By Ben Lerner

For the figure

failed to humanize

the scale. For the work,

the work did nothing but invite us

to relate it to

the wall.

For I was a shopper in a dark



For the mode of address

equal to the war

was silence, but we went on

celebrating doubleness.

For the city was polluted

with light, and the world,


For I was a fraud

in a field of poppies.


For the rain made little

affective adjustments

to the architecture.

For the architecture was a long

lecture lost on me, negative

mnemonics reflecting


and reflecting



For I felt nothing

which was cool,

totally cool with me.

For my blood was cola.

For my authority was small

involuntary muscles

in my face.

For I had had some work done

on my face.


For I was afraid

to turn

left at intersections.

For I was in a turning lane.

For I was signaling,

despite myself,

the will to change.

For I could not throw my voice



For I had overslept,

for I had dressed

in layers for the long

dream ahead, the recurring

dream of waking with

alternate endings

she’d walk me through.

For Ariana.
For Ari.



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