Join the conversation
Subscribe to Our Emails
Boston Review is a public space for the discussion of ideas and culture. Sign up for our newsletters and don’t miss a thing.
Jan 1, 2010
O inauspicious birth.
I was born a donkey, a capon, then a snotsized
polliwog, born & snorted up a horse’s
nostril as it drank from a pond.
Then a foulsome stinker Crusoe washed
onto our shore, crying “Orright!” which Pa,
a lover of all things Brit, christened me:
Orright. I’m Orright.
All noble reckoning pointed to a white-
beamed path, a CEO Pa (deemed a fearsome
foe re-educated to his grave),
a swanly Ma (a roader’s wife, too vain
they cried & drowned her in her own toilettes)
who tenderly scraped my ears of wax with a sterling
toothy spoon stippled with my surname.
Now, I’m not deserving a name.
I’m a titbit Xiao, a dollop easily bored,
A trolloping doer, I loll & gag,
at the teargas factory, at the denture factory,
at the heart ticker factory.
I’m not fond of people, see,
though I’m quite fond of the idea of people.
Inside my bunker, a belljar in every room.
Inside each belljar, a cloudcapt city of silksack
buildings solar-powered by a field of weedsized
turbines so air will be purer than virgins.
Dumb Ideas, Pa’s cadaver wheezes.
Go back to the factory of dentures, Orright.
Work hard, Orright, work hard.
...we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
January 01, 2010
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox
Printing Note: For best printing results try turning on any options your web browser's print dialog makes available for printing backgrounds and background graphics.