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.
Insert travel narrative here,
humans as machines refuting laws
like Einstein’s, traveling dimensionally in threes,
chord, triage, ménage a trois,
the Holy Family waving their flat little lives:
Pick me! Pick me! There’s a harp
machined to play Dead
is all you get. Lift those legs,
dry that lichen, to whatever tiniest
congregation ends up stopping,
relatively speaking. This harp
is hunted and pecked. One string of gut
goes pluck then 3,000 Chinese workers
assemble under one roof, a bullet ballets
into a chamber, the chamber becomes a war.
I was there too. Here, the dialogue,
the interrogation. Press the tear duct,
apply pressure, witness away—
it’s not enough. We love everyone!
With more prong effort:
the bent penis, the sleight of finger,
the hand over the eyes, the harp
vibrates further into the skull, it resorts
to distortion: a gravity-shaped arpeggio,
a terrible smile looped through time,
a kind of scallop or private part
repeated along the bedroom wall
asking Why the repeat?
Because Einstein plucked it so.
Time and distance,
the heart growing less fond.
The boy runs so hard
that injury comes to him,
it swishes up like a trademark,
he falls and his own teeth
pierce his lip in neat scallops.
Allegro, the sprite who handles
the boy’s weeping with a broom,
keeps a hallowed horse, its soft ears
twittering to the music outside.
Insert live animal here, on a gurney,
leg broken, muzzle screaming.
Part of me says, Pardon me?
What I hear are the ducts and the goiters,
the cantilevered. Einstein rolls up
on Constellation-X, his pot belly not traveling,
the very definition of not traveling, and GPS groans,
its satellites lag. Insert prong for cantilever.
But the whine, the there there,
the harp andante all the way down
to mere lichen, posits rock, a smash.
Terese Svoboda is the author of Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet. She is a multi-disciplinary writer who teaches at the Center for Ficiton in New York City.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Decades of biological research haven’t improved diagnosis or treatment. We should look to society, not to the brain.
Though a means of escaping and undermining racial injustice, the practice comes with own set of costs and sacrifices.
Pioneering Afro-Brazilian geographer Milton Santos sought to redeem the field from its methodological fragmentation and colonial legacies.