Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Starting now, I’ll do everything
as if I were a god.
I’ll walk from a dark room
as a god walks from a dark room.
I’ll speak to strangers
as a god speaks to strangers.
When it’s time to say something important
I’ll rise from my chair like a god would
and speak in my
There will be no more
lap-sitting, no more stories
about when I was a bar-back or a ferryman
or a farrier. There will be
fewer hours spent
tuning my piano,
and patting my hunting dogs,
my youth. When I need you to hurt
I’ll put you to sleep as a god puts you to sleep,
I’ll play my discordant harp as a god plays a harp,
and the effects will be the same.
The noise of the bramble
never leaves me.
I bless the cedar. The months go by. I bless your saw.
When you need
me to hurt, I’ll dim in the linden leaves,
I’ll hide in the fire-scarred hills,
and the great guards
of my gilded name
will circle around to protect me.
And you’ll be there.
And I’ll know your name
as a god knows your name,
as a father knows your name,
but you won’t recognize me.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Reflecting on three monumental works of modernism—James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—a hundred years on.
Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.