By Billy-Ray Belcourt (2017), via Matthew Ogle’s Pome.
Towards a Theory of Decolonization
1. forget everything you’ve learned about love.
2. investment is the social practice whereby one risks losing it all
to be part of something that feels like release. lose everything
3. indian time is a form of time travel. a poetics of lateness.
4. i never liked goodbyes, but some of us aren’t here to stay.
5. superstition is a mode of being in the world that keeps ghosts like
me in the living room.
6. the afterlife is the after party: a choreography of mangled bodies.
7. i made a poem out of dirt and ate it.
From Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
“A thriving trade in electricity was under way in dark London, run by those who lived in pockets with power, and Saeed and Nadia were able to recharge their phones from time to time, and if they walked to the edges of their locality they could pick up a strong signal, and so like many others they caught up with the world this way, and once as Nadia sat on the steps of a building reading the new on her phone across the street from a detachment of troops and a tank she thought she saw online a photograph of herself sitting on the steps of a building reading the news on her phone across the street from a detachment of troops and a tank, and she was startled, and wondered how this could be, how she could both read this news and be this news, and how the newspaper could have published this image of her instantaneously, and she looked about for a photographer, and she had the bizarre feeling of time bending all around her, as though she was from the past reading about the future, or from the future reading about the past, and she almost felt that if she got up and walked home at this moment there would be two Nadias, that she would split into two Nadias, and one would stay on the steps reading and one would walk home, and two different lives would unfold for these two different selves, and she thought she was losing her balance, or possibly her mind, and then she zoomed in on the image and saw that the woman in the black robe reading the news on her phone was actually not her at all.”
I picked up Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe yesterday and I’ve just been plowing through it. A passage from early on in the book:
The earliest memory I have of my own dad is the two of us, sitting on my bed as he reads me a book we have checked out from the local library. I am three. I don’t remember what the story is, or even the title of the book. I don’t remember what he’s wearing, or if my room’s messy. What I do remember is the way I fit between his right arm and his body, and the way his neck and the underside of his chin look in the soft yellow light of my lamp, which has a cloth lampshade, light blue, covered by an alternating pattern of robots and spaceships.
This is what I remember: (i) the little pocket of space he creates for me, (ii) how it is enough, (iii) the sound of his voice, (iv) the way those spaceships look, shot through from behind with light, so that every stitch in the fabric of the surface is a hole and a source, a point and an absence, a coordinate in the ship’s celestial navigation, (v) how the bed feels like a little spaceship itself.
People rent time machines.
They think they can change the past.
Then they get there and find out causality doesn’t work the way they thought it did. They get stuck, stuck in places they didn’t mean to go, in places they did mean to go, in places they shouldn’t have tried to go. They get into trouble. Logical, metaphysical, etc.
That’s where I come in. I go and get them out.
I tell people: I have a job, and I have job security.
I have a job because I know how to fix the cooling module on the quantum decoherence engine of the TM-31. That’s the reason I have a job.
But the reason I have job security is that people have no idea how to make themselves happy. Even with a time machine. I have job security because what the customer wants, when you get right down to it, is to relive his worst moment, over and over and over again. Willing to pay a lot of money to do it, too.
From How to Construct a Time Machine, at MK Gallery. (via happyfamousartists).
The show’s title is taken from an 1899 text by the avant-garde French writer, Alfred Jarry, written in direct response to H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Time Machine (1895). Wells invented and popularised a distinctively modern, fictional concept of time travel, with the time machine as a vehicle that could be operated ‘selectively’.Jarry’s response crafted a pseudo-scientific fiction that presents the time machine and time travel as an instance of ‘the science of imaginary solutions.’
Tehching Hseih: One Year Performance, 1980 – 1981, Punching theTime Clock. Photo: Michael Shen, 1980.
100 Years by Kris Martin (“A sleek bronze sculpture, size of a football ball, that also acts as a time bomb. It is set by Martin to detonate in 2104.”)