INTERVENTION WITH ABSURDITY AND PARTS OF SPEECH


BAILEY COHEN-VERA



I’ve been driving for eleven hours. I ate 包子 for breakfast.

There was an explosion in Beirut today. There was a hurricane here.

Do you know what is possible when witness is? The quiet act

weakens nouns. I can fall in love twice in one weekend

and not once in three years. I can eat two

bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos, half a pork shoulder,

and a decored pineapple in a day. Last night

while it was raining I ran

out of tears so I drank a bottle of skywater. I was beside myself

so I identified as a shadow. Cataloging keeps me awake.

I’m getting over it. I try to approach everything

with as empathetic of an analysis as possible.

I’d like to go a considerable length of time without thinking

about anything at all. When we smoked weed in the parking lot

emptied by midnight and listened to music for hours it felt

as if we had escaped the decade entirely. I didn’t want to kiss you

but I did all that and more. I’m so vulgar. I also hate being a man.

It’s easy to embody confusion when things like gender get involved.

I’ve kept to the sidelines. I watched the paramilitary

interlock their bicycles around the crowd. The children sang

“You look stupid!” to the police. I’ve learned to tango

twice but forgot each time. Some things just aren’t meant for me.

I’ll be okay. I have healthcare

so much. I’m anxious about teaching

because I despise power and am bad at making friends.

I dislike the color green. Sometimes it feels as if everything I write

is an exercise for the thing I will never. I’m having an affair

with adjectives. Verbs turn me off. If you call something

a war you should at least look me in the eye. Angela Davis says

we internalize exchange value because corporations cause us to express our desires

in terms of commodities. I wonder what role content creators would play

in a general strike. I won’t put too much honey in your tea. I know it’s morning; there’s no

sun but my phone told me so. If you tell me something I’ll believe it. If you can get arrested,

please come to the front. We are dancing; we are sweating out grief and rage. It is almost

always a joyous occasion, with friends, music, laughter, the conjunction,

the standing between the protestors, and.




Listen to "Breezeblocks" by alt-J, selected to accompany "Intervention with Absurdity and Parts of Speech," below:

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BAILEY COHEN-VERA (he/him) is the Assistant Editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. A poet, essayist, and book reviewer, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Iowa Review, Southern Indiana Review, Waxwing, Grist, Poetry Northwest, The Spectacle, and Cherry Tree, among elsewhere. Bailey is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, where he serves as a Wiley Birkhofer Fellow, writing obsessively about bananas. His website is www.baileycohenpoetry.weebly.com.