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Reason’s gone to brain-clobber, gray custard
from the scent that lacquers undersides of pantry
lampshades in layers, scent that pervades
the sprung floor in the dance studio, companion
to errant hairs, pliant cotton threads that began their break
on the nailhead risen from the locker room
bench—that elusive constant event
that commingles with transmission drip
that signs pavement in amoebic script, particular
odor, chlorophyll contaminant
where once the newest Jade leaves
freshened the dusty housing
of the bookshelf. Clarify
the purged suspended cause
of turbidity. The measure of which—
pollen, flecks of human skin,
beads of industrial residues
cast off by colliding asteroids
slowed by sticky atmosphere,
abhorred by a clean very clean vacuum
cleaner at the end of a string,
tribute to the invading king, the command
of what can be qualified.
Even as he failed he failed.
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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.