which led me to wonder what would have happened if Gerald Ford and Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan came out in sparkly polyester and started two-stepping in time with the trumpet players

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before the virus becomes perpetual
before we become petulant
before our palms sweat
before we degenerate
and our humor gets morbid

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His permit specifically says:
Out of the way.
There are local officials on hand
To decide what constitutes
​Out of the way.

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Mashinski’s book privileges me to enter another’s memory and dilemmas: her story in lyrical prose, a story in poems—written at times in the flattest voice of acknowledgment about how the earth and its devils will give you enough lives--enough to have one, after choosing to leave another.

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Slag heaps lit up
by the streetlamps –
polished up
shame
shining hard,

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Every love is average, longs for an outside to say forever in under three minutes. In the cinemas boats capsize, buildings burn and the soft rock stylings proceed as if love were weather, its form needing no defense.

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How the trickle of pity unfolds, how the decadence of liturgy is a bitter taste of blood; or, fishing deep, the vermin streaks and you at the threshold, all those sweeping features, all the rocks that climb out of the sea, all the thieves clinging to the peaks.

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For a second, I assume I’ve failed to zone back in, like the times I’ve been engrossed by words on a page, so much so a favourite album has skipped several tracks imperceptibly. When this happens, I feel hot shame.

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It’s not that hard to learn that friends have died.
We’re used to death fucking everything up.
But to watch them suffer, to listen to them
​scream. And whimper. And moan. That’s rough.

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If it’s natural for some types of people to act that way,
then maybe de-naturing is what’s needed. If we’re going
to go down, let’s go down flaming. The two-party system
bats a shuttlecock of trivia, caked in fake, back and further
back; we are the net, immobile, invisible, watching the news

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I do not like the person gathering behind these words
I do not believe his wound is what he says it is
​I see nothing in his chipped little eyes that leads me to believe

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Gazing through the glass I realised that what I had taken for gravel was in fact a mass of broken teeth, the silvery objects pieces of amalgam, fragments of old fillings half-buried among the shards of tooth enamel.

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