List e (from “Groceries”)
Feng Sun Chen
Nobody in Fern City was good enough. The people looked and looked within themselves
and then without themselves. They began to hate each other.
Soap: Everyone was special, see.
Everyone secretly or blatantly desired to be celebrities in Fern City.
Nobody remembers their lines. Only TV stars remember the future.
Watching Fern City at night from the top of a hill is like watching TV. Cubes of light.
A star relays a message from the past remembering the future. Kiss kiss, it says.
Static from the beginning of time sets up the finale.
But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer
and tent peg. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground,
and so he died. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him.
She said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.”
Yes, yes, yes. Let the ancient speak for me.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains, and fill the valleys with your carcass.
How much do I love thee?
I will water the land with what flows from you, and the riverbeds shall be filled with your blood.
In Fern City I have seen god and what was the remedy. Many-eyed like a dragonfly, or a city lit up with electricity.
A universal Turing machine calculates its name
and the rattling cubes of our hearts.
God is a girl in love. The martyring type.
Such suffering of Fern’s citizens gives him purpose.
When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens, and all the stars will darken;
Silence, which is not additive,
can be filled with anything.