Andrew Levy is the author of Artifice in the Calm Damages, Notes toward a Supreme Fiction 2029, Don’t Forget to Breathe, Nothing Is in Here (novella), and twelve other collections of poetry and prose. His writing works on the intersections of class and the ecology of commerce, and experimental music and the digitalization of freedom. A drummer, he works in collaboration with musicians and writers on readings and performances.
Prepare the World
I have had a lifetime of listening to people who believe
That life can be talked away. It cannot be done. With no home
In this world anymore something special may be next.
The moon shows itself drifting away, standing outside terrestrial
Landscapes and stories the soul takes having come into
Existence without dragging itself upside down. We picture it
A form of awareness, an essential envelope of resemblance in a
Game of resistance to the nervous currents of breath and
Sunlight. An unprepared reminder of mortality invisible even to
The eye that comes very close though it dropped off its hinges
Long ago. A spacious sledge of all virtues having collapsed
In front of us, an integer, and fundamentally so integral, so very
Labyrinthine that no area of this life is left untouched. We’ve
Grown up in the same society together and so in acts of charity
Move to reconsolidate property. It hurts someone when I eat.
It’s almost as if they begged for the grace of becoming feces.
Self-expression? The idea of property recapitulates every social
Division. We hate each other’s guts. The world’s method
Of seduction provides everyone a piece of waste land. Our
Teeth quiver as they chew the stone. We partake in America’s
Fine tradition of savoring fear. A real historical unhappiness
May be received as the supreme reward bestowed on the most
Obedient of servants. Your metropolitan areas have value if
They know when to live and when to die. The thesaurus of a
Derelict rendered ampler than our own dereliction is perpetually
Shrinking and expanding in anger and despair at what is going on.
My signature is a pseudonym. My last words are winning and
Losing in a competition led by my unconscious self, transformed
In endless pretense and growing debate. I have no hand in the
Formation that brings you joy and happiness. Its nature and causes
Gradually fade away. Evil could become a success. The good
Opinion of others has nothing to do with why one revises one’s
Own work. The worst could happen.
But that’s a low bar for Brett Kavanaugh
As if by magic, without the slightest warning
Of any sort, I suddenly found myself under
The ground with a ringing in my ears as of
Many bells. I carried a notebook loaded with
A “joyous confetti of personal truth / subsuming
& transcending the stealing of documents.”
The book ended, as it began, in incompletion.
If I’m lucky, it will come back and say,
“Darling, I’m here for you. We can both be
Happy together.” The old-fashioned detective’s
Task of tracing the thief feigns its own form
Of polite incomprehension. Marketing
Wants to go public until a consensus of opinion
Can be reached. So, watch what you say.
Pay yourself the compliment of referring to
Yourself as a person. Over-indulgence is the
Consumers’ enrichment. Buy! Buy! Buy!
Tell me how it feels to be in the know. I no
Longer have time to tell you about overall
Temporal convolutions, or the capacity of
The sun to sprout seeds that speak in theatrical
Whispers, “I’ve got a disc of, seriously, one
Of the greatest books ever made.” But let’s face
The fakes. The aristocracy are acclimatized,
From early childhood, as essentially perfect. The
Entire day is an asymmetry undermining
Culture. The past decays and is riddled with
Inconsistencies dedicated to preserving
A historical record for future ages. A
Psychoanalyst lies sobbing in a corner after
Penetrating within the human body. Judeo-
Christian tradition repaid in full. The curve of
The road falls apart, an averted virility.
A Generation of Swine
Lovely and charming enough to devour
A monument to a bard enswathed in poeticalities
Entire associations marching respect-inducingly
Amid the graceful clinking of useful money
Commercial plans aimed at preserving their subsistence
Reach out your hand for culture and pay the specified price
Entwined by hours of occupationlessness
A mere trifle for the imagination gliding gently past
Intending to display a feeling
The most frightful apprehension committing incautiousness
Its invisibility nowhere heard
Using them to debauch these insolent debauchees
An impression in every way splendid
A salon-like elegance of unimpeachable qualities
An undeniable imperative can indeed be found in proximity to pigpens
A need to engage in cautionary measures
To avoid untoward beauty let precautions be taken
To compromise civilization, communicate something to the public
Everything seems to be on the verge of disaster
The thought of which fills them with genuine pleasure
To be a charming, attractive little idealist
Mornings and afternoons upon the sofa
The consumption of that very thing abjured
Words of warning come to an end
Thoroughly consigned to oblivion
Collateral Murder to Julian Assange
In our dream and all around us there is confusion. Our body
Is still lying on our bed, or in a street that looks destroyed.
In the dream we have a separate body, and then there is the bed
Or the street we are in. We believe that all this is real. The person
Who is sleeping is real, the street is real, and we are convinced
That we are running away. I ran until I came to a place where
There were no helicopters, no 30-millimeter rounds
Being fired. The street is empty of movement, and I tell myself
That there is no one around. I practice walking in my dream.
I see that I am dreaming in my bed, and in the street. I am
About to wake up. I see that the person walking is an illusion.
But the surroundings in which I am walking are not an illusion.
There is real fear, anxiety, and running away from the
30-millimeter rounds, from the helicopters. It’s easy to see
That the street isn’t real. But it’s not easy to see that the bed
Isn’t real in the way I thought it was. I’m living in a dream.
Is goodness something real and distinctive? Compassion is dead.
The feeling of shame is dead. Compliance and deference are
Dead, too. The feeling of right and wrong doesn’t seem real,
In the sense that it doesn’t manifest in human beings who are
Destroyed by 30-millimeter rounds. Human and other animals
Are no longer different from one another. Both have lost
The ability to choose. In the dream we have a separate self.
We are running away from invaders, from an invading army.
In our dream we are not aware that we are still lying on
Our bed. We believe that all this is real.