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.
Turns out the whole time I was on the wrong veranda,
the wrong island, with the wrong crew,
swamped by low grade talk about high grade bonds.
The porch steps swarmed with Italian leather.
A band of natives navigated the lawn in bare feet
so as not to disturb the plantings.
A splinter had announced itself to my palm
and I worked with nearly biblical stoicism
to dislodge it. An overweight mime appeared
and, without glancing up or speaking a word,
ate a heaping plate of tangible pasta, then left.
A congressman juggled chainsaws until the burnt
gasoline became an irritant and he was bullied back
to his yacht. A set of unicyclists in leathers
rode past, making infantile frowns.
Meanwhile, the splinter. I went indoors
seeking implements, iodine, a liquor chest,
& found myself before a phalanx of photoed
and portraitured family that to me meant squat.
Fireworks came to fruition at the window,
on a nearby island, and it occurred to me—
my island, my pyrotechnics lay elsewhere.
This has happened before, when I, carting
letters from the mailroom, am stopped
by a pinstriped suit with a topknot of grayish hair.
The suit smells of currency and wears on its wrist
a timepiece that mocks me with its accents.
I am asked to golf or to a cigar-smoking fete.
I stand there producing the face of a spearfish
lying dockside, an expression mainly
taken for yes. Then the inevitable clap on the back,
the click of the roulette trigger.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
In her new book, Danish poet Olga Ravn writes with open love, pity, and compassion for her strange yet familiar creations.
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.