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 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.