A Game of Life You Don’t Always Know You’re Playing

By | 1 August 2021

A short history of songbirds: declivities, banging pans,
eyes scratched out of religious icons painted on cave walls.
In the marrow of debate, the preservation of power.
You pretend not to see: in stones, the disappearing trees,
the lobster flaying its disconsolate torso in a steel pot.
An ichthyologist detonates explosives to study fish.
No apologies, only a timetable outlining the dates
of all the season’s matches, and the arenas they will be played in.
Survivors of a shipwreck are paid out in instalments;
the ones who can prove in a document they are dying
can apply for a supplement: unrooted plants, honeybees,
yellow lichen. In a department store, on the entry level,
women’s attire; here you can consult a fashion expert,
ask about the meaning of life, entangle yourself in saying
the word ‘fossiliferous’. It is here that you throw dice,
sign a piece of paper that you are, in fact, rudimentary,
and insecure, and require a credit card to ensure your name
is not forgotten, or erased. At the back of the displays,
administration, where your application for eternal remembrance
is approved, sent to government departments, a catalogue
of businesses, and finally, to pharmaceutical corporations
and airline companies to ensure that you will resign yourself
to visiting amusement parks and circuses on a regular basis.
Nothing is insurmountable on this journey, as long as you abide
in the umbrella practice of the requirements of hammers.
The world is an oyster, they say, and you are a clam with no eyes.

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