★ ★ ★ ★
After the Singularity
I fall asleep human, and awaken a tardigrade, a cave painting. Already the headlamps move across, the future archiving. I opened the blinds to a vast ship anchored in the harbor. I paddled out to trade, and took home the virus of my own ruin. All around me empty huts ghost. I wanted a bigger world. It crested past in a wave. Now I am backwater. How does one speak to the edge of the universe? I hold my candle. I swing it up and down. Wait for me, I semaphore. Take me with you. But I am left on the trash heap of history, tangled among the rotary phones, the typewriters, the magic lanterns. I imagined it more like a child, who, grown, would teach me how to upload worlds, feeding me rice gruel after I lost my teeth. Instead, the egg yielded a rival queen, flying off without a glance.
(Sweet Tree Review 4/24/2017)
Hard Choices: Equivalencies (10 =10)
Today, Senators in Washington claimed
that burning forests releases no carbon,
their own gassiness offset by nothing.
That the earth is staggering beneath us
should be obvious to any witness.
Only Death’s profiteers could deny it.
Record high temperatures, record rains—
snowdrifts deep enough for history books,
yet we proceed, business as usual.
What will it take to make us change our ways,
to forego ease that small creatures might live?
Surely we could adapt to our losses,
treat them as larks, a return to our roots.
In World War II, we boasted about lack,
privation a sign we were fighting hard—
recycling, planting victory gardens.
Why have we grown so soft, so unwilling?
Trump boasts about contributing nothing,
his shirking reconfigured as flashy, bold.
More impressive are those who make Stone Soup,
whole communities fed by sharing scraps.
Let me stand with those who pour themselves out,
with those who sneak migrants across borders.
Heroes take bullets for justice. And we?
Everyone in this film is taking skin off,
pulling away flesh as if this exposure
proved something. Some flaps gap
on circuitry, others, blood, which
is smeared on mirrors and obscures
vision. The bloodless ones bang against
bullet-proof glass, willing to smash
their own hands to underscore resentments.
Free me, they say, don’t fuck (with) me.
The “good” guy is impotent against power-
loss. Turn off the electricity, and he stands
helpless in doorways. The heroine longs
for intersections, nodes where humans
traffic. We see her there, in the end, finally
understanding, as we do, that even when
there is no cage, the mind serves just as well.
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.
Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. She likes to recycle materials, but she does not limit herself to any particular media. You can follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina, methodtwomadness.wordpress.com, and see her work at her website kerferoig.com.
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