Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
This is why I was supposed to teach you were
and then when you were there or had arrived,
when I was like you we could become because
we were and whether or nor we had departed
or had arrived lesson-struck-wounded wherever
it was like that, and wherever it was, we were,
no matter the green eyes on the paper ceiling
of the air-conditioned constellations,
or the swollen, concrete cauliflower ears
of the rose doorway that read like A Foreigner
Carrying in the Crook of His Arms a Tiny Book,
or the balsa wood antique shop with windows
like an accordion’s wings decompressing
in the coffee that was in front of us too
because it was, wasn’t it, and we were
in front of ourselves as well, that is, no matter
that our indifference could not be exaggerated
too much to turn backwards even once
or sent home weeping in the dark on a tireless bicycle
or spun around slap-sticked because we wanted to be then
or learned that we should be then, it was done,
we wanted to remember that we weren’t like that,
facing south by true north, that is, but we did,
no didn’t, I apologize, and then we became,
didn’t we, were almost forgotten, we were,
for only a moment though, therefore we could.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
How would I know / when I’m empty and quiet like breath?
Historian Gerald Horne has developed a grand theory of U.S. history as a series of devastating backlashes to progress—right down to the present day.
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.