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Her face catches you as you come around the corner
and see her on the far wall,
in the white silence after the docents and guards
have left you there alone,
(behind the veil the interior is chaos, the Lincoln slows down,
the roses slide onto the pink dress),
but she comes to you—a kitsch Mona Lisa
bella donna of the roses, face of revision.
After the black-light has gone over the mesh,
and the negative has burned itself out—
the broad planes of her cheeks, the almond eyes
glazed with valium, the numbed-out mouth
(is this just complicity with the media
or the transaesthetic fetish of a nation?)
the impossible presence, the veil almost wrapping
the spreading pixilation of her face.
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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.