Amnesia, 2007 / Nightshift, Mandatory Overtime II

Joe Hall

Printing textbooks is a heavy responsibility,

but Von Hoffmann Corporation has the muscle to do the job.

I’m climbing into a dumpsterin late July to jump up and downon flats of flowers gone to seedto make room for more footing shiftingas slim worlds of petalspulp to slime against matte plasticlike surfing trash in rubberwaders with a fishnetwind is whipping through the tractor trailerthe wind an unpayable loadthe trailer what someone thought they ownedwind is whipping through the trailerdon’t look backthe bad angel tells the manwho is guiltyof caring for no onedon’t look backto where a kid waits for a mealto leave this way in the worldmilitarized economictumbledown branchesno multi-tiered cosmosvine climbed bars spongy shouldersexhaling shins worn rampbelt and scrubber pushingsplitting doors distributionwas a place for a body minus selfslams the ramp forwardpetty as weight slides shiverplanetary veins cataclysmicashes fashion understandingnow get to workon that which holds your earto the expectation acceleration bringslonely people lighting their wallscoring some thoughtsome field math scratchedinto presence to findin the orange rind anotherhand near twins alivecan’t match the abrasionthis hand nearin the orange rind anothercould trace to twindon’t match the equationa hand near meets its life—boxes down ramps sliding—

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Joe  Hall

Joe Hall has performed in 41 cities, 25 states, Washington, DC, and Canada—and is a founding member of Hostile Books, a small press committed to radical materiality. His other books include Pigafetta Is My Wife and The Devotional Poems, both also published by Black Ocean.

Someone ‘s Utopia is about work and the mystery of making. The book’s spectral labor is a séance. Readers may hear echoes of Alice Notley and Lorine Niedecker, punctuated by the table-rapping of the invisible hand of capitalism, as they witness the (un)making of the familiar world. Drawing from a wide range of sources—including interviews with contemporary workers and journals from members of a utopian 19th century community—Hall yokes the often unspoken, generational labor of hands and collective dreams to words. Hall connects global histories of migration, laborers losing themselves on conveyor belts, nineteenth-century zealots, and poets planting roses in industrial greenhouses to unmask the invisible material and ideological labor that prepares the world for us.”
—Emily Anderson

Someone ‘s Utopia is stricken testimony from the Anthropocene, transcribed in the evaporating zero of stolen pensions, on the yellowing grass of Superfund sites. Borrowing from Studs Terkel’s elegies, Hayden Carruth’s astringent indictments, and the eco-polyphony of Brenda Hillman, these poems offer a bouquet of ‘Vicodin roses,’ pairing medieval cyphers with familial trauma, buttermilk with ammonia, and legal codicils with carcinoma. ‘The hour is coming,’ Hall tells us. ‘It has come.’”
—Simeon Berry

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