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—And strung around each Lego-metropolis, the contrails of jets gilding the dawn sky.
Looking down, you can hear a silent chord.
Men surrounded by lumber and nails, then suddenly a house with two kids, a dog, swing set
and barbeque, spinning on its street among other homes
on the green grass of this planet.
And now the net of cell phone calls
tossed out, expanding, joining everyone the way falling snow does, footprints
covered by morning.
In spring, if you listen closely enough
you can hear teeth of rust scraping along the gutters. And there on TVs
through picture windows, new American cars. And there on TVs
through picture windows, diamonds, burgers,
and American wars
afloat with flags, SUVs, and Humvees aflame.
How many square feet in a disaster? “Time
to Refi,” Bob says to Karen, giving her
“The other day,” he says, “a mattress blew off a pick-up, and a woman, sobbing,
got out and lay down on it, saying ‘Fuck you’ to all
the honking cars.” “I love you
Bob,” Karen says, as they walk toward the trail. And there in the woods
a bear carrying an entire city on its back—streets and alleys—twisting, shaking, as it slobbers,
bucking off the roofs of buildings where they rise up in the forest again.
Mark Irwin is the author of nine collections of poetry, including A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn (Selected Poems 1987-2014), Tall If (2008), and Bright Hunger (2004). His collection of essays, Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry, appeared in 2017. He is a professor in the Creative Writing & Literature Program at the University of Southern California.
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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.