by: David Perry1
David Perry’s poems are charged, feverish meditations written in the wave/particle light of our current digitized reality. Memory and language, both personal and collective, create the selves we’re constantly calling into question, submerged as we are in the confusion that ensues when we try to figure it all out. But don’t worry, Perry gifts us these essential instructions: “Stop. Sit down. Relax. Think. Witness/ unlimited growth in all directions” so that we remember “All possibility to the point of extinction/ is consciousness…”
NIKE VAPOR LUNAR TROUT
“To speak of people who have accepted S2 ‘retaining their hold on reality’ is to imply such things as that it is possible for S2 to become their S and for them to live within S2, without their engaging in extensive self-deception, falling into paranoia, and such things.”
—Bernard Williams, “The Truth in Relativism”
in which one finds oneself outside
the act of speaking writing reading with
the question of why coming not from where one
is or was or even everywhere one has been and ever
had—but the rest of it, in which one becomes an extra
no more in scenes destined for cutting room floors but rather
for full storage in the searchable present which the future keeps making us
watch like terrorist snuff clips on National Day the interminable stream of film
gone to ones/zeros, sentencing one to one’s slow consumption of another’s only memory
of breakfast on family vacations & zero’s limbs limp after hours of play in the sun, one as another
as that sort of thing, another one possible among all zeroes collapsing selves possible into selves not until solus
quantum computare in extra dementia
with Noah Eli Gordon
You realize, of course, you can work backwards.
The heirloom sewing kit and collection of novelty thimbles
relieve the sense of being equally detached
from any past other than what you slapped together
with whatever happened to be passing by (memory
and association soured from exposure to
real time) and trapped.
Stop. Sit down. Relax. Think. Witness
unlimited growth in all directions.
The wobble in the wheel could be permanent, meaning
every moment’s turnover draws ever nearer
to the point of no return
yet any time lapsed is restored
to the image until the viewer recedes
from view. Not from “the end” but
from everything else. And this, the first stumble,
giving “great” upon compulsive repetition
the intonation of a bored thirteen-year-old girl
is the sensation of doing business with a stream
of disembodied voices akin to squashing a series
of book lice with the fragrant pink eraser
of your tooth-marked No. 2 Ticonderoga?
Let’s check the records. Or would you rather
There is no other way: the splits shift too quick to time from eye without returning
(like shock, fashion, sweater waves, trope rotation) as both either and or foil surface
until collapse into a point (you) that’s every moment in a line (us), and this without end.
The old drives and floppies pile up in the corner
under the card table by the riding mower.
And, if I read you right, you’re sorry that ambiguity can be so horribly picky: I mean,
what do we mean when we say we meant to?
Can one’s own horn be heard over the din
of our coerced demurrals? Whodunnit has never been so dull
a question for so many, nor have so few thought it
worth the effort to turn on the TV.
This is how one tests
whether one is
or is not in
the United States of America.
David Perry lives in Shanghai where he teaches in the Writing Program at NYU Shanghai. He is the author of two collections of poems, Range Finder (Adventures in Poetry) and Expat Taxes (Seaweed Salad Editions/French [Concession] Press) and two chapbooks, Knowledge Follows (Insurance Editions) and New Years (Braincase Books). He blogs sporadically at Pyramid News Scheme and Art Basilisk.
- Header art by Monika Lin, Balance Boy #1 detail, 2010. [↩]