“Rationality is uncool,” he laments; “it isn’t seen as dope, phat, chill, sick or da bomb”; no attribute of will is more unlikely to be deemed “to rule”; it’s like an outcast in some middle school. You cannot even argue that you cannot kill in pure percentage terms sufficient mill- ions of men to match the Earth’s once miniscule murder rate; Cain’s Abel was one full quarter of the world, for instance; wouldn’t you rather take the odds in Auschwitz with those awful chances? It’s fall. Across each campus days grow shorter; undergrads still kiss and fuck and fake enthusiasm for science’s romances.
Every job will be automated until four remain: lawyer, farmer, dentist, soda jerk; whaleman, scrivener, and grocery clerk; rabbi, car mechanic, David Blaine; professional impersonator of Mark Twain. The rest will be done by one Mechanical Turk with an indefatigable appetite for work; its million metal arms will never strain; its million pinprick eyes will never droop; of course, it’s operated by an actual man from a windowless room in drowning Bangladesh; he gets one thirty second break to poop and eat his lunch before the beautiful tan attack dogs are released to tear his flesh.
When exactly I should retire, or will retire has many complex parts to it: a chronometric set of gears that fit through genius acts of unimaginable skill and ratios whose maddening math would fill vast desert racks of servers cooled and lit by carbon burned by who came after it. What tyrant lizard left by being ill, or turned from prey to watch a meteor descending through the North-American sky? The seas may boil; the air itself may burn; the liquefying stone may crack and roar. A life’s lived best not knowing it will die, instinct alone, and never paused to learn.
“More and more I find bathing to be less necessary.” -Jake Gyllenhaal
More and more I find bathing to be less necessary; and I also think that there’s a whole unbathèd world of finer hairs and better skin, oil-anointed and blessed like holy Israelites, or lettuce dressed in vinaigrette as tart as winter air. Don’t let the water catch you in his snare, drowned Neptunian depths of scrubs and soaps, skin pricked and puckered as a pickled bean, good humors leeched and sunk like sand and grit. God would not design us thus, one hopes: his loving procreative beings are clean, black nails or not, green knees, or greasy tits.
Don’t ever start an email to your professor with “Hi [first name].” He will take offense. Unlike the world at large, his cloistered sense of feudal order ranks mankind from lesser beings to lords. Herrdoktor? Priest-confessor. His ego’s delicate as it’s immense; informal greetings puncture his pretense of superior boredom. Unwashed rabble’s the oppressor: yawping Christian names and slapping backs; noticing the due dates on assignments don’t line up with this week’s readings; asking for extra office hours and a little slack because their Starbuck’s supervisor won’t let them swap shifts, and they’re very poor.
Geriatric millennials born
between 1980 and 1985
are best positioned to lead teams that will thrive
in the hybrid workplace; they will never mourn
the lost kitchenette, or get mad at the porn
their OnlyFans teammates left on the shared drive
while fooling eye-movement monitors during a live
webinar; well-trained in irony and scorn,
they’ll do their boomer bosses’ bidding, but
half-heartedly; they’re busy making .gifs,
polluting the Slack with fake nostalgia for
the nineties, pretending they don’t mind the gut
they’ve got from crafty IPAs and spliffs,
barely forty at death’s beatific door
In the battle for the soul of America, democracy
prevailed. It hauled its agèd ass across the line
winking and grinning the entire goddamn time
like a dying parent, who, despite your plea,
has spent his retirement on the lottery,
commemorative coins, fake vintage wine;
still mean as hell and obsessed with rising crime;
mad at taxes he doesn’t pay and free
goodies he thinks that someone else has got;
terrified of change and terrified
that nothing’s gonna change except for worse:
here’s what his democratic soul is not:
in love, nor young at heart, nor quite alive.
Each waning angry moment is a curse.
“Donald Trump is alive and well,” I tweet: his consciousness ensouled, his self intact; his electric embodied being able to act through his body’s marvelous machine: to eat, to see, to breath, to speak. His heart? To beat. His appetites are those a dead man lacks: McDonald’s lunch, a lower income tax: Hereby commend to you, O Lord, through the fleet swing of the autumn sun across the sky, quadrennial November’s bare-branched swoon, this declaration: we have claimed a state of still existing, having not had to die, nor disappear, nor leave, nor settle soon for this early ending coming yet too late.
As an empirical matter, democracy, hallowed by usage and consecrated by time, has never turned up, hastily dusted with lime in a hole, shot in the back as it tried to flee its own cackling imago, autocracy: yes, some serene republics have declined, but there their franchise was mere pantomime; no well-begged question but can burst to be its own best answer; the universe ordains that if a country goes to shit, it must be bad, its laws a sham, its votes a lie, enraptured by its petty Charlemagnes, pre-captured by its lack of civic trust: it doesn’t happen; thus in this essay, I
Like, you’ll go: “Person, woman, man
camera, TV.” So they say,
“Could you repeat that?” Someday
the words won’t come; your lips will fan
the toaster-oven air; you’ll say, “Woman?
TV? Radio? Opera? Fannie Mae?
Elephant? Alligator? Matinee?
Mother? Birthday boy? Afghanistan?”
If you get it in order you get extra points,
although they say no one gets it in order, but for me
it’s easy. Nevertheless I sometimes fear
that each word unremembered thus unjoints
its ordered re-remembering. Words flee
the fit mind. The mouth speaks. I’m here.