Tuesday, January 5, 2021

ryan fitzpatrick : Well, Okay




One day,
we’ll be left to dig 

in the record crates

of this recent history,

looking for someone

with their finger pointed

in our new direction.

Released today,
Phoebe Bridgers sings:

And when your skinhead neighbour

goes missing, I’ll plant a garden

Instead of Clint Black singing:
I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout tomorrow,

I’ve been lost in yesterday.

Somewhere between those
is a definition of whiteness.

so you want to do 

something on your land,

you can’t, 

but if the city does it

they think they should get into heaven?

Vulgar Marxism 

seems pretty tasty now.

One thing I love
about Twitter is the way

my liking of your post 

dunking on some random racist

through a quote tweet

inadvertently platforms

some racist invective

because that’s the way

the algorithm works.

I wanted to add a deep worry
to the discourse

over whether we’ll learn

to manage the future

the way an algorithm

Watching streams of
The Last of Us Part II
it turns out that humans

are the real problem.

The white fantasy
of murder-spree-as-method

just one form of practice

for the end times.

Scissors plus tape
equals a shiv.

Alcohol plus rag
equals both a med kit

and a molotov.

Twenty some hours
mastering sightline geometry

followed by the moral

that all the murder you did

is bad.

The game innovates
by replacing the white man

using his assault rifle

to protect the family unit

with two white women

beating each other 

at the edge of the ocean

of their grief over 

men holding rifles.

The virgin Abby vs.
the chad Ellie.

Really, we’re left
with a triad of possibilities:

the collectivized militia,

the queered couple form,

and the lone wolf murder agent.

In the problem of disentangling 
our current carceral relation

while negotiating another relation,

it’s either chaos 

or the stability of the monument.

The difference between
abolish the police

and defund the police?

The difference between
defund the police

and reform the police?

The difference between
reform the police

and better educate the police?

What if I’m really just afraid 
that my murder skills

won’t be enough 

to survive The Purge?

Or what if I’m too much in love
with social reproduction?

Something about the way soft
power compliments hard power.

Actual email from Instacart:
Taking Steps Toward

Actionable Change

What’s the shortest distance
between this and 

Kendal Jenner solving

police brutality by

giving a cop a Pepsi

with the ad copy:

The Revolution Will Not

Go Well With Coke!

But no true revolutionary
will admit that the complexity

of the situation

can feel intimidating.

The tunnel vision of memory
collapsing action

under its own weight.

I remember the corny joys
of listening to free-floating signifiers

of country music

over the shitty boom box

in my parents’ kitchen.

The reedy overproduction
of Alabama’s 1983 hit

“Dixieland Delight”:

A little turtle-dovin’ on 

a Mason-Dixon night

Bugs Bunny attempting
to cross into the lush

fertile South from 

the desertified North

only to meet the belated rifle 

of Yosemite Sam.

The romanticized antebellum
of my mom’s favourite movie.

If I admit that I care about
these things and the ways 

they drifted up to Alberta,

how much does that

reinforce white supremacy?

And does mentioning them
constitute a kind of harm?






ryan fitzpatrick is the author of three books and fifteen chapbooks of poetry, including Coast Mountain Foot (Talon, 2021), Fortified Castles (Talon, 2014), and Fake Math (Snare/Invisible, 2007).

Photo by Danielle LaFrance

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