back to disasters
seemed to notice
very gratifying
once I asked
who is my public
as sacrificial lamb?

and one at head of table
training to become a voice
a program
to be gotten with

not scary at all

another option offers
something else entirely
this is all more than quite enough
who knew
you are in on a great joke

when you’re at the heel
you’re chasing someone
an involved paradox inviting
in its turn involvement!

can we really call that a chase
or a hunt
or a primary motive
of revelation and proof
ungluing the jabs made

why the distrust
an unconsecrated implication waits
in the wings
it crops up
humors the weakness
via expectation and dispute



I’ve been thinking about the discussion of exopoetics that we held with Professor Schuster. Considering that our class meeting coincided with election day, it seemed strange to me the ways in which our discussions of “contact,” “aliens,” “apocalypse,” and the genocide of indigenous populations have manifested in such disturbing terms in American political discourses surrounding immigration. It seems to me that the terminology employed by exopoetics has been appropriated in the political sphere as a tool for fear-mongering. Here, I’m thinking specifically of the way that certain political and media figures have labeled a group of asylum-seekers as a “caravan” of “illegal aliens.” I think that central to this dehumanizing extraterrestrial terminology is the idea of “contact,” expressed here as the moment when the asylum-seekers reach the US border. Within this political narrative, it seems that the white heterosexual male is coded as being the “indigenous” population of the U.S.—the same idea that Robert Frost expresses in “The Gift Outright” when he writes “The land was ours before we were the land’s. / She was our land more than a hundred years / Before we were her people.” Among the most disturbing aspects of this appropriation of indigenous identity is the way in which it erases the genocide of Native Americans and the exploitation and oppression of minorities from U.S. history, reading the land as a blank space that was given form and purpose following the arrival of European colonizers. It seems to me that just as the idea of “contact” has been twisted in the political realm to signify an invasion, so the concepts of deep time, conservation, and poetic longevity are replaced in politics with an endlessly-produced sense of urgency and an all-encompassing emphasis on the present moment. One result of this constant urgency may be a devaluation of meaning. If everything is urgent, in the era of 24-hour news, then urgency itself may lose significance. I wonder how this emphasis on the present moment compares and contrasts with a Buddhist (or Laura Riding–like) conception of existing in the present. This may also relate to the discussions of nonsense we’ve been having—as in, who has the privilege to speak nonsense and who gets to define “sense.” I’m uncertain whether this focus upon the use of terminology in exopoetics and its inverse applications in the political sphere is productive, but I’m curious what we can learn about both politics and poetry from studying the ways in which the exopoetical values of conservation and mind-expansion are corrupted in the political sphere.