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In a welter of blood and despair
you both died in that breezy loft
on Chambers Street.
The streets are the same after twenty years
save for the endlessly new restaurants
and the current facsimiles of chic.
It took twenty-five boxes of corn flakes
to make one perfect bowl for the happy
washed-up actor in the happy kitchen
and the shining sunny camera.
Such was the job that embarrassed you.
Sparkling corn flakes. Dogs in aprons.
Louts shoving cardboard pizza between
plastic teeth. What led to the slaughter
won’t be found there. It was work
no more stupid or meaner than most
in this poisoned bitch of a world.
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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.