Lullaby and Goodnight
When you say I’ve got my head in the clouds do you mean that in a good way? What would you do for love? What would I do for love? What if we love each other but our answers are different? Are loquats loquacious? Will the plum and cherry trees bloom again this spring if they’ve already bloomed in winter? & if there’s no water? & again next year? What compels me? Is it possible to live compelled by what I desire rather than by what I fear? How to remain stable enough in the process of prying open so I don’t fall apart? How to “refuse the logic that stages refusal as inactivity”? (Harney & Moten). How to weld the refusal to the demand such that through desiring something else, something more, we could come to know our own power? What can a little moonlight do?
If I have no hope in the cognitive realm, maybe I can at least cultivate affective hope? “Is it really so sad and dangerous to be fed up with seeing with your eyes, breathing with your lungs, swallowing with your mouth, talking with your tongue, thinking with your brain, having an anus and larynx, head and legs?” (Deleuze & Guattari). What? You don’t like horses? I like Andrew’s idea to adopt a gaggle of kids and build a Mad Max biker gang in the desert of the future Bay, but is it feasible? Do you too feel anxious while waiting for an elevator, not knowing who or what will be inside when the doors open? Will they eventually design a “phone” that can’t make a telephone call?
Why can’t I help but waver between hopelessness (isn't it a pity?) and resiliency or something like faith in conatus, in desire? How do I direct myself to act while under the influence of that striving rather than the deadening? How to develop the “infinite senses” capital has prevented us from experiencing/becoming? "What does Webster's say about soul?" What are they doing in heaven today?
How to fully grieve someone who hasn’t died, just disappeared? If you’re hypersensitive and I’m stoic, where does that leave us? “What is a friend who really, really / likes it when you crawl?” (David Larsen). Can hope be built from despair? Is one empty without the other? “Suddenly, the whole world might not even exist at all, right?” “What happens when the loss of what’s not working is more unbearable than the having of it, and vice versa” (Berlant)? If somebody loves you won’t they always love you?
“What are the politics of being ready to die and what have they to do with the scandal of enjoyment?” (Harney & Moten). With so many miserable people everywhere, how to not turn bitter & closed-off? Why does it feel naïve to ask questions? What is theory for? Why do I open 20 browser tabs every morning at work only to delete them slowly one by one without having really read anything? Is intention ever enough, or must there be follow-through? Is this a question about means and ends? Would it be more difficult to ignore the moon (as some fools do) if more than one satellited the Earth? What would the community think?
What are the realms (even fleeting ones) where capital has not yet stuck its filthy fingers? How to cultivate and expand those areas, whether affects, relations, territories? If we call our team “pretty little bluebirds,” will we always lose? What is our level of complicity? Will we admit we were here? Will we have an explanation? Where did I get the idea that through a life of self-negation I’ll be pardoned for my relative (white USAmerican) privilege? Personal misery doesn’t somehow counteract systematic global inequality, does it? How does it feel to be doubly “free”? Are my coworkers better at approaching waged tasks as ends in themselves, or have I too been fooled by their performances? Do they notice my work ethic waning? What if the utopianism of a demand “is not a liability but an asset” (Kathi Weeks)? What has produced “one billion city-dwellers who inhabit postmodern slums”? How to have solidarity with those boomers who refuse to recognize how drastically different everything is now? Is it true that from a space of self-confidence and a clean bill of psychic health I’ll be more open, trusting, and empathetic with others? With ever expansive others? How to confound debilitating dichotomies?
Is the “if you don’t know me by now” trope about deep desire to be seen or is it about a stubborn refusal to adapt and change? Is it both? Is it always both? When did I get so caught up in binary thinking? Is that what college did to me? Will I live in this slowly shrinking studio apartment for the rest of life? When will open restaurant kitchens go out of fashion? In what manner do you cross your legs? Is that about gender performance or comfort or both? Should I be worried or pleased (given the terms) that my boss reads managerial books to encourage a more satisfying work environment? Can envy be put to good use? Can any hard-to-admit affect? Or is that just becoming a good citizen for capital to better chew up and spit out? “What can I make with / what I have?” (Cedar Sigo). Which failures of courage most plague me? Which guiding lights am I relieved to no longer be led by? Maybe she just has to sing for the sake of the song?
Alli Warren was born in Los Angeles. In her poems, Warren explores themes of social, economic, and personal desire. Describing Warren’s debut collection Here Come the Warm Jets as “self-reflective, interestingly interrogative, and a lot of fun,” in a 2013 Booklist review, Mark Eleveld noted that the book “places the reader...