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View from a Dodo Chair

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A mutable shape stating that downtime hasn’t gone the way of the dodo.

Yet the days of sitting around seem extinct.

Now it’s all go-go. No need to go into it; who doesn’t know the feeling?

The dodo, maybe? Its temporality is other.

Its inability to adapt rendered it obsolete.

And so this prop here is adaptable as if to right evolutionary wrongs.

It encourages a certain flight, of the sitter’s focus inward, when tilting back, and when sitting straight, to one’s surroundings, an outrospection.

English?

Both ways must be had, or else ... 

All hinging on a lever and a handle, not as foolproof as the nod to Alice might lead you to believe.

Some groping under the seatback and trial and error is required.

And there’s no how-to either. “The best way to explain it is to do it.”

Feet on the ground, it’s the drama of everyday living.

Feet up, it’s the island of the mind, the dwelling place for other dodos whose existence only pictures and written accounts 
corroborate.

Change or die.

Who wants to go back to zero again?

Source: Poetry (June 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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View from a Dodo Chair

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  • Poet, translator, and scholar Mónica de la Torre was born and raised in Mexico City. She earned a BA from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and, with the support of a Fulbright scholarship, relocated to New York in 1993 to pursue an MFA and a PhD in Spanish literature at Columbia University.
     
    With dark humor, de la Torre’s poems explore our constructions of identity and trajectory. Her full-length poetry collections include Public Domain (2008), Talk Shows (2007). She has also published the chapbooks Four (Switchback) and The Happy End (Song Cave). With artist Terence Gower, she co-authored the art book Appendices, Illustrations and Notes (1999). She frequently collaborates with artists and writers, as with Collective Task. Taller de Taquimecanografía, published in Mexico City, is the result of another collaboration. She contributed to Predictions (2009), a study of indeterminacy, and to the conceptual critical work Laureana Toledo: The Limit (2008).
     
    De la Torre coedited, with...

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