David Perry, Part Two

by: David Perry ((Header art by Monika Lin, “Exemplars #7,” 2013, woodcut print, detail.))

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…”

Exemplars Stag (1)

The Verses

All possibility to the point of extinction
is consciousness. A verse new aware
that it’s us, entangling possibilities
in the ones we already know
from a verse just like
us: just slightly off
every time until
nothing like
us nothing
at all


Excerpted from the long poem “Hello 2015”



“Compare yourselves to foreigners. How are they viewed in your city? Why are you anxious to banish yourselves on your own and distance yourself from your city? Why abandon your dwelling on your own and make it available for those who want to live in it? You exiles and runaways, woe to you, for you will be captured! […]

“What do you think?”

+++++++++++++++++++++—from The Secret Book of James, page 28 of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures

“Beyond this there is nothing but prodigies and fictions, the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors of fables; there is no credit, or certainty any farther”

++++++++++++++++++++++—Plutarch, Parallel Lives

++I.     Postpone

+++++The air well, the ongoing air of construction,
suits me up. “Get to work,” it says, edge
to skull base Tango, down the nape, up over
+++++the scalp and to the temples, ears flushing: in
there, diffusing within space enveloping, casual home
+++++invasion, the war-horse screams worse than usual,
+++++the red Jacks, black Queens, Chinese Joker, numbers
+++++massed to what purpose, what plan, street sweepers
+++++in their blue pajamas, theirs the purpose, theirs
the plan and to whom is one now not subject if
+++++not just maybe to any old someone? To whom turn
+++++for liminal intuitive justice latency suppression
+++++in acknowledgement, deference, return, deferral
+++++spur bit bridle mud teeth ice foam whoa? What it means
+++++to be online is to be what means what ends what means.
+++++The card game they play everywhere, every corner:
+++++Dòu Dì Zhǔ, “fight the landlord,” and how about you?

++II.    Remedy

+++++Control option command. The old imperative
+++++has you talking to yourself like that one guy
+++++you know you feel ill. “Getting the band back
together” layers the comfort and cruelty of true
+++++jokes, processed sandwich parts, necessary
+++++Red Sea sewage and Sinopec benzene rings,
+++++parts per million, enough for us all, in all our billions,
+++++Warhol’s 15 minutes cut into microdot fame:
+++++pixels, nanoparticles: selfies erupting again
+++++and again in hot seas: new islands born, worm-
+++++holes predictably opening in theaters everywhere
+++++to yet more expected chartbusting weekend
+++++grosses, digital piracy notwithstanding, the chair
+++++speaks, almost barking, interrupting the lamps.
+++++The Internet of the thing in itself, marketing you
+++++to you, looking to make a killing, which promises to
+++++removes you from the killing entirely, from your
body, the board snaps to and the question
+++++of dispensation returns lost in pursuit
+++++of its own definition, fades into crowd noise,
mock screams mocking real screams together
+++++again, faking breakups till they stick, suspense
of rules as in hangings, pictures, framings, noose
+++++rulings—yours, in return for theirs or, turning
+++++tail & running, mine, till sweet sleep free arises

++III.   Enter Return

A future religion founded upon the complete TED talks kept safe from the data-eaters at
+++++the bottom of a post-launch silo


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.

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