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Distension

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Chaos, 1906. Courtesy WikiArt.

Chaos by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1906

The moment their matter is conceived they herniate through the present. The body lodges them in our substance, soaking in our sick spirit, a portion of senses above time. In its early days they gaze at mounds that line the highway, returning the stare of illuminated dirt, admiring the textile of souls. The grass witnesses them. A green hump juts out of an interchange loop. Bodies flocculate in summer heat speaking Englishes they don’t understand.

A fungible source of labor. The ruling class mines their finite collagen. They learn the matter around them isn’t of or for them but is nonetheless of use. They learn the mechanics tessellated across pouches of the atmosphere. Walking to the convenience store, seeing the sense organs of the dead on the sidewalk.

Nighttime comes. The substance engorges with blood. Their head folds open to view multiple pockets of Earth. Bodies unravel and read like maps, veins glow in weak light. Flesh instruments. A man’s mouth spills ethanol into the shadow pool. They take their pants off in the back of the bar.

The logic of the present jells into tissues, composes organs. Whatever they knew before their body is inert. This ocean of codes is both nourishment and device. The body looks at the present, their antagonist, and shapes themself for optimal function. They travel the clammy terrain a lone body, ingesting money, excreting money. Its substance rewards itself for its successes: cumming on its shirt in front of a camera, smoking cigarettes on the balcony, answering Instagram messages, eating a Big Mac, receiving a compliment on a poem. It feels good to be alive.

A glowering cancer. The Earth, a moment of the Earth, a portion of the Earth, what the present calls them, what they must begrudgingly call themself. They have tons and tons of gay sex under the title “man,” earn money under the title “man,” carry “man” to its logical extreme and don’t bother to soothe the discordant species.

During the drive up Grand Blanc Road their cousin flies abreast their car. Through suicide he’s disbursed his presence into the body of a stork. No one sees the jets of presence making semicircles through time, ramming one being into another. No one surfaces from the boiling moment to see their entrails spread beyond their birth. Feels a dead moment bursting inside the present. Feels languages squeezed into a harsh lattice. No one sees their body melting in and out of Earth, life sliced off other lives.


JACOB BROOKS is a poet and communist organizer living in Philadelphia. His chapbook ARTPORN (2016) is published by Citizen of the World. Follow @JakeSymbol on Twitter.