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Boomerang and Yo-Yo and Our Denial—Which Might Be More a Refusal—of the Inevitable Criminality of Consciousness

If we pretend criminality is a paradigm of connections

unsanctioned by institutional power

and therefore unimaginable by law-abiding people

in their function as citizens, and so if I say that

I think we could think

about the trans-national in a way matched

as precisely as possible to how we feel

about being trans-sexual, or any contemporary

form of consciousness being

trans-racial, you could call it, or me,

overwrought but I wouldn’t call it

that, I mean, overwrought in the sense

of that moment when nothing means anything

and anything turns its mask inside-out

to reveal something just beyond the limit

of vivid and particular, I mean,

something of soft-loam and sunset

that signals something else just below

the horizon of itself, I mean, like

the schoolteacher in Marrakesh saying

to Roland Barthes “‘I’ll do anything

you like,’ eyes full of kindness and complicity,”

and Barthes explains that by this

the schoolteacher meant to say “‘I will

fuck you, and nothing else,’” I mean,

so the particular means invisible

to vision when vision means what

one does with one’s fingers

when they can’t be seen by anyone

as if operating, anyone, I mean,

behind a heavy velvet cloak, a drape,

anyone being the edge of fringe

that sweeps the floor of everyone

exactly and precisely in that

unmarked and insensate moment,

at times also called overwrought,

when anything means one thing and nothing else

and “acting as if ” means “don’t fuck with me”

unless you’ll admit complicity, I mean,

will accept responsibility for the way I let

the bad guy win every once in a while,

I mean for injuries, past and future,

even ones from the place I was born

before I was born, I mean

wounds I inflict upon myself and those I love.

And though I feel very uneasy,

not simply to say conscious—or for our present

purposes criminal—in saying this, no less

to you, I should say that I’m saying this while standing

in the long shadows of things I thought

were injuries until I realized shadows

themselves, very often, are the injuries and the things—

many of which aren’t things at all but people

acting as if—the people themselves had made my life

what it is by saving my life from the illusion,

I mean, if illusion means soft-loam and sunset

signals below the horizon, I mean made life alive by saving

my life from the illusion that it was mine,

I mean, the illusion that it was made, lawfully, of shadows it cast by itself.

from Let it Be BrokeFind more by Ed Pavlic at the library

Copyright © 2020 Ed Pavlic
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Ed Pavlic Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.