3 Poems — Bradley J. Fest
“It may just be that I am getting old and the future is already decided,
but this relatively new rotting feels rather kinesthetically and digitally
pleasurable, a kind of binary haptics laid on top of the real1, an
emergent Cyberbrynhildr2 announcing a new kind of hipster-
bourgeois scorn for the abject, those subaltern hippie stepfathers
on mountains condemning the world through their absence.3 Let the
new posthuman subjectivity of ‘I’ out of these sick, sad quotation
marks, or else WC will see its slow, easy extinction.”4 Fine. Here
you are.5 But I obviously do not need to warn you that whatever
occurs will bear little resemblance to Radiohead coming off the
OK Computer tour. It will probably be more like a sad break,
worrying about grammar and usage and hermeneutics into the
SF aftermath, with its explosions and Paleolithic imaginary. So.
Welcome to the new year. It is all we ever wanted. Yay.
1 In DeLillo’s terms, death, in Lacan’s, jouissance.
2 The name for the technological singularity that appeared during the summer of 2013.
3 See December 22–27, 2015.
4 See Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles (1998), trans. Frank Wynne (2000; repr., New York: Vintage International, 2001).
5 Here I am.
“Beyoncé is in Pittsburgh,”6 like a phantom from chronology.
In other news, this metaprocedural graphene-sphere
is experiencing a crisis in its autopoietic 7/8 time signature:
the sub-volta threatening to derail the whole intergalactic mess
with evental repetition has been found7; it is everywhere.
So now one of the new gods, a purple-suited deity
of sex, has seized the helm.8 Surfing an eternity-laser
on high alert, we are nearing the end. To conclude,
the first mate: “In the post-crisis US landscape, our labor
can get awfully bitter.9 So we must clamor, keep repeating
various mantra for our time in the morning, breaking and
break dancing. We are done with some of the same moves
on the wrong songs.10 We are finished with the identical imagineered
nitrate Decasia and cults of immortality. No longer must we necessarily
abide these sick absurd political demigods,11 right? The hyperarchive is going
somewhere, tomorrow after tomorrow, at least for some time, but then,
it must swerve, Ahab.”
6 If this isn’t a daunting image of our digital goddess glowing in the neon-glare of our sad, destroyed past, before she was assimilated into the floating borgmind of D. J. Trump, spinning his beyond deadly grooves in the ethereal night of our goddamn souls. Float on. See Beyoncé, Heniz Field, Pittsburgh, PA, June 2, 2016.
7 Thanks Dean Matthews.
8 See Jack Kirby, Jack Kirby’s Fourthworld Omnibus, vol. 1 (1971; repr., New York: DC Comics, 2011).
9 See Harryette Mullen, “Xenophobic Nightmare in a Foreign Language,” in Sleeping with the Dictionary (Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 81-82.
10 Especially this one: Why did no one tell me that Refused’s “Françafrique” has children singing “exterminate the brutes!”; then, while rising in octaves, “murder, murder, murder, murder!,” followed by Dennis Lyxzén screaming, “Kill! Kill! Kill!” (Freedom, YouTube, March 26, 2015)!? Wow. In yet other news, it’s June 3, 2016.
11 Fools to the planet’s Lear.
“Yesterday we hauled away four boxes of books from our
teacher’s library purge.12 Today we witnessed a toned-down
megadisaster.13 Not much longer now.” We await further
births into the panoramic horizon that bounds our necessarily
limited view of an objective materiality. So much has been
assembled. Some new machines for living over here, a lyric
or two there. Emergence seems likely. But then, we cannot
tell what 2017 and after until the end hold. Time’s granularity
exceeds our topological bounds. “Drop the beat again
and again.14 We have spread the volta to all lines, let it infect
our signiconic faculties,15 accidentally, embarrassingly,
unavoidably. I will vainly post photos online. And then.
Many asked in the past few days, ‘Where is the escape hatch
on 2016?’16 No one knows and our ignorance may mean there
will be no one left to hear the cautionary tale of our present.”
Keep stepping down, I suppose. Let the winds of some of our
better angels keep getting blown back, if more slowly, for a time.
12 For e.g., Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (1922), 2 vols., ed. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (1968; repr., Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978).
13 See Independence Day: Resurgence, dir. Roland Emmerich (Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox, 2016).
14 See Icona Pop, “I Love It” (Ten, 2012), single.
15 See Mark Z. Danielewski, The Familiar, 3 vols. (New York: Pantheon, 2015– ).
16 In regard to Brexit.
Bradley J. Fest teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of a volume of poetry, The Rocking Chair (Blue Sketch, 2015), and a chapbook-length portfolio, “The Shape of Things,” was a finalist for the 2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize and is forthcoming in Verse. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in boundary 2, The b2 Review, Critique, Critical Quarterly, David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing” (Bloomsbury, 2014), The Silence of Fallout (Cambridge Scholars, 2013), Size and Scale in Literature and Culture, Studies in the Novel, and Wide Screen.