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Even the mannequins change
as the headlights pass over them, swathing them in
strangeness. A face briefly lit, magnetized by
street light. Or an arm vibrating, as if to touch the shocked
surfaces, cracked sidewalks and neon-scald of walls,
while the other arm, unlit, sleeps on, apart from the whirring
interventions, shut doorways strung by light,
zig-zagging shadows, grown animate with each anxious
and precise erasure, advancing like hostile take-overs
onto the newly minted glass.
I feel the unstable atoms in my skin, nerve-paths roughened
by the smallest detonations.
There’s quietness a moment, then the mannequins
buffeted by night-sounds, currents thickening and knotting in the leafy
air, where listening is a kiss slowly changing in another’s
If there be abundant sand left (there is not)
If there be certainty and stillness (there is not)
If there be stalled brilliances and volatile undoings
If there be fraught silence
Look how the store windows glitter. Irradiated
mirrors, strenuous slashings over the false alarms
of the mannequins’ smooth faces. The mannequins standing
too whitely, as in illness. And above them,
through the smog, the moon’s light gauzy dress, pierced
and tattered, twirling gravely downward, heavy with its own undoing,
falling in a slow relentless drowning.
Then there’s quietness again. Then flashing sirens–
the mannequins putting on color as red lights twist past their windows
giving them red wings, red wings out of each shoulder, rippling and lifting
over the envious
silver, prisoned glass.
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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.