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The Pleasure and Satisfaction of Living


after Denise Riley


Since there is still profit to be made from none,
Then I who will tread lightly

On my own head without realizing
And you who will empty out money from

Form without caring or realizing and
I who go about my day

Beating down like a sun or a factory,
Without knowing or caring or realizing.

And so we do, and we go about
Those shadowy things and their things

A battery a fulcrum a stack of sheet metal
We go between the light and the night

A Personal Assistant a MALM bed frame
We have no plot, we are completely

Ungrounded, nothing but dependent
And changeable forms of praxis

There are still wild berries bitter but edible
And root vegetables generally disliked

Turned on their heads without realizing
There are still people who do not want to

Know what they want, there are still
People who like me know how

To earn enough money to reproduce
Themselves but don’t want to reproduce

Themselves that way or this way
There are still clients and patients and colleagues all

Waiting for their moment in the sun
Beating down like a sun
               Made of chocolate and dreams and automation

I feel desperate to show you a category
But there are still people who have none

I feel full of impersonal compulsions
But it must differ it must be unique

Advance on the hill of implacable concepts
A loyalty day a demand for free speech

There are those of moralizing aspect
Keen to point out our consistent defeat but

The meagre turnip the meek rutabaga
Can’t be the only impossible vision

Go about your day as you really are
In the growing gulf of dying stars

There are still people who like a long arc
Or a long march or a long day on your feet

Appear to turn unfettered yet there they are
And there in action still is the moon

Imitating its own waxing and waning
making it difficult not to commit arson

I resealed the box that made you better
There are still people locked out of it, thus

I reinvented the loaf of bread
There are still tactics like this roaming free



Amy De'Ath

Amy De’Ath’s most recent poetry publication is On My Love for Gender Abolition (New York: Capricious, 2016). She has written a number of essays on contemporary poetry, gender, and value-form theory and with Fred Wah, is the editor of a poetics anthology, Toward. Some. Air.(Banff Centre Press, 2015).She is Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King’s College London, and is currently working on her first critical book, Unsociable Poetry: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetics.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2018

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