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–solitude self-definition : pure
nationalism! beans in a row & a year
to hoe them heroic vatic stance struck mock
epic all ironic to trick the mind into seeing
America a masculine parable a second-growth
forest to walk there an easy wilderness vernacular
apples your grammar so declarative it is
a government –prophetic voice come
closer bring your certitude so we can pinch
it to pith force it to the far wrong side
of moribund bachelorhood we are stunned blood
we are inherited citizen dualism we must begin
to ring must in your ears rebuttal stuffed
with spirit your whole ruddy skin stung with it
Brian Teare, a 2020 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of six critically acclaimed books, most recently Companion Grasses, The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize. His honors include the Birittingham Prize and Lambda Literay and Publishing Triangle Awards, as well as fellowships from the NEA, the Pew Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and eight years in Philadelphia, he’s now Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, and lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.
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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.