We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
Desperate asks, how driven batty
by climate change, can we not make out
a stranger’s silhouette in the dooryard?
How can I lick some calendars where somnolent
shepherds bear witness while porcelain
nymphs conjugate somebody else’s
irregular verb? I’m still not in anti-personnel
mode, yet that gigolo’s DNA is all over
the doorposts, from mudroom to powder room.
They were early, as usual. Can’t you guys ever
be late, we wondered, though one wouldn’t
necessarily want that either. Arriving in one piece,
jaded, is enough for some. Not to be slimed
by the lake, or weather, or accounted for
by the bruising wind may be all it needs
to recover from a weekend’s erosion. If you take into
consideration the snobbery that lets us breathe happily in pairs
for sure we’ll have traversed a veranda’s worth
of elegies, or epics. Let it mean something.
You mean in other ways that changed our lives?
Somethin’ o’ that, I says. Is that why clouds
withered scrappily and no tune finally approved
its margins? Fringed with decay all along,
it was, and if who knew better than our selves’ somber
asides they wouldn’t bet on it. But I was a
child here for a long time. I even learned to read
by the glare from that mud factory, fumed
and hectored hostile witnesses, and so
sailed down with evening to be done with penances,
haphazard scraps of truth on beauty’s trash heap.
I’d do it again in a moment, offered the chance,
but luck seldom cometh our way twice,
ye gods! We serve two masters: haddock and bream,
while crumbs muster stingily at our lips.
It was a day like any other, torn from the register.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
Our well-being depends on a better understanding of how the logic of labor has twisted our relationship with pleasure.
“I was my father’s son. My father was Nai Nai’s least favorite.” A Taiwanese American man, driven from home by a secret, reevaluates his childhood memories of his grandmother.