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The Right to Be Forgotten 
Sun in, out, flirtatious, in tandem

with whatever Empire wants
with each brain’s files, 

the women in trenches stroll, the men in tailored trousers power up. 

Philanthropists’ thirty-odd gasses in the guts 
to light the towers. Mail lessens to soil, 
phones fall out and melt a bit on their corners—

My charger, old age comes into the room to see the mice
masticating the underworld’s 
slang, core and pith. Sunken house, black silk, suck and sob. 

I figured if I ever wanted to wear a petticoat again, 
I’d better do it now. 

One anthologist said to another, it’s time for a new genre. 

Against the rosy prose era
I grow higher and higher in the heel. 

Fahrenheit of the paperback 
under glass, pointed wind

in clock’s white, stare there. 
Finally Virtue comes in. I don’t trust her! 

Whether from the body of the stream
or from the surface of the stream

comes the spoken tongue. 
I take it too far. 

One panel of a double church door, unhinged from its portal, 
leans sideways on the barn’s
salvaged side. I’m off message, Father, forgive me, 
the piece I ate of Sweet Jesus was spat low
as up I flew into unpredictable currents
beneath carrion, turkey, and vulture. 
I was somewhere else, I remember the slow forms. 

What was, dead. What becomes. 

Sam Cooke’s self-command of the human back, 
head tilted up to release such vocables. 

Play of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse

through Death’s gross parties, 

attention without subject the highest form
of prayer. 

How to cease to be
and still have dominion. One ear bud always falls out. 

Could be a humanism, could be a nihilism, 
we laugh to see ourselves

so at ease in this mirror. 
Come eve, all vape, makeshift. A darker plate glass

across from a darker plate glass. 

Consciousness a gathering, floating kimono in space
we stand in to thread, disassemble, and fuzz. 

Where the infernal conjures its musicians, 
composition complies. 
The mouse takes to her wheel 
but the wheel flees
down the path, gathering dirt upon dirt
to make its own orbit, where we read
what we read
the world over, 
with our half-closed eyes. 

Over the bridge the people walk. 
The people who were told not to walk over that bridge. 
Do not think of the bridge, we are waiting for you. 
The people who had been forewarned. 
The present murders their sons. 

as though a defunct

vice vice president
follows not far behind

like someone whispering
“drought     drought     drought” 
in the theatrical rain

falling all over 

my face

from the overgrown topiary, the red dwarf star

Between the weed fields, cattle’s breath smelling of chamomile to make the sweet cheese. 
Paramilitary, postmilitary. 
They removed the guardrail, 
and said 
we are like a family here, and everyone ran. 

Gillian Conoley’s A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems (Nightboat Books, 2019) won the Northern California Book Award. She received the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America. Conoley is poet-in-residence at Sonoma State University, where she edits Volt. Her translation of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken (City Lights), excerpts from which were first published in Conjunctions:61, A Menagerie, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s top-ten fall 2014 poetry releases.