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you need to come up with a plan of what to do when you encounter an active shooter situation. in your workplace, or commonly visited public areas, it’s advised to plan now to increase your chances of survival. visualize and plan escape pathways, hiding places and available objects you’ll improvise as weapons. act with aggression. you should escape if you can, avoiding public lobbies if possible. otherwise, hide. don’t leave a secure room. blockade the door with heavy furniture, cover all windows, turn off lights. silence any electronic devices, lie on the floor and remain silent. if neither evacuating the facility nor taking shelter is possible, chairs, fire extinguishers and belts may be used to disrupt or incapacitate the active shooter by attack using aggressive force paired with yelling. commit to taking the shooter down. 95% of the time, shooters profile as white males 18–44 years, who have a personal trail through psychiatry, therapy and are actively maintaining a diary and social media blog. sometimes life is more like a movie set than reality. unfortunately you need to be prepared for the worst.
sometimes you just need to buy something. life is full of responsibilities. joyce carol oates at the beverly hills hotel. i take a selfie of myself crying. for life i cannot access. offered to you as emotional currency. the most beautiful thing i’ve seen today so far is an online collection of fan art—drawings mostly, pencil sketches on notebook paper. stars from twilight. britney. credited to anonymous sources. i was pulling up directions when my phone died.
i check my klout score. klout amalgamates influence across a range of media networks. my score is down 0.04. i attenuate this anxiety with a one hitter, the neon purple bat. i know i’m in a film because i’m sitting beside normsies at lunch. boring, ambitious and cruel—power normsies i guess, they smile sheepishly before going on camera. “they got married and ordered the ikea catalog pages 25–27.”
provoking american gender anxieties. non-identifying and slant in the simulation. a new feminism sent from the future. the invention of the teenager in the early 20th century: new laws protect against child labor, parents no longer pair children off for marriage at age 16, an increased age through which children must remain in school. leisure time. access to transportation and their parents income. a post-war economy. high speed and moonlight. freud’s libido in the mainstream. dating. paraben-free barr-co oatmeal moisturizing cream. an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt in bleached turquoise. top of the bra showing. u look good bb. u look great.
a story about the body: they left for beach week on friday morning and stayed almost a month; brad paid for them with his dad’s credit card. the game on the drive out is finishing a thirty case of miller cans before they get to the cottage. they’ll be drunk many afternoons living quite carefree in a crude paradise. summer passes this way. one day brad announces he’s determined an unconscious festishization of kelly’s body parts based specifically on where he finishes. dawn denounces this as the normalization of misogyny and degrading porn culture. brad says kelly’s willingness to accept a facial is an intensely powerful source of affirmation. dawn says it is simply not true and greg adds that nothing is more politicized in sex than where the ejaculate lands. kelly flippantly says she actually likes it, which dawn takes as tantamount to violence against women.
it’s a very sad thing to only look like a celebrity. sometimes, commuting from monica’s apartment in crown heights back to mine closer to downtown brooklyn, its easiest to get off at atlantic terminal. walking from the 2 line to the open air, passing the long island rail road tracks, and the schedule of times and the far away place-names of long island’s east end: patchogue, bellport, southampton, bridgehampton, amagansett, montauk. it’s an unexpected joy. marcel proust looking at a train station timetable and destination names says: "i had accumulated there a store of dreams, those names." he had the same feeling the first time seeing gilberte as a child, in front of a hedge of pink hawthorne, beside the steep little lane that led up to the méséglise way.
another violent news cycle this week. you’ll wanna be high for this. a chevy blazer playing eminem passes the apple store on 14th st. did you see that email? people are writing the worst poetry. that apple store in chelsea services the hundreds of small galleries running mac minis looped into lcd screens. it’s a clinton boom era throwback economy. andrew tells me britney’s breakdown in 2007 had a big emotional impact on him. old dreams waiting to be realised. pop culture displaces the threat of other discourses by not acknowledging them; a totalizing gesture. just to be there.
someone was telling about this this bar called piranha. i’ve been meaning to check it out and go there alone. i’ve taken too much adderall and don’t feel tired and need to engage with culture. i’m too late though I guess since it’s half empty but i stay. stoli is on promo 1–4 a.m. so i’m drinking. most people here are like networking. i read today there is a chance that our universe is a computer simulation. that theory is under investigation. understanding that if a culture could replicate a universal consciousness—our world—in simulation, they would. i drink and think about that. the dj is playing some really strange dance music. alien siren songs. as if brian eno's apollo soundtracks and atmospheres were re-written to reflect the darkness of our universe less understood after another quarter century of investigation. the 21st century and mtv’s reification of despicable humanity and unending praise for the situation as it stands. the future inscribed in daily life.
at a video press conference broadcast from her floating home sanctuary off the coast of capetown in 2021, angelina jolie, alongside her family, announced that the majority of her body’s cellular makeup had now been replaced by accellate, an artificially intelligent organic cell compound capable of regenerating major tissues, organs and bodily systems. from cellular respiration to major digestive functions, accellate’s “smart cells” decompose primary structural components of diseased and cancerous cells, removing them permanently, replacing them with new healthy “smart cells.” “smart cells” also defeat typical organ decay in advance of aging and heal injuries at least twice the human rate. the body will now continuously reconstitute itself. the eventual implications for endemic disease control are paramount. the public reaction was split. fundamentalists decried jolie for using her wealth to surmount death and god, liberals pleaded for accellate research to be released from the private market to the public good. not announced at the time of the conference were other leading accellate clients include aids, animal and human right activist ellen degeneres, and l’oreal fortune heiress françoise bettencourt meyers. also omitted was the fact that to date accellate treatment has shown no efficacy in male bodies.
you're at the grocery store when this next thing happens, that key foods on ave a that everyone wrote about in the 80’s. you’re already done shopping when this song comes on the speakers, “a trip to your heart.” a track buried late in the 2011 album femme fatale, “a trip to your heart” is a luxury item servicing a mass audience, much the same as how fran lebowitz noted coca-cola is the summer house of the poor. the song starts out glitching as if to announce the execution of practical exigencies that make life so dreadful, displacing individual sadness and lack of validation. it’s through cultural products like this that violence and self harm announce themselves when youth culture tests their desires inside the ‘cultural poverty of a thoroughly franchised landscape.’ britney inaugurates a temporary kingdom of pleasure, and her troubled history makes her a cipher you can’t erase. britney. marcel. the weeknd. i’m going to miss you when you rebrand. palms trees pulled upward in a constant state of abduction. loft music. brian wilson. in the shadow of young girls in flower. john ashbery. im going to miss you when you rebrand. i’m going to miss you.
Image provided by Ben Fama.
Ben Fama is the author of Mall Witch (Wonder, 2012) as well as several chapbooks, including Odalisque (Bloof Books, forthcoming 2014) and Cool Memories (Spork Books, 2013). With Andrew Durbin, he edits Wonder, an open-source publishing and events platform for poetry, performance, and new media art. He lives in New York City.
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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.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.