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Remarkably, I write to you on a day
that would most like to remain a place,

which despite rain could be an active time,

when we could all be so productive

taking samples of hair, nails, and skin,

growing them inside our desk blenders.

You’d use a food processor yourself,

to see yourself emerge calorie-like from

the centrifugal DNA foam. A kelsius

sort of reminder, which you could

combust like repetition of genes.

So you tell us that you would like

to rename the clone who set you on fire

in an alternative energy toasting,

who wrote protest letters

from the secret hatchways

of the take-home office laptop

that other assistant to the office assistant

who returns with mysterious broadsheets

filled with news of IT and THEM.

You would like us to identify

problems like this that cause delays,

people who transfer every phone

call to our desk, deliver each

visitor experimenting on chickens.

They all make us lazy

on days that could be most productive,

making more clones, those duplicates of you

hanging around your house like pantyhose,

playing guitars and eating all the soybeans,

those pots smoking on your stove,

blinking messages you always have to return,

and always have to talk, greeting the public, hung over,

displaying the corporation. You’ll really have

to build a higher trading tower

if you want us to cancel magazines

and inscribe computer codes with mock metal

bales dropped over islands. You would like us

to write your name upon a hook-shaped coast

or take a mercador map and find the corner closest

to your calling. This clone you sent us, folded

in a sort of book, we’re trying to decipher

the secret messages you must have thought

were hidden inside a blank eye inside the blank eye,

this clone you sent, C.O.D., did you think

she’d tell us stories of your upholster

of the entailments, paint like the new tempura,

a kind of global going local, or loco going global,

with your kind of a view of a park?

You give nothing to community projects,

from your height upon aluminum ladders,

you fire anyone who drops coffee in your boxers,

your clone stalks women in the lavatories,

writing down their complaints in lipstick on a mirror,

you think the office maid cleans up after herself too—

after all, you left her with enough

styrofoam coffee cups to build an igloo metropolis.

Asphalt stretches from one cubicle to the other.

You build a road paved with power ties cemented

into a pattern, the pattern you like most, the one

that appears behind your eyelids

when you attempt to dream,

that is, the stock market in an upsurge,

with your stock leading all the other clones, and

your name emblazoned on one billion brass plaques,

one more air conditioner to add to your porn closet,

one more employee to bring you the right stuff stuff.

If these are the words you cringe to find crumpled up

in your outbasket, then let them come to you via in-boxes,

or handed to you as you walk by a railroad station,

the kind of company you hate to ride on a bicycle with,

the kind of folks you shudder to see on your windshield,

the kind of folks who drop your golf clubs on your toe

and complain about the pesticides. It’s this that

you’d like to cancel, that you’d scrape a carpet for

with your fingernails, searching for your own unique

eyelash. They took it and generated it, deconstructed

into an uncontrollable feedback of static,

the kind of music you hear kids play, reading

poetry on the sly at night, with a flashlight under

sheets and comforters, this takes place under your

very own roof...Oh, I’d write to you that there’s so much

room for improvement, that there are places who’d much

rather remain times. Despite the rain, there are situations

which you’d best assign to us, the others

playing guitars and growing organic wheatgrass sprouts.

These are the kinds of times that should remain places

and lost within are spaces and times that take time.

You reach for a match to see better through the dimming offices,

cubicles darkening one after the other, as each

worker turns out their small flourescent nighty light,

takes the elevators down to see the nascent fireworks,

the imaginary ones set off by ghostly ships,

the inexplicable coming into the harbor.


Marcella Durand

Marcella Durand is the author of The Prospect (Delete Press, 2020) and a recent recipient of the C.D. Wright Award in Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2003

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