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Travis Sharp :: Five poems from Monoculture

from “if p, then q, then not-p, then [proposition 2]”

2.0 sometimes God dies
2.1 and there is no longer a totality
2.2 so the nation-state is created
2.2a to fill the void
2.3 the nation = 1
2.4 but also contains many 1s
2.5 the nation = 1 > 1
2.6 this is called American exceptionalism
2.6a an exception is a limit
2.6b a limit is a horizon
2.6c a horizon is a form of destiny
2.6d therefore, American exceptionalism is a form of Americanness understood as having a limit
2.6d1 a limit of delimits
2.6d2 or a limitless limit, always limiting
2.7 it sounds so exhausting
2.8 it exhausts itself and everyone else like so much time pollution

from “if p, then q, then not-p, then [proposition 3]”

3.0 the nation is a 1
3.1 that creates many 1s
3.1a in its image
3.1b it’s as if there are cameras on every corner
3.1c the contemporary city is so erotic
3.2 that is called becoming a citizen
3.3 a citizen = 1 < 1
3.4 the subtraction inherent in value
3.5 the violence of a decimal
3.6 mathematics of subject positions has no absolute limit
3.7 you just get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and
3.8 the runner never reaches the finish line
3.9 you vote but never make it to the polling station
3.9a money talks
3.9b and the commodities will vote for you, my dear

from “Salvage Rhythms; City Naturescape; Beauteous Boustrophedonic; Three Left Turns”

birds caught in the storm eye / circling round for days and days and / when the storm reaches land / the wealthy have already left for vacation / and the prison guards have abdicated / have you noticed when the poor / leave it’s called an evacuation / the land has been nullified of poverty / the birds land exhausted / they find shelter too tired / to mourn those evacuated under water / the prisoners stand on makeshift / step stools heads side ways kissing / the ceiling keeping the water out / of their lungs their lips / pulse

from “Salvage Rhythms; City Naturescape; Beauteous Boustrophedonic; Three Left Turns”

freedom means putting up a fence / means a man’s hand on my / throat is a type of free / dom means wide open skies / and miles and miles and miles / of grazing cattle occupying / 41% of the contiguous United States / means immense piles of shit sitting / in large pink pools dotting / the landscape after a hurricane / what a great opportunity / for investment means years after you find / images online heaping piles of pig / bodies arrayed symmetrically / outside an abandoned flesh factory / from a certain distance it looks / like the building has vomited / them out a bright pink expulsion

the future, the echo, the timeline

in 1991, 1989 collapses into 1992
in 1992, 1915 collapses into 1993
in 1993, 1990 collapses into 1994
in 1994, 1110 collapses into 1995
in 1995, 2000 collapses into 1996
in 1996, 2013 collapses into 1997
in 1997, 1961 collapses into 1998
in 1998, 1973 collapses into 1999
in 1999, 1999 collapses into 2000
in 2000, 1000 collapses into 2001
in 2001, 0001 collapses into 2002
in 2002, 1939 collapses into 2003
in 2003, 0000 collapses into 2004
in 2004, 1940 collapses into 2005
in 2005, 1941 collapses into 2006
in 2006, 1942 collapses into 2007
in 2007, 1943 collapses into 2008
in 2008, 1944 collapses into 2009
in 2009, 1946 collapses into 2010
in 2010, 1777 collapses into 2011
in 2011, 1501 collapses into 2012
in 2012, 1987 collapses into 2013
in 2013, 1284 collapses into 2014
in 2014, 1877 collapses into 2015
in 2015, 1914 collapses into 2016
in 2016, 1939 collapses into 2017
in 2017, 2001 collapses into 2018
in 2018, 1666 collapses into 2019
in 2019,

Travis Sharp is the author of the chapbook Sinister Queer Agenda (above/ground press, 2018) and the artist’s book one plus one is two ones (Recreational Resources, 2018). He's an editor and designer at Essay Press, a teaching artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and a PhD student in the SUNY Buffalo Poetics Program. His poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, Puerto del Sol, Bombay Gin, P-Queue, and elsewhere.

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