At our worst press conferences
whatever spotlit official will pause
and step back to let the wind rush
over a bouquet of hot mics and roar
revenge. Off screen, a thousand
automatic shutter bursts whisper
yes, yes. During marginal moments
in these live feeds, you catch staffers
passing with clipboards, anxiously
orchestrating their uplinks. But we
must imagine the hum of the newsvan
antennae telescoping up and down so
often. That’s the text we should read
together. We should study every lull,
subject it to our own psychography.
Forget those stylish communiqués
shilling synthetic facial hair and framed
giclées of suburban drugstore aisles.
If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory.
In this method, what you eventually learn
is that you are the instrument.
Most of the variance is explained
by you. Try wishing that away.
When we share line-of-sight, you’ll realize.
I am a famous actor’s skeleton.
You know him, he’s talking aliens
on video loop at the Duty Free.
I am all the unenclosed space
in Shannon’s Schematic Diagram
of a General Communication System.
That’s figure one in the original text.
In our version, most of the boxes have
been replaced with latex horror masks.
Where once were one-way arrows
now are knotty bootlaces.
In the center, the small nameless box
does not change. It is our index.
It is our compass rose. Remember, it’s eight-
to-one bits of English text to entropy.
You also learn not to mention
something’s validity since we don’t
really use that term, despite what
you have probably read. It’s suspect.
I am the instrument. I am suspect.
I am the season’s last snowball,
saved in the freezer until it’s clear
and far too hard to dream of throwing.
About the author:
Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York.