brian strang

not asking


the lower floors of an industrial park are seemingly lifeless: pure sterility.
architectural reign of influence is total. this is the rise of a new religion. this trope
has given up its ashes. a lake bottom is exposed. highlanders drinking from skulls.
in circles around a fire. this is the worst news in weeks. the tax base will dissolve.
a thigh bone as evidence of the giants who lived before. these limbs are a ghost
cult. the emergence of human decision. a legacy in embryo. selective and
flamboyant trends: finger smashing is a popular hobby. some wasted nothings
asked for water on the killing floor.


the interrogation begins in many ways

sudden camera movements for every shade of elation

of the supremacy of parsing revolutionary fervor

denials of the existence of multiple background checks

stunning the doubters with choreographed bodyslams

who has followed you down to the stadium?

who has given you untoward advice?

who has pulled the feathers from your headdress?

the exposure of your good graces causes a shudder

in the presentation of your values


how my little minds have outgrown themselves

how my little astronauts have set down on distant value systems

how much time has organized itself around your desires

how low the all-stars have become

and synonyms have decentered themselves

the human tendency toward conflict with strangers

gives way under the thumb of singularity

to assume the necessity of your own existence

to assure yourself a place

to open the door to achievement


possibly crafted by hand a book which has inscribed and foretold the ways of
calamity to come. the suffering is prefigured in our time now. open your hands
and extract the pieces of bone inserted in the webbing. nothing less than dissent
and aggression. a radial road system from the capital is established anew carrying
information to competitors and subservient colonies alike.

sit on our hands. know that potential is locked in a jar under your bed. it is called
"top dog" and it resides in everyone's special place. look through your eyes. see
the trademark symbol printed in the top left-hand corner. touch your toes. feel
the springs installed after recall. say the word unforgettable. hear the logo
embedded within the phrase.

consider the fact that everyone is a bit nearsighted and the recycled air you breathe
is augmented with avarice. space and location are not yours to give away.


you find yourself trying to remember what was important. what you thought was
important. trying to live according to plan. according to a visible code.
transparency begins to creep into tangible objects. what do you want this to be? a
flattened web of abstract projects hardens beneath your feet. a vacuous and quiet
place. the gift of nothing.

some inner dial turns away from the high numbers and toward patience
or surrender. some inner dial spins and smokes. taking capsules by the dozen.
blowing the doors off with accumulated discrepancies. you find yourself listening
through the floorboards for some sign of life. you think about how highly
constructed logic has given way how assurances have fallen through and hang
suspended in a hardened crystalline surface.

seemingly sudden. through the years you realize that you have arrived here.
sometimes dizzy with erstwhile exhaustion. you have arrived somewhere that is
temporary without knowing how you got here.


how my spying porcupines have become increasingly feral

how my astronauts have become alarmingly incoherent

how they cause resentment even among the rank and file doorslammers

you get pleasure with the signs of the time

this horrifies my sense of perspective

and cripples the human tendency toward each other

behavior has become less predictable

presence the result of fear

imagine that you have stripped away the construct for even a moment

what will you tell your little astronauts when they return?


in some sort of grid where answers are binary. body movements are squared and
everything happens in integers. a blank space. a network of answers covers the
possibilities. footsteps are provided for you. a body lay cold but still alive. you
had expected to find the inside of his skull lined with mirrors cut very exactly at
oblique angles approximating the organic roundness of bone. palming the
hemisphere slowly pulling it away. it was as you had thought. this scene was
predetermined. you enacted the only possibility.

you want to throw yourself into ceaseless novelty. here in a bottle a box a
hole a chair. you find yourself without markers. you find yourself wanting some kind of
escape hatch a secret passage a button to press. you hope that there is a way out.
you find yourself wondering if everything has happened in the last few minutes.

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