by Jackson Arn
It used to be
the guilty fantasy
of theory bros and voluntary beggars.
When turning points expired or wavered
they’d hold it to their chests at night,
a Molotov they didn’t dare ignite:
Could revolution, usually so plodding,
be brought about by some proud, precise Nothing?
By standing very still
and thinking, could you will
the universe into your orbit?
Rather than Changing
or its hotter cousin, Rearranging,
why not secrete a thin disinterest
and let society struggle to absorb it?
The best part was, it made the change-obsessed
look foolish for their interest
in lobbying, petitions, and the rest—
in lieu of noisy sawing, one sharp swish
to make the engagé seem babyish
and also, one supposes, slay the state,
though even that might be too animate,
too quick to grant the state its dying wish.
Put better: one smart drop of crimson paint
to make the canvas as a whole look faint.
When it came true,
as guilty wishes often do,
the shrieks of celebration shattered glass:
ten million bros in witty dresses
deadpanning in manufactured messes
or scribbling alien Os in fields of grass—
anything at all that had once seemed Nothing
now marked, from skydiver eyes, a happening
alloyed with Nothing, stronger than Nothing alone,
shuddering at so many hertzes
it made dogs moan,
dogs and the unlucky some
born with an ear for pandemonium,
who hear at all hours what they cannot see,
chords rich and fat and spoiled as gravity,
and feel, in bed or in the shower, a gnawing
lust for slow chromatic scales of sawing.
by Jackson Arn