Home > Poetry > Glossolalia
Published: Sat Jul 1 2017
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

Now that we’re comatose
and ghost apocalypse,
now that our curiosity
has taken us to Mars,
and tracked by satellite
to this handheld device,
we firefly the want
and wish of where we are,
our soundtrack a little
elevator muzak, our soundtrack
“Let the Bodies Hit
the Floor,” now that
we’re hazmat suit and
unmanned drone, riding bareback,
guiding the Hummer home.

So much of it a waiting
for the file to load,
so much of it a sifting
through the spam, now that
our browsing has a traceable
history, now that
there’s a camera crew
in every room. We stick
to script, read from
the autocue. We leave
our brief message after
the tone. There is that lot
of us, all so luscious,
and all that we assume
you shall assume.

For a little cardio, a hamster
wheel in the basement,
for a little cardio, brick dust
and caffeine, now that
we’re pyramid, now
that we’re Ponzi scheme,
rehearsing, for a new reality,
the stand up routine
and the slow jam. A glock
in the glove box and
a console in the hand,
as, through the goggles
of our night vision,
we save the world with
our opposable thumbs.

So much of it objects
in the rearview, so much
of it hashtag and dash cam,
now that we’re preapproved
and pay-per-view, now
that we’re sound bite
and emoticon. Open the box,
undo the bubble wrap.
Are you looking for love?
Do you want fries with that?
Would you mind filling out
this brief questionnaire?
In this fortune cookie
of a life, the objects
of your desire appear closer,

and a man is born to act,
not to prepare. So much
of it twerk and vamp,
the lip-sync of the Karaoke
Queen. So much the ping
pong ball above the words
that scroll across the bottom
of the screen—a gloss-
of apex and root and midline
groove and hyoid bone.
Our soundtrack sample loop,
white noise machine. Our
soundtrack laundered,
like cash, through Auto-Tune.

Ciaran Berry is the author of the poetry collections The Dead Zoo (Gallery Books, 2014) and The Sphere of Birds (Southern Illinois University Press, 2008), which won the Crab Orchard Award. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, The Threepenny Review, AGNI, Ecotone, Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. (updated 6/2017)

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