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How to be =
us, A&P parking lot in determinate
hazes fill up the sky.
Are the sky.
Shiny, cheerful aisles of plethora. So encouraging,
talkative, like a small town, overlit mutter
of—two shapes: choice
or square, two durations: a year
to a day, these substances: flesh, sheened
as a function
cartons eager and
Money as dumb.
And transacting entry or exit, gracious hiss
of the sliding back, chilly
exhibit, nature. We in the ice-case
reflector, caught, given
back surplus +
influx, ugly crustacea or jetsam and flotsam, old
Vladimir, young Estragon. Sea-wrack or hunger and
at our tissue, circadian
flaring of hothouse and peatmoss on sale
in the mall portico. Cough-syrups carny
the liquor store. So we
are touching. Ellipsis of temporary sugar
crust feeds at our mouths, hot
expiry, chrome baskets fulsome
in floodlight. Cornucopic
mess in their stanchions and car engines
billowing vapor, emitting
a cloud that is separate and mingles
with ours and fades. Toxic particulate heightens
the colors that augment or gaudily
bleed, and waves exchange
stress with the traffic, low
constant muffling roar—wait, merge—constant
comforting low muffled roar.
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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.