Overheard in the Herd

You have to make sure you have skin in the game was one of the rules they
yelled out near the end. Also one must have hope. Also watch the clock, the clock is
running out. Out of what. I had hoped to escape. To form one lucid unassailable
thought. About what? It did not matter about what. It just needs to be, to be

shapely and true. Let me tell you. To feel a thought one came up with one’s self.
Out of one’s interiority. There. That’s the whole story. If humanity. If to hang on claw
back what to call it. However atrophied. Not not-living. Yes horribly close-
quartered. However much we missed the bus. However much we should have

been there while it lasted. Hear us: it lasted. Even here off the bus its lastingness
keeps blossoming & spooling onward. Yes it’s a game it’s always just a game. The wind is
hissing this all afternoon. But even it, raspy and weakening, plunders this space that it
might find some emptiness. From mind. Lean in & you’ll hear plenitude. Listen it’s trying

to make a void again. In which to hear itself. It’s too alone. Everything wants em-
bodiment. But there’s this noise now it’s replacing everything. This humming of agreement
fast-track skipped-step information yes yes yes yes lost hope lost will—dear dis-
embodiment, here is an old wind, watch it orchestrate event, I raise my hand to find

my face again, I know I am supposed to think I’m whole, there is no holiness in me,
can I begin again, I’d like to try to get this right, we might if gotten right go
on, whom am I speaking to, whom, I’ll pick up the acid the wrappers the 3D glasses, I’ll
gather up the spotless tools printers magnifiers, the place is wired for sound I’ll cut

the wires, I’ll drag the cursors off, I’ll sweep it clean, they’ve taught me to, I think this way
because I am human, that’s my secret occupation, I am unusually common, I can get it
right if you just tell me, we have a shot, whom am I speaking to, why is that laughter
seeping-out nonstop from the invisible, from hospice hospital embassy cathedral—

oh ghost institutions—why must you hover here—spy here—before me always though in-
visible. Or is it invincible. I can’t make out the words being said. Or is it sent. In my
direction. I’ll wait for an answer. I have indeed nothing better to do. I have nothing
actually at all to do. We cannot remember having that—a thing to do. To be needed

what was that like. To figure, discover, uncover, recover. To make bring think shape.
To fold, to crease prepare serve-up. To imagine. To buy hold name sell. To shape. To
order. This haunts us now. To make a thing for another. For another’s use. To fashion,
to offer, to bring, hide, make. To serve. Oh to serve.... My new humanity is now relieved of

duty. My soul has its alarm turned off. No my soul has this knot in its throat—or is it a
gag—pacified, petrified, up all night counting silently toward infinity. Losing its
place. How many of us are left. What else could happen. Has it all already happened.
Who is they. That autocorrected to thy. Why. No matter what I say it fixes it. It’s fixed.
More Poems by Jorie Graham