmia, one this
Part of the world attempts to repress.

Bless them that curse you: there is
The ancient and there is the modern,
And then there is the steam engine
Cutting through jungles to deliver you
To a new house without a roof.

III.

Weekly fluctuations of light and dark,
Like a 17th century of absolute power
And cost of living: deterritorialize with
The left hand and reterritorialize
With the right: to be battle-scarred
Is to enter valiantly the graphene era.

Your financial adviser confirms that
We’re all already fletched anyway,
Recommends taking on more risk and
Going world-core up in this piece.

To prove yourself more than capable
More than twice: “illiberal” becoming
Much too much the hottest buzzword
In these parts: don’t worry, friend,
The drones are just our messengers.

What a time to be alive: dissatisfied
Without measure, leaving east for
West, for those who want you to be
Happy where nothing happens anymore.

IV.

A worker unloads coal piece by piece
From a train in the freezing sleet of
Warsaw, later tearing into a national
Pork cutlet, drinking and worshiping
Against the iron residue of history.

There’s a Slavic Om in the low end,
An interior landscape: a brooding man
Reincarnated in a sinister city built
Of mythical local concrete, finally
Realizing his birth country was far
Too young and amnesiac to hold him.

Reinvention does occur in each
Cardinal direction: we wonder what
To congratulate him for on social media:
One voice says change, the other werk:
So much for living on superstition.

V.

Thing is, feeling good is overrated, so
Is happiness: to discover the Japanese
Vaporwave track you want played at
Your funeral, good as it’s gonna get.

To become the sum of stolen souls, you
Discovered long ago, another country
Is another self: buttoned up, perfumed,
Perfect etiquette and calm with signet,
Watch and Wigens: wander, change.

To dream of views from the Chuo Line,
Dang: that’s all the fifteen year-old
American language you can recall now.

VI.

Man yearning for immortality is a kind
Of migrant: you may even be by now
An immigrant from the East, historicized,
Preparing to travel by bus with a jar
Of pickles and unshakable vowel habits.

No reason you cannot move back to the
Drums, though few seem interested in
Compensating your foreign stakes until
These suburbanites finally learn to stop
Dropping the “t” from international.

Digital stacks of neon pink and pale blue
Remind you that upon moving to the flat
Lands, you must cultivate a sense of
Attraction to the mountain: new normal.

VII.

The brain needs release, a sluice,
Conduit (for sale): awkward objects
Bought and sold, even more awkward
Objectives slipping down the timelines:
Beards graying, conifers sawed upon,
E-mails about those darn squirrels.

You don’t need to say something good
Needs to happen often, if at all, not
With this gap in the real: mutual
Incomprehension remains the best
Strategy: she is country, perpetual
Stranger, and synthesis of exile.

VIII.

Some speech begins after death, when
Americanization cannot be measured:
Foreigners everywhere, the world a far
More transparent institution, this the
World that is changing technology.

They tell you what you are worth, that
You can never be overdressed or over-
Educated: asphalt and chalk, nothing
In vain, a love letter to what we are
Losing in the United States and America.

Next up, the burial ground for hubcaps
Lost off Eastern European cars: slow
Fades, memorized twilights of empire,
Your mother bugging you for weeks
To watch a YouTube of baby elephants
While declaring you’re not happy,
You’re moody: where there’s smoke.

IX.

No ghost cities in China where no one
Moves in declaring “I love this” and
“I don’t love that,” none drooling
Over dreams of granite countertops.

But plenty of ghost malls in Ohio,
Plenty of memories rooting around
For discounts on white Reeboks,
Lava lamps, dusty Browns snapbacks.

Casual analysis paralysis: the bright,
Colorful grotesk, the narcissism
Of small differences between a land
Where God is on vacation, drowning
In piña coladas and one where God
Wants to put a cigarette out in your eye:
You know, in Podkarpacia they’ve never
Heard of ice-cream headaches, and
They sure do love their ice cream.

X.

You can either change the way you live
Or change the way they live: let’s take
Some lessons in posing and remain well
Fed, start qualifying the ugliness
We are leaving, taking, and going to.

You’ve heard of objects so fake they
Must be real, crafted by mustachioed
Denim obsessives in estranged interiors
As a way to encourage the interplay
Of high and low: new city, new career.

To change, to impose self-discipline
And start again: you are the coyote
Escaping the crack slash canyon,
Exchanging the down-poor for a
Tough elegance and cordial invitation.

XI.

You will not die in bed, so use that
As an excuse to take a nap: a spell
Cast against the world of absolute
Nonsense, one that in any other city
You’d be humming: tick tock tick tock.

He has a great image, funny, smart,
Engaged: documentaries across
Disciplines, architecture as visual
Music: Oslo 1971, Cleveland 1989,
Krakow 2005, Rotterdam 2016.

XII.

There were few reports on the post-
Explosion smells of blood and fruit
Except to clarify that everyone needs
An excuse not to move anymore,
An excuse some will never make.

You went from the third, first, second,
Then first world again, went down
Into the catacombs of the printed web
By mirroring the gatekeepers, even
Reminding them of this new kind
Of imprint: the night is also a sun.

Seems we’re switching out, swapping
Out something every other day,
Some more human than human: but
We cannot stop wandering, the
Unborn calling out to us, or the dead,
You are rarely sure which: tick tock.

XIII.

Meet a veteran on the interface whose
Wife knows your parents through her
Dental office job in the Midwest:
Next time you’re in town, maybe get
A beer on the safest block of downtown
And visit your cousin’s BBQ joint, he
Is really doing something with this
Joke of a surname you share.

They want to Balkanize the Internet
When they write “I’m crying now,”
But others will stay strong tweeting
The thousand points of blight, the
Revelation of bacon on a stick.

Every Monday morning you sweat out
(Swap out) garlic and whiskey: so
Far you’ve survived without but
Plenty have made you weep while
Playing drums, so be glad enough
At her theoretical neutrality.

XIV.

You must wander, change, and forget
These crude metaphors, elemental
Inheritors, us: your cousins, friends,
Anyone who never asks and you
Never ask about, new normal.

Though you do need to be reminded
Of others’ exile, that most are bereft,
Given nothing when they leave, not
Even chocolate or a smoked ham, that
The world taketh away when you leave
The location of your privilege for
A safe place for future has-beens.

The flat earth society has members
All around the globe, lethargic
In the shadows of noon: denying that
Words generate things instead of
The other way around, that the sun
Can be halted by making your way
To the Centrum for another bottle.

XV.

Reinstall these nomadic visions by
Giving yourself a black eye one
Saturday afternoon, by tearing up
The clothes you just purchased,
By discussing what we talk about
When we talk about prose-poems.

When the new catch-all is “perma-war”
And the byline is “this is never going
Away,” pray tell, favorite son
Of Massillon, what should “rekindle”
Mean to us destructive characters,
Us incorrigible Rust Belt romantics?

XVI.

All the brutes, that hint of violence
In their cypress-dark eyes, they love
Stories in a way you cannot understand:
Things are never simple when searching
For the fourth freedom, when you feel
You must write, “I am a writer, so.”

Computers learn our racism: we live
In a time when when it’s possible to
Say “the algorithm did it” and keep
Identity-less, wander, transition.

The problem of how to live in this land
Has outfaced all attempts to escape
Or transcend it: your burden remains
The hat you do not leave home without.

XVII.

You are moved like a youth by music,
Manipulated like an adult by music:
You employ the techné of forgetting
And gentle sounds in tough gestures
When posting inner-national prospects
On obscure corners of the inner-net.

If it is true we learn about the future
By finding where it’s hidden in the past,
Let us move on to the Multi-Image City,
Through the juncture and the split road:
Tick tick tick tock: let us be flung.

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2 thoughts on “NEW KIND OF IMPRINT

  1. sanberdooboy says:

    in this work so much to comment on, but what keeps throbbing in my head is the sense of threat manifested in many ways — of physical violence, losing cultural identity, becoming a social media cypher, losing the ability to have mercy, losing everything because of ignorance, even of living in cleveland. in some ways your work reminds me of philip levine’s, perhaps because he wrote so much about working in the factories of another midwestern city, detroit. but you already know of him, i’m sure.

    • You really catch the darkness in my work and make me realize it’s darker than I initially think! Which I appreciate. All of those themes you mention are very much there, but I can only hope that by writing out such things, I neutralize the threats to an extent. This has become one of my main reasons for writing, after all.

      I’ve read a little Philip Levine, need to look into more of him after your connection.

      Thanks as always for reading and commenting!

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