What We Consider To Be Data

For John Ashbery

With you, the instruction manual to the universal
remote, I’m afraid to report, we also lost. I imagine
there’s plenty more to be butterfingered. The pure
guesswork of the situation. And what you aren’t here to log
accrues in petaflops. In the worsted, disappointed
office spaces. Cracking up or letting on or copping to
the fact that things now grow, gradually, more different.
Why, exactly, you’d be hanging on here, in any case,
when we’d all prefer to progress into that other dimension
of ourselves we do not control, if you can believe it.
Alive and resting as scheduled. Provided we find out
what it is & how best to break the news. Probably just
with lines, falling, the way September moves a curtain
so that what lurks through the pearl gray light can’t be seen.

*

Jeff Hipsher’s work has previously appeared in The Boston Review, The Common, Phoebe, Forklift: Ohio, Sixth Finch and the anthology It Was Written: Poems Inspired by Hip-Hop. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife Sarah and their dog, Emma Frost.

Works cited in these poems include The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Andrew Marvell’s “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn,” Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s The Silver Surfer: The Ultimate Cosmic Experience (1978), Future’s “Use Me,” Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “They Flee From Me,” and John Ashbery’s “The Chateau Hardware,” “The Instruction Manual,” “The Recent Past,” “Pyrography,” & “Late Echo.”

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