ARMED CELL 6 Edited by Brian Ang Covers by Mayakov+sky from The Purloined Question (towards Plasti-City) Physical edition of 100 Free ARMED CELL 6 was first distributed at the Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion 6 reading at the Studio One Art Center, Oakland, January 26, 2014. ARMED CELL 7 will appear in July 2014. Submit cover images and writing by the end of May 2014 for consideration.


from WE ARE NOTHING AND SO CAN YOU The wrongness of words is a wrongness of worlds. This much, at least, we could say plainly, while the poets effervesced around us, scampering into the exacting receivership of the night. We were not poets any longer. We were more like terrorists. We had graduated, finally, into the stinging light that strikes the isometric pictographs like a death-ray strikes the mirrored faces of the robot lords. Standing there in the antechambers, still dripping from that sea of slanderous predicates, armed only with the hollow of the clocks, the massing and tilting of things said by people to the rooms that encase them – we put every last word we knew on paper. We had no choice: the machines took the words from us outright, frontally, like lesser nobles deeding the mowing meadows of the ancient peasantry to themselves, took even the words we tried hardest not to think, took them and translated them into the poetry of the state, the case file, the database. We were expressed, like the juice of an orange, and that was our last poetry, our final overflowing into the barf bag of total administration. There was nothing left in us but sight, and nothing left to do but see it. We found the right words once, long ago, the Orphic panorama shuddering with vowels and glossy fire. It was as if anybody was everybody, anywhere everywhere, spread across the whole world, become horizon, threshold. Gimme the fucking money! All of those people crawling around on the ground as if they were collecting tiny fragments of some precious, panic-trampled thing. Gimme the money! Like magic, it made the blood come out of their ears. It made them give up everything that could be seen. As if you were a flame, wicked through the streets of the city, through buildings, through the flaring nostrils and wires and the branches of trees and blades of grass and tangled roots. And yet you knew, at once, that the world with which you were consubstantial was the wrong world, however much the words really did drape down around it like a fitted sheet. Its graduated approximations, its shaped dirt and concrete and steel, its spooling, entropic way of talking to itself about us, its possessed citizens with their calculable transactions and commercial pleasantries and exchange of elaborately printed slips that directed their behavior according to simple arithmetic. Well, maybe. Life in the metropolis has made me desperately literal, I’m afraid. The things that are true are the things that happen, that keep happening however grandly we refuse to believe in them. They declare themselves outright, as simple as a giant Santa Claus on fire, the walls of the party headquarters puffed out in front of the blast wave.

* Here there is space and space and space but no time, no dying, not even one nanosecond left for the decay of excited carbon into speculative melodrama from philosophy dudes. So much space you can’t move. The surplus oxygen makes the air swim. The light heals over or sinks to the bottom; attenuated people clump together in the damp heat while the objects through which one recognizes them (as us) bulge around you, like the gummy, unblinking surface of an eye. Without time, space hardens, it scabs over, its joints stiffen and its fibers contract, splintering into a scintillant powder. We put on our facemasks. We lean into our tasks. In a shipwreck there is opening, there is depth, the clearing of the abyss, the cold antisky of the sea. Here, rather, nothing floats. The debris coils around us like a suffocating cast, a constrictor, and those of us who survive, in clumps and piles, do so because of our proximity to the structural supports, the braces and frames that create little air pockets inside the infinitized rubble. To think. To be. To know. We dig in a direction, any direction, and if two or three of us can find each other, we say, then perhaps we can claw a few others out from under the collapsed sub-basements, establish a new cell, a cluster, a super-cluster even. Except that the rubble, in this case, is not only inorganic matter; it is other people, the indifferent ones and the antagonists, the betrayed and the traitors. Some of them ground down to pulp and some of them encased in a weaponized exoskeleton. The ones who are too drunk with insipid bloodlust to even move anymore and the ones who nose forward, grimacing, into the spray of brain and guts. Click click click. Space, then, as the nerve-fractured array whose surface rhythms the world-makers craze into pseudosubstance, shattered and melted down by the continual overwriting of autodevelopmental deep time, the nano-tooled titanium watches encrusted, intricatelygeared and lubricated with the years of deadening work the people who made them dusted themselves down around, a kind of programmable rubble, the people who mined, smelted, hauled, unloaded, typed, poured, coded, decoded, sketched, swept, calculated, painted, wiped down, boiled and sold, days squeezed into the deformed equalities, the dazzling pendant things and mannequined suits containing whole towns, entire lives, of toil, nights. You could walk down Fifth Avenue and feel it buzzing and pushing in on you, swarming, fighting its way out of the jeweled displays, the textiles, the smells and tastes and sounds in which how many proletarians have drowned – ten thousand? one hundred thousand? one million? It took a few tries, but eventually we found a host that could smuggle the attack code down to the lowest layer of chips, the lesser deities of the electronic world, the kitchen gods of programmable control logics which run lighting systems, elevators, stop lights, alarms and surveillance cameras. We watched on our screens as the mosaic of sprinkler systems came online in the empty form of the network, the contagion, the curtain we mistake for stage.

Flood, then rainbow. And between them, the crowd of looters who were both roiling sea and surviving ark. Even now, this many years later, I am told that beyond the first wall almost everyone you meet will be wearing a gold watch, a silk scarf, a designer suit. * Today, the citizens are everywhere. Swelling the schools and hospitals, the post offices and town halls. All of the places we occupied last winter, where we distributed food and information and read out each day the list of the murdered, whose roofs we had defended with petrol bombs and bricks, whose halls sang out with the sudden inevitability of defeat, as the frowning semi-circle of provincial cities were pacified by great clouds of sleeping gas, by buckshot and torture. Now, all these places, every last one, contracts, squinting in the terrible, individuating glare of property and state. The people enter them as citizens and not partisans, as countable bodies. One person, one vote. One and one and one, equaling one, no matter how varied the pluralism of candidate and cause. The ghastly monism of the State: a thousand vortices open to the same crushing interior. It sounds like suffering for a reason. The expansion of the electorate meant a transformation in the machinery of voting. First the introduction of standardized secret ballots printed with special inks on special stock– in other words, the conversion of the ballot into currency – displaced the older, personalized system of sworn voice voting (administered by judges) which could take place only within the demographic limits of white, landowning men. The entrance of heterogeneous populations into the electorate required a homogenization of the electoral machinery – a system in which the process as such votes for itself and we enter as mere relay of momentum, as reflex action, pulling levers, punching holes in paper, tapping buttons which allow for the passage of charge from one tiny dark area to the next. But the machinery under discussion here is more than the particular apparatus in question – the paper ballot, the Diebold machine, the Hollerith cardpunch. I refer instead to a vast counter-insurgency of diffusion, telecommunication, excitation, diversion, postponement and deferral, in which people are asked to invest all of their political desires and needs into the electoral process at the same time as they are forgiven, under the logic of the excluded middle, all responsibility for its consequences. Since they submit to these mediations so blithely, the citizens, why not make them visible, the way we are visible to each other, as the planetary extension of the epic love affair that so terrifies the tiny-minded rulers? Why not make it so that when the lever is pulled in Ohio, a cop car explodes in New Jersey, a drone crashes into a mountain in Waziristan, the stock market hemorrhages money, a website goes down, this paper bursting into flame?

At the crossroads, the compass fails. Dawn from all directions – at noon, at midnight. The agitated particles of sand spin in place, painted mauve and peach and rose by the fugitive auroras. Aerosolized, they form a gauzy sea, fold on fold of stinging grit through which the half-shapes flicker in quarters and eighths, decocted slowly into the brittle silhouettes of arrivants, alone or in small groups, alone or in pairs, alone or maybe not at all. They arrive in rickety pickup trucks hauling trailers woven from wicker. They arrive with mule teams dragging 40-foot shipping containers. They arrive in city buses filled with grain. In caravans of converted bicycles whose wheels turn the heavy axles of freight cars loaded with scrap iron and salt. There are two giant hangars – NAND and XNOR – whose terraced, curvilinear interiors swell with shifting mounds of bolts and ball bearings and vats of pickled cabbage. Also: transistors, scarves, batteries, beans, toothpaste, bags of cumin and pepper and salt, textbooks, toys and waterclocks. Superabundances from each of the 82 communes of the western lands, surfeits from the openfields of the east, overpluses from the anarchies of the south. Everything that can’t be discharged internally or among neighbors ends up here, available to any and to all, because what finds no place in direct want must remain in motion until it meets the dissipative friction of whoever needs it. The flows cross but are never reciprocal. All the free lands are cut by this simple, unexchanged distribution of excess, flowing from zone to zone like flocks of migratory birds, like weather over landscape. Beneath the lake, conveyors carry the goods from the receiving hangar NAND to the much-larger XNOR where they are sorted, inventoried, and listed in the databases. This was one of the first depots to emerge from the revolutionary wars. It was used, originally, as arms stockpile and supply zone for partisans who did not fight in order to create communism but for whom the creation of communism was itself an act of war. The elaboration of zones like these – places where anyone could take what they needed – was an offensive act, more powerful than blowing up a bridge or a munitions factory. You can still see the battlements lying around in the middle distance, and this explains, perhaps, the somewhat heavy-handed design of the depot, constructed by people who were born in and had lived decades under despotisms of all sorts, under the boot of wage and market and compelled work, and who carried these things in them, they felt, as one carries disease in remission. Literalists of the revolution, then, whose penchant for overkill was held back, thankfully, by the modest range of their power.

Between the two hangars, there is a vast lake in the shape of an x, symbolizing bluntly the void between taking and giving. At its narrow point, a bridge crosses the lake, a bridge itself crossed by an island also in the shape of an x, blinking in the solvent mists whose fragrances pry each thing away from its concept. Some people come only to give and some people come only to take, but those who would make the perilous passage from giving to taking, passage manned in the past by the armed guards of the state and the paralyzing idealizations of value, now must pass directly through this island of variegated singularities, in which the names of all the items available to desire swarm and scroll in anagrammatic collisions and are thereby emptied of all meaning by the multiplying rifts of a field of receiving. The depots also serve another function. Beyond directing objects and necessaries to their final home, they also redistribute those persons who have come to feel, in one way or another, in excess of their place in the world. The restless ones, the adventurists. Each depot features a giant mausoleum-like building set off from the others, on a hill or hidden in the woods, inside of which computer terminals list the names and pertinent details of the people who have come here and relinquished their identities, swapping them out for another. Deposit boxes contain other items associated with the donated identity – written testimony, videotapes, bundles of memorabilia and other effects. There is, of course, no compulsion to draw from the available store of identities in leaving one’s own behind; one might instead invent an entirely fictive self, a past without past. In fact, in some areas it is a popular pastime to invent such lives and forward them to the depot for listing. All identities are, of course, entirely provisional, and there is no requirement that one keep the new identity for any length of time. This means that fully half of all people will try out a new identity at some point, even if most will return to their old selves after a few months. In some areas, it is an essential rite of passage to leave oneself behind for a few months. There are many legends about these proteans, especially in the older zones where identityswapping is more common. In one, a man encounters his former self during a seasonal rotation out to assist with the satellite harvest. This former self, a woman, had committed great atrocities during the wars of revolution, and in most cases such an identity would remain in the depot for eternity, too awful for adoption. There are certain saint-like people, however, who purposefully seek out the worst identities of all and strive to develop from them lives of great significance and intensity, returning them to the identity-heap transformed. The woman that the man had previously been had been so returned, and so accepted by another wanderer who had added to the great significance and intensity of this once unbearably awful life experiences of additional intensity and significance. Because of this, the man fell in love with the woman he had once been, and the two of them travelled together past the boundary lines and into the war places, where they gave counsel to those who would eventually commit great atrocity in some nameless battle or another. They were ignored, and so the nearest depot was flooded with hundreds of lives few people would ever adopt.


from ZONE from Part I LI A history that has, by its den in the rocks, bole and fangs, its own cane-brake whence, half hid, canes and stripes blending, it grins (beauty defied) [22] Democracy is impossible, and it must be preserved. For us, democracy has become a belief in what can not emerge—until it does and the basis for our belief returns. I declare the end of democracy—a speech made to preserve democracy and intensify belief. LII A false language. A true. A false language pouring—a language (misunderstood) pouring (misinterpreted) without dignity, without minister, crashing upon a stone ear. [15] Death rides the waves of entertainment to become famous. And so the people say, “famous as death.” Once dead, one can only become as famous as death. There is no development in these thoughts, only stasis. Poetry is the thought that conveys no development— only a break between one thing and the next. The people think the little death is what will make them famous. Dying, we break into things that last forever.

LIII N . F . PAT E R S O N (N for Noah; F for Faitoute; P for short) “Jersey Lightning” to the boys. [15] On information and the rights of man (outside view): the overview of all the days gave them a conceptual framework through which all things appeared minute and unimportant. Details were their undoing, lost as they were within them, without any hope of escape. On knowledge and the rights of man (inside view): they framed their understanding in the proper way, proceeding from one thing to the next, enlightened. LIV “Rigor of beauty is the quest. But how will you find beauty when it is locked in the mind . . . ?” [3] What does it mean to write a knowledge sentence? This question conveys all it can legitimately contain, even as its information is locked up in the sentence. Only by opening up the implicit frames by which our knowledge is contained might we gain access to it. Each word in succession is an index to a frame that locks away knowledge it contains. Open the frames— by which to convey the door, the house, the city! LV We sit and talk, sensing a little the rushing impact of the giants’ violent torrent rolling over us [24] It is outside, the ground of a language equal to our desire. For our desire is to be outside any order that contains us, the frame we carry of our dispersal. It is not messages you and I exchange that we desire. It is structures in which messages are exchanged that we want—a permanent hook-up, connection, contact. Looks, words, touches are forms of communication humans have devised to enter into such structures.

LVI Who is younger than I? The contemptible twig? that I was? [30] Yet nothing is precisely integrated, all is excessively overdetermined, not yet there, and unrecognized. Beyond all rigidities of order, we are a site of disorder for seeing into an order that was built. We fit into it. LVII —but certainly not for the university, what they publish severally or as a group: clerks got out of hand forgetting for the most part [31–32] It is the factory of production in the widest sense that determines the end result of any one thing produced within it. Parts circulate en masse, through the whole. LVIII He was 89 years old when he died, and doubtless had turned his farm over to his children, so that he retained only what he needed for his personal comfort: 24 shirts at .82½ cents, $19.88: 5 sheets, $7.00: 4 pillow cases, $2.12: 4 pair trousers, $2.00: 1 sheet, $1.37½: a handkerchief, $1.75 . . . [33] The genius of industry was to cognize the system a new mode of production would create. Genius is the self-reflexive moment where information feeds back into knowledge in the fluid relation of part to whole. There are no individuals but only so many as mass, absorbing the efforts of individual production. Fixity and motion are arrayed against the works and days of poets, those perennial conservatives whose end result is outside a totality they cannot comprehend.

LVIX but which he saw, within himself—ice bound and leaped, “the body, not until the following spring, frozen in an ice cake” [35] And what is poet? It is this incomprehensible linkage necessary to any totality. We must demand the right of the poet to represent his rightful place in an order that exceeds him, which he cannot comprehend. Her speech was slurred to the point of incomprehension, there is not the hint of a ghost of order around her. The poet as incomprehensible register of the whole is linked to she who refuses any necessary order. LX To make a start, out of particulars and make them general [3] Poet seeks other as conventionally marked index to an order that exceeds him, by which it is disclosed.

Note to Zone In this correlation, I unlink by means of random numbers the continuous argument of William Carlos Williams’s Paterson, books 1–4, in order to access and reconstruct its underlying assumptions in the present. Random numbers give me, as well, guidelines for how many lines to write in response to the samples in a form of continuous reinterpretation. The citations from Paterson are not part of the work but links to the published text; the work may be read without them. In November 2011, between collective readings of The Grand Piano at UC Berkeley and Small Press Traffic in San Francisco, I gave a quickly arranged house reading for Brian Ang, attended by some two dozen people wedged into several rooms of his apartment. Like the Grand Piano readings, the presentation was more than inflected by the spirit of the Occupy movement and UC protests; it sought to make a direct connection, through the medium of poetics. It is important that medium, and mediation, be considered at this political nexus; we move directly from poetry to activism to political economy and back again, with no consideration of the necessity to make those connections, only at our peril. Zone, in its present state as excerpted here, is a work premised on mediation, through aleatorical and improvisatory processes, of one complex political moment to another. In rereading the source text, Paterson, I saw Williams engaged in an immanent meditation on the relation of poetics to democracy that may be read as much as a matter of form as content—in terms of the shifting between poetic and documentary registers that guide the poem’s inquiry. In unlinking the textual loci in the poem through arbitrary means, I first wanted to suspend, for theoretical revaluation as it were, the links that Williams had worked to achieve, in order to create a new set of relationships in the present. The roll of dice in succession located the sections and lines of my source text, while an additional roll of the dice specified the number of lines to write in response, from 1 to 10. There would be 60 samples from each book of the poem, and thus 6 instances of stanzas of each length. The elaborate, crude math of the process creates a kind of neutral “zone” for composition, out of which the new material was produced. What results is a work of transcoding seen as present politics—granting the intensity and limits of previous work, but reinterpreting them within a horizon that it could not anticipate. When finally published as a whole, Zone will drop the samples from Paterson and simply appear as a continuous/fragmented

meditation/address in measured units. For the reading, I was as interested in presenting the content of the work as I was with describing its procedure, and at this point consciously sought a connection to the politics of the current Occupy movement. In what way could the compositional processes of Zone (or any such processes of unlinking and recoding) intersect with the decision structures of Occupy—which constitutes its poetics, its mode of making the political (and not merely rhetoric, its mode of convincing, say, of democratic/ transformative intentions). Democracy is radicalized in Occupy in a way that has made a permanent contribution to the horizon of agency in the present—moving beyond party formations and new social movements toward a decentering of agency that must remain an important component of future transformations. Here, I do not mean to exclude other prior forms of politics but to show how they may be unlinked and recoded through radical democratic means. Radical democracy is mediation at its core, and Zone wants to enact its poetics through processes of transcoding one political moment to the next. What else does the poem engage? In this ten-unit sample, there is negativity at the moment of unlinking that gives access to mass politics and “the people”—let us say a refusal of quantity being transformed into quality without a critical moment of undoing and othering. This is not to valorize destruction but to see negativity as a crucial element of working through. The reading itself, both poem and poetics, opened a discussion between formal construction and political decision that I hope will continue, by every means necessary.


BIG BEND Big bend in the heat tenacious cactus bloom magpie. tarantula scorpion sting don’t cross this line

bent ridges and switchbacks corporeal passes every day firmness of it

Limestone liccolith shale bed sandstone clay sulfur pyrite calcite carbonite acid tended through the borders.

geologic time in collision chemical weathering

all the tiny details of human flesh * tepid wine burrs in the socks

dry warm air hangs on sheet intrusions landscape score of viscous magma engrains the miles for 129 miles. 20,000 agents Posse state defense national guard separation barrier. Secure Fence Act of 2006 sunscape way out here.

Land of crow flies where the definition of legal is latino. landed body. ridges and switchbacks. Chicana erosion. neither from here nor from there what makes a cactus a cactus.

see the pochos this valley over * Bombs knife-edge slice thru houses in stipa grass dissect dollhouses museum exhibits gravel sand clay it did seem strange to think of anyone troubling to express world issues now

shallow caves’ Judiciality grunts

participation mystique

put on trial * poker face operation perfect hedge fisson track dating the highest ethical notions

daughter in our crystal isotope communal mirage lone ranger style compadres the next hill over the stranger’s slumped shoulders those who would now come to be called scientists.

what does high security fencing look like? Featuring WireWall welded wire security panels and Super C posts Anti Climb Anti Cut Galvanized Notice the inferior chain link barrier in the foreground marine grade coating system with 25 year warranty

the busiest border in this world. what makes busy busy? A valid passport a passport card a state enhanced drivers license a state enhanced non-drivers ID a trusted traveler program card an enhanced tribal identification card a Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card Form I-872 – American Indian Card a Merchant Mariner Document a U.S. military identification card

Flush-boned mound. To refuge. To refuse.

Eros to agape ourselves * flushed flesh. coyotes traverse all ways bravely slink away from the full meridian shimmer of exchange this limbo. the trick value of agency. define self accordingly secure cost effective beautiful Calexico California

can you stage an illegal entry below an international dark sky place?

constant atmospheric realignment to hope for and if luck’s with you pleasure, even joy

Limestone liccolith shale bed sandstone clay sulfur pyrite calcite carbonite acid the tiny details of another’s flesh * embrace of enigma through exercises of endurance shrines open to the sky resist the clear cut crystal the sun under the world the setting sun the sunrise setting making a clearing

Angelic patience monzonite beadwork to a life spent reckoned in the now * Seamless fictions our supreme fictions. Social shards splintered wave to particle particle to wave piñon oak juniper saltcedar mesquite sotol ponderosa A great big persimmon gap.

Excising the equation or therefore

how this falls to you


from NOTHING DOING [for letting go] I take spirit to mean the rally point of solid state apparatus geared for subliminal fanfare but fair with a vengeance, fanning the fire, crippling angst & anger, action beyond despair to channel frustration – it won’t be easy (this target unrest) to redirect yes & no into self-correction (no ideal situation) + patient production, copy-book source-work acclimation, systems regulation at the get-smart point of world rebellion, sifting data awash in the light of encounter, quiet center but who’s doing what? too many heads? how many governors on the tip of a pin, overwhelmed by show & sheer number – 500 rally in Watertown, 600 in Syracuse, in Albany 1200 but ‘so much to do’ when rubber policy meets road austerity, today’s urgent need meets tomorrow’s injunction, fan over funnel meets gavel to shovel, too much angle lost on the upward-sloping people’s promise forget the right way, lay down for possibility joy duty action, pitch tuning fork to what is

[for challenge] The ‘frightened deferential rural poor’ take all the risks, but a different breed of power exile wanders the halls drunk on a politics of distraction delusion, thrift & family, some freewheeling mix of elements to topple old orders, create new forms is a hope dream lodged in a nearby localism index independent, small or midsized coffee shop restaurant, auto repair, bookstore – all life’s a visitation, attentive to connections, dirt cheap everyday growing numbers, sure signs of comeback in FL they fight for their lives, bankruptcy paradigms fake solutions to real problems, my life, my curriculum ‘spiraling as one goes’ – that one will act is certain but what action? F5 touches down in the heart of slip away time – I think I’m happy now, for me happiness means to apply dead memory, definition does not hold + running with, not against the tides of military innuendo, breaking through barriers a brick, another knock at the door, new paths through the forest of suffering lead not one astray

[for right livelihood] For every dollar, one penny in the public coffer just don’t add up, you want to get the science as right as you can, don’t miss this chance to influence a future confirmed, the very swine of opposition, pig lust reaction – in spring feeling serious about ‘that socialist question’ to suffer fools so thoroughly, they leap from the cliffs of extremism but we take a stab at bodies missing in the rubble, single bullet + quick burial at sea twice the winning formula, beyond GDP cheeks, mouth, teeth & gums, check for what’s important, scooter on a spiral track, kicking off spring walls painted candy colors hauling little bodies like sacks of grain – one unit of stored winter energy + symbols exact or iffy: you can’t win a battle waged on a wave of historic downtime, puffy sky windy speechifying, you point to make a point all answers uninvited – the power people claim through blunt retraction, games of keep away so useless, unnerving, so full of desperate promise

[for new approach] Unspeakable, performing the world from pope to populism, creation jubilation drawn to experiment all about boundaries, another Bloomberg terminus flat screens & fingerprints, exotic fishes, game stations ‘far from panacea’ but data is not knowledge nor ‘joy in the bookish dark’ until we reach one another with all our hearts – more words count less, but writing poetry is useless, step easy into feeling, sing a sad song before taking sides, that tired individual rethinking the new abuse task force, another saintly occupation patterns of disappointment, craters filling up with artificial crisis, graves of excess, pothole policies + storms unleashed by antigovernment guru creation reification inclusion rejection but what’s this to a movement magnified, falling over at the first sign of / hush hush before the wind picks us up coalition faces uphill climb, opposition ginning up for mass mobilization, your work is to discover your work, invest in the future, bodies in the millions under fire know the diff between stress & sorrow

[for settling in] Jittery minds, agitated bodies, to these apply a calculated two-way ‘attachment to form’ in you I see another rough & common alien attacked by difficulty – it’s a puzzle, slumpiness like birds, always part of one’s waking life + years of ignorance, so matter-of-fact, direct & earthy there’s nothing inevitable in a chorus of quaking for any ritual assumes authority over others, fear the flyer not the flying – starlings converge at dawn dark little instruments vision gets played on but what rule & whose exception? any system of practical technique is bound to have drawbacks keys & doorways, a long stand of trees – what a load of function in your injunction, please give folks some room, call the mayor a people slayer stop that ship on the distant sea + whirl & warble in a world of riches, one seeks but cannot find simple tricks of light & shadow, testimony undone long before opportunity empties – trim the wick & the question answers itself, such guarantees

[for desire unbridled] So easy to stand still, watch the standing water such willful ease, stillness in the eye of the storm coarse views on history, Jefferson’s books, Washington’s riches & Hamilton’s ditches, a garden of rotting corpses fellow useless dewdrops, an occasion for ‘big mind’ (death the advisor) to break from duty & withdraw from the world & so strengthen your opponent’s resolve – mean spirits, so fond of happy endings kill the enterprise, another rich man’s numbers game all plot no character unfolding weak & bumpy spider lightning after record heat, perpetual for the villain’s vigilance, visible presence when the governor speaks in his own defense – different animal, same surprise awash in concern, when I take it to the bank I wonder how the little ones fare back home, rolling gangs of lake-effect rain & thunder, be the change you want to see in this windy inland forest ‘angry spirit’ in search of method (tract in action) media projects in plain sight, solitary & quiet intense & mysterious stewards, guardians all


from ORPHAN MACHINES VII. Rhizomatic Flux Industrial emphasis. missing. The argument feels [They were going to bring cakes but they brought bread instead.] or must begin. A belabored point. The key, syntheses, vagabond units. All the bells that ring signifying things are finished

The music fights poetry. Neither lets me in. I have to tape it down to get it to stay. Gadgets, dreary noodles, fantasy-specific theoretician. Having forbade her to leave, she stayed. Debating pain killers. The fruit was not fully formed.

I have fever and I’m not coming in. There are no guitars but many reed flutes. You never can see far enough in front of you. Neapolitan everything. in fog. What should be noted; artists, leftovers, The flute reminds you that you are not entirely The average American consumer’s legendary repressive spasm. Rash over the heart center. Psychic taxes shouting. irrational negative. This demolishing,

Vibrato’s communication. with the mussed beginning. Horseback’s technology. This is about math. Secondarily, the gregarious field. reading. utopias. Plotting Whereby The word does not want to present itself. Short-circuit, violins, exploding. The fund-raising edition ending

VIII. Vertextual Wave If the piano says to stay, stay. Or the smoking says to breathe, or if the book tells you to stop thinking. [I will remember the yellow notebook.] Almost legitimate guilt. Hard to switch from one to the other. We are more alike than I thought, or maybe we've become more so. This accursed innocence fixation. I want to be a subject also. The attempt to just get used to things. Wanting to cry all night long. Waiting for species to create themselves. Creating the space that will let me create this. A diction of conditionals.

Critics inasmuch, coexisting inside suit nebulae. Coconut banter. What comes up from underneath is what makes everything real. Or maybe it's summer that thwarts everything. Molar landscape madness. Patchwork tarot cards. Poetry remembrance. Chocolate nail polish. The unfinished letter, the diagram. A list of things ending with Me. But you can't sit around defining things all day long.

llustrative Albertine’s molecular Gomorrah. Sometimes you bend backwards but it is to look for something behind you. Worn shoulders, almost sunburnt. Trying to step on only books. Code dominates either/or, imperious. Maybe a memory, maybe in the angle of memory. Thinking it blinked twice and looking and it is only just now blinking. The static wants me to be done. Women, Saturn’s prohibition, this forbidden differentiation. If we had shutters. Not as suburban as you. Never liking the same thing but not realizing it.

What everyone likes though, I can like easily. Displacing synthesis. My sister, a triangle, vertex zombie. I hate to have to play a game but it seems to be working. Not losing myself this time so I can lose myself. Green is creepy. Scholastic Roman casuistry. The woman kept falling asleep and I didn't even know why I was on the bus. We were all riding backwards. Energy is only in the future. Subsist binary while selecting the destroy button. Reverberation leads you into mystery. A trill, vibrato, is a correspondence.

See the lights, sometimes even still. “The” transcendent, unchained or detachable. Even at my age. Japanese African drum. No time for typing. Penis frustration, light disturbs efficacy. In July, in July. Just following what I've put into motion, with one comment. How conversations are two people following one another. Structural reigns are reality, lets beget.


FEEDING THE SEAWALL from JOBS OF THE GREAT MISERY Just south of Batsum Bay, in the black obsidian ruins of the 8-Byte Sect PyramidTemple of Lord Spooge, Figure of the Great Weed Matriarch made flesh, I found an abandoned Tri-Treaded Bio-Mech OrganRunner. Its interior dome-membrane sagged, clearly it hadn’t been symbiotic in quite some time. But it otherwise passed my inspection, so I loosened the skin-flap covering my umbilical connector-prosthesis and jacked into the machine’s tight input-sphincter. Instant electrical charge as I felt my reserve propulsion-sac fill with liters of magnetized “blue fluid,” becoming bulbous and taut, the pressure of the tightening and expanding sac a satisfaction far beyond mere words. The OrganRunner responded as well, and the bio-feedback created by the injection of magnetized “blue fluid” lifted the vehicle from its entrenched inertia, and it soon reacted in abeyance to my commands, its treads stretched to full capacity and moving forward at a rapid clip. Though I thought my escape from Batsum Bay had gone unnoticed, I soon received a jellyscreen message that indicated otherwise: INCOMING JELLYSCREEN MESSAGE From: Dr. Scab To: Schmitt Dear Schmitt— My newly acquired digitally enhanced long-range flesh-scanner informs me that you’ve taken a Bio-Mech OrganRunner deep into the Unsubstantiated Territories. To what end, I don’t presume even to dream. I only wish to inform you of the deep-seated dread into which Batsum Bay has been plunged since your departure. Rumors prevail like a fondling darkness: MegaBoys appear ready to take the Bay at any moment; Modified WarGIANT production has been stepped up, or drastically scaled back, depending on whom you ask; Flesh Regulators have arrived in New Mutaant Town; Leggett is on his deathbed after a faulty holo-modification; renegade MeatPunks have massed in the outskirts of the New Great Plains, with unknown motives.

Me and my partner, Jammer the NecroButcher, have chosen the route of ‘hunkering down,’ and have devised a substance of terrible and exciting properties, instantly active upon direct insertion into a slit-orifice. I look forward to sharing this fully with you when and if you return to our ever-shrinking slice of civilization. So for now, sip deeply from your cup of broth, the poor man’s ale, my young friend. Enjoy your time away from this bustling and ever-more-decrepit metropolis. Yours, Dr. Scab A sharp pain shot through me—I’d not spoken to Dr. Scab for many months, and now feared it would be much longer before I could again, if that day ever did come at all. And, after all, I owed the kindly doctor so much, as it was he who taught me the principle joys of bio-integration, and the memories came flashing back in a crescendo of blurred tissue and enfolded polyps. As a young lad I’d arrived at his doorstep, a newt-sac sewn indiscreetly onto my stomach, embryo half-spilling out. The doctor had taken a cursory glance—more than he needed with his brilliantly illuminating knowledge—and declared that the embryo had fully disassociated the nutrients, rendering them unviable. The question of course was ‘why’? Displaying the great genius for which he had become known, Dr. Scab—on one of his famous hunches—removed the sac to reveal a stomach-sphincter, hidden even and especially to myself, rippling just below the surface of the jellied flesh. “A true surprise,” Dr. Scab said, running his tongue across his teeth and lips, “A true surprise indeed.” With Dr. Scab’s expertise and patience—and a strict regimen of chem.-stims—the stomach-sphincter was soon coaxed into full emergence, the jellyflesh hardening as the new orifice blossomed forth, a pink welt studding the center of my stomach. “It’ll drip a bit, now and again,” said Dr. Scab, “This can of course be contained— not to say managed, exactly, a language and vocabulary which I most thoroughly detest— through the use of an adaptor-organ plugged directly into the stomach-sphincter.” Wise words, and I came from my reverie and peered at the landscape around me as I drove the OrganRunner south along the coast, deep into the dregs of the Unsubstantiated Territories, the Mountains of Kossuth rising far in the distance, casting a looming shadow upon the ruins of the nearby towns and encampments, mere sediment and settlings of unknown and--perhaps--altogether unknowable peoples. Vast waves of chem.-saturated air swept off the water in great gusts, and modified gulls pulled through the sky, their elongated sphincter cables keeping them in crisp, synergetic formation. Just outside a quaint encampment on the edge of some brackish tidal river, I pulled the OrganRunner to a stop, deciding to get a sense of the country into which I had come,

made my way to the center of the encampment, past cyber-yurts arranged in layers of concentric circles and small shacks selling various assortments of both dry- and wet-skin products. Walked to the edge of town until I came to the village’s bio-seawall, quivering mound of flesh pushing back against the ocean’s unabated strength. There I encountered a boy, some young and glorious Odin-replicator-device displaying a purity of natural complexion. He lay stretched upon the ground, idly inserting red-data balls into his gaping neck-based data-sphincter, fully dilated and pulsing rapidly with each insertion, stray sly smiles flashing across his face. I picked up one of his discarded red-data balls, held it closer to my face for inspection—thin membrane surface, leaking transmission mucous (or, “black fluid,” as it is known to some) through its pinprick pores--an outdated model, to be sure, but to be expected in this backwater burg. Passed the red-data-ball back to the boy, he nodded in thanks, a thin drizzle of black fluid seeped from his data-sphincter, and a gleam of sweat appeared on his brow. I rummaged in my flesh-pouch and produced a state of the art blue-data-ball, brought by chance from a brief stop in a Batsum Bay Pleasure Palace—an altogether more complexly crystalline object, able to achieve more exactly its bio-data-transference—and placed it in the boy’s palm where for a moment he simply watched it as it throbbed rapidly, sweating yellow-fluid as its smart-data-flesh sensed close proximity to the boy’s dilated and primed data-sphincter. “Take it, my boy,” I said quietly, gently, smiling through a brackish face of scabs and bristles, “You’ll not find a blue-data-ball in these parts for many spans.” “Ain’t never tried something like this before,” he muttered, mostly to himself, as he guided the blue data-ball into his data-sphincter, spraying the air with a strong blast of charged bio-electrons that caused both my stomach-sphincter to dilate and tremble with excitement. The boy’s eyes rolled upward, and his tongue dangled out to some degree, a signet of flesh appeared on his forehead. He came out of the data-ball trance a moment later, smiled lopsidedly, “Reckon that ‘bout beats these ol’ red-data-balls,” he said, his speech slurred with the after-effects of the powerful blue-data-balls. “What’s your name, my boy?” I asked. “Noogat,” he responded, and I wondered why such buxom flesh occupied itself alone, entertained only by the worried use of outdated red-data-balls. I pulled another blue-data-ball from my skin-pouch, the wet-skin of the membrane bubbling slightly, and prepared for the inevitable insertion into the boy’s data-sphincter. I held it up, declared “Perhaps another? ‘Tis a rare wine, indeed…” Noogat simply looked on, then said hesitantly, “I, uh, can’t.”

Only then did I notice the dangle of fleshy cords extending from his lower-back, loose meat-socket endings allowing trickles of a silvery milk-fluid to seep out. “Ah,” I said, “You’re employed as a bio-plongeur then…” “And on duty,” he said, shaking his flesh-cords vigorously, “These get plugged directly into the control sphincter of the ReceptorUnit,” His remarks were punctuated by the sudden arrival of another boy, shirtless body riddled by sub-sphincter, instantly recognizable as the second half of the bio-plongeur team, known as the ReceptorUnit. Noogat smiled up at his partner, then turned to formally introduce me. “This here’s ScudNub, just another sac-cell unit from out the great mother-flesh.” And ScudNub then offered a smile of wry tenderness to Noogat, who grinned back and said, to me, “We’re about to start work, but you can help us if you want, you look modified a bit.” I nodded, never one to refuse the desires of youth. “And my task…?” I asked. “Just a simple flesh-crystal feed—let me plug into a stomach-sphincter or side-slit or something,” said Noogat, “See, my flesh-crystal’s a bit low these days, afraid I might not be able to pull the bio-feedback like I need to.” Ah, the ways of youth, I thought, always a lack of the flesh-crystal yet never the means to replenish, not here, not in this dilapidated and sordid terrain, and an extreme embarrassment at having to admit these circumstances, particularly to some unknown entity such as myself. “Of course,” I said, with a smile of divine goodwill upon my face, “My utmost pleasure.” As I removed my wet-skin tunic, I saw that ScudNub had already disrobed, his cyber-pantaloons cast aside to reveal a slew of minor-sphincters, as well as the primary trigger-orifice, which he began to rub vigorously, causing the minor-sphincters to dilate and exude a highly pungent yet sublimely attractive odor, like some unknown but muchcoveted seasoning. These various and chaotically interwoven flesh-cords already began to react to the sub-sphincters’ wafting pheromones with an increased output of silver milkfluid. “Give a hand?” asked Noogat, motioning toward his loosened flesh-cords, and nodding firmly as I grasped the one nearest me. Slick with fluid and throbbing warmly within my grip, I struggled to maintain a hold, yet managed finally to insert it firmly into one of the now-gaping sub-sphincters of ScudNub. As the flesh-cord entered his sub-sphincter, ScudNub quivered with a violent spasm and his lower sub-phallus extended suddenly. From its tip rapidly emerged a thin and hollow proboscis, flexible yet firm, from which dripped a slow but steady stream of bio-electric

treacle-fluid, brown and greasy. At the same time, a skin-pouch, grafted roughly onto his back, began to steadily fill with this treacle-fluid until it became taut, bobbling weakly, its rough skin covered in condensation. “You see,” said Noogat, “The skin-pouch gets filled with translucent nutri-grease, and that goes into the Muscle-Lock Mechanism of the FloodGates. It’s in this way that we feed the seawall, and the floodtides are held back from this here town.” I nodded, and waited patiently as Noogat spat upon my side-slit, rubbed until the orifice dilated, and sat, ready, sweating thin mucous gruel, and he then inserted one of his flesh-cords into the gaping hole. The fibrous ends of the flesh-cord brushed the hairs embedded deeply inside my stomach-sphincter, clamping closed upon the flesh-cord and locking it in place. With a sharp tug, Noogat tested the hold, nodded in satisfaction, even as I felt the flesh-crystal pheromone-infused mucous automatically discharge from my stomachsphincter, a lumpy sludge of half-fermented cream that sent waves of stink into the air and yet, a powerful conduit for crystalline flesh-energy. With the sudden intake of fleshenergy, Noogat sparkled and shimmered as dabs of pure treacle-fluid appeared upon the membranes of his slits and orifices and sphincters. And ScudNub then plunged into the brackish, scum-covered water that lapped against the edge of the sea-wall, and through the bio-link established I could feel the moment when his proboscis punctured the delicate membrane of the sea-wall organ, filling it with the hyper-nutritious nutri-grease. The seawall—that living muscle matter keeping the encampment safe from a wild and savage ocean—soon became visibly enlivened, firmer and exhibiting a glossy sheen as its outer membranes began to flex. ScudNub came to the surface, and a moment later I was hosing down both he and Noogat, who thanked me for my assistance. “Chores done, boys?” I asked. ScudNub nodded, said “Reckon so,” paused, and then added, “til tomorrow, when that wall needs fed again.” “And it sure will,” said Noogat, coiling up his various loose bio-cords, “You better believe.” And I looked at those boys and then back towards the hut-village, then out across the terrible foaming sea, crashing against that great living wall—and for a moment, they became something more than a pair of modified perma-workers, forever doomed to repeat this or some other chore at the behest of the village elders. No, for a moment I struck through the mask, and saw them with the nobility that truly was theirs.


from DRONE ON A Play in One Act NOTE ON PRODUCTION And so it is our fledgling century offers up its first defining metaphor to compete with the ubiquity of digital networks. The Drone – a strange but all too appropriate synonym – abruptly yokes together the monotonous work of “office drones” with the “unmanned aerial vehicles” which they now operate in great numbers above Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and soon elsewhere. A weapon for a world marked not by total war but unending conflict. Men and women sit in cubicles gripping joysticks clad in flight suits, all the while halfway across the planet from their intended targets. Drone On is a work of conceptual theater. It reframes word-for-word the cockpit transcript of a drone operation, inserting into the text the familiar metadata of traditional theater. The “call name roster” becomes the list of characters; acts, scenes, and production notes are added. Despite these minor adaptations, the play conforms eerily to classical dramatic structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and catastrophe are plotted effortlessly in turn. The document in question records a US Predator Drone’s coordinated attack on an Afghan convoy in the early hours of February 21st 2010. 23 people died – all of them innocent civilians. Drone operators in Nevada, video screeners in Florida, and a Special Operations Unit on the ground (though several miles away) had pursued the convoy of suspected terrorists through shared infrared and full motion video screens via a satellite data link. The LA Times would soon after submit a Freedom of Information request for the chat-logs of military personnel involved in the airstrike. Notably, a “Freedom of Information” (FOI) request suggests a newly liberated, unaltered text. Not true of course. Distorted by telecommunications failure, massaged with military jargon, redacted by Intelligence officials, annotated by journalists, and prefaced by experts, the text already has its fill of filters concurrent with its public appearance. Hence, this literary appropriation is but one in a series of post-publication reframings, albeit, with the intention of exposing these ideological maneuvers. As a matter of theatrical production, the question is how to stage these competing efforts to control the story.

Bugsplat is drone-speak for a kill, since viewing a body through grainy-green video images looks like an insect being crushed. (It is also the name of a children’s videogame). Comparisons to gaming environments are both inevitable and accurate. It should be said, all who took part in the February 21st airstrike – indeed, all who participate in such attacks – do so mediated by a network of screens. Screens that reduce the human body to its distributive body heat or a data point on a map. Both in combat and in theatrical production, the entire action takes place off stage, as it were. Only the survivors of the attack are present to witness the atrocity first hand. In Greek tragedy ekkyklêma (“roll-out machine”) refers to a platform used to exhibit the aftershock of an event, usually a brutal murder, which takes place off stage and out of view of the audience. Agamemnon’s body cut to pieces; Eurydice sprawled at the household altar. The device was thought necessary to expose characters to an act of violence in order to register its full meaning and consequence. Roll out the machinery of war such that one may at the very least see its aftermath. Drone On may be read as a closet drama, staged as a performance, or installed as a multimedia art object. There are no restrictions, nor does the reader require permission to stage it. SETTINGS AND CHARACTERS Creech Air Force Base, Nevada: Pilot KIRK97, Predator Drone Pilot MC Mission Intelligence Coordinator, Predator Crew Sensor Sensor Operator, Predator Crew Safety Observer Hurlburt Field, Florida: Video Screeners Uruzgan District, Central Afghanistan: JAG25 Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Special Operations Unit Bam Bam41 Kiowa Attack Helicopter US Special Operations Personnel Convoy of Afghan Civilians ACRONYMS AWT(AirWeaponsTeam); DGS (Deployable Ground Station); ICOM (Intercommunications); PID (Positive Identification); ROVER (Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver); SA (Situational Awareness); TF (Task Force)

from Scene Seven 04:38 (Pilot): They're trying to *explicative* surrender, right? I think. 04:38 (Sensor): That's what it looks like to me. 04:38 (MC): Yeah. I think that's what they're doing. 04:38 (Pilot): Jag25, Jag25. Kirk97. 04:38 (Safety Observer): Wait who's on Purple26, MC? Is it Jag or is it the AWT? 04:38 (MC): It should be Jag. 04:39 (Sensor): Uh, sounded like it was...TF-South coming...would going to be in route. 04:39 (MC): Oh, OK. 04:39 (Sensor) cut out as soon as frickin... CLASSIFIED It's weird that Jag just

04:39 (MC): Yeah, they shot and then he's gone. 04:39 (Sensor): Yeah, shot and then gone. 04:39 (UNKNOWN): On those individuals. Break. CLASSIFIED Uh, exiting from that vehicle was probably about 4 personnel. Believe CLASSIFIED possibly two of those, maybe 3, were female. They wore bright colored clothing. Uh, those remaining personnel are gathered just west of the middle vehicle. They're standing about 20 meters to the west.

04:40 (MC): Screener said there wasn't any women earlier. 04:40 (Sensor): Those are all people. 04:40 (MC): Yeah. 04:40 (Sensor): That's what I was worried about. 04:40 (Safety Observer): What? 04:40 (Sensor): What are those? They were in the middle vehicle. 04:40 (MC): Women and children. 04:40 (Sensor): Looks like a kid. 04:40 (Safety Observer): Yeah. The one waving the flag. 04:40 (Bam Bam41): And Kirk97, Bam Bam41. 04:40 (Pilot): Bam Bam41 go for Kirk97. 04:40 (Bam Bam41): Roger, Kirk97. Do you have any updates on what you're able to see at the engagement site? 04:41 (Pilot): Kirk97. Uh, negative, we are still observing at this time. Still no weapons PID, everything else matches with your assessment. Uh, still looking. 04:41 (Bam Bam41): Roger, uh, we are going to be breaking station in approximately 5 minutes, just for your SA. 04:41 (Pilot): Kirk97. Good copy on that. Uh, can you just confirm that Jag wants us on this freq [Purple26]. We are negative contact with him at this time. 04:41 (Bam Bam41): Uh, roger. Uh, believe he still wants you at this freq. We'll reconfirm with him before we, uh, depart the area. 04:41 (Pilot): Kirk97. Thanks.

04:41 (Sensor): Nah, that guy doesn't have a weapon...just shru, shrugged off his coat. Nothing underneath. 04:42 (Pilot): Anything on ICOM? 04:42 (MC): Nothing so far. I think the rocket hit the front of the street here. 04:42 (Pilot): He's calling females? They said 21 males, no females. 04:42 (MC): Earlier, yeah. 04:42 (Sensor): Now they're calling 3 females and 1 child. 1 possible child. 04:42 (MC): Called him a adolescent earlier. 04:42 (Safety Observer): Should probably pass that, while Bam's on station. Or pass it to Jag. 04:42 (Pilot): Yeah, but I can't get ahold of Jaguar, right now. 04:42 (Safety Observer): I'd tell him they're waving their... 04:43 (Sensor): Yeah, at this point I wouldn't...I personally wouldn't be comfortable shooting at these people. 04:43 (MC): No. 04:43 (Sensor): Uh, esp...especially just on DGS's...If I couldn't tell with my own eyeball that they had weapons, I wouldn't just go off of DGS's, uh, (another crew member: Yeah.) assessment...for this reason. 04:43 (Pilot): That lady is carrying a kid, huh? Maybe. 04:43 (Safety Observer): No.. 04:43 (MC): No 04:43 (Sensor): Uh, yeah.

04:43 (MC): The baby, I think on the right. Yeah. 04:43 (Sensor): Yeah. 04:43 (Pilot): The middle. 04:43 (MC): Yeah. 04:43 (Sensor): Right there in the crosshairs. 04:43 (Safety Observer): *Explicative,* let them know, dude. Have them pass it to Jag. There's... 04:43 (MC): Yeah. 04:43 (Safety Observer): Before Bam checks off station. 04:43 (Pilot): I will. 04:43 (JAG25): Jag25, Bam Bam go ahead. 04:43 (Sensor): Or at least ask him if...if he can ask Jag if he's still got our ROVER. If he's still getting our ROVER. 04:44 (Pilot): Yeah. 04:44 (Bam Bam41): Good copy for, uh, Bam Bam. And, uh, we're going to be breaking station here in the next 5 minutes. Break. AWT should be coming out, uh, we'll do a [broken] with them and we should be back out here in about three-zero/four-zero mikes. 04:44 (UNKNOWN): Roger, sounds good. I'll pass along and we'll see you in a little bit. 04:44 (Pilot): Bam Bam41, Kirk97. 04:44 (Safety Observer): Yeah, they called out the kid. 04:44 (MC): Yep.

04:44 (Sensor): I got another kid. 04:44 (Safety Observer): That's one of the adolescents from earlier. 04:45 (Bam Bam41): That's good for Bam Bam. 04:45 (Sensor): Yeah, sure is. 04:45 (Pilot): Bam Bam41, Kirk97. Uh, just be advised, uh, our DGS is calling out, uh, potential 3 females and, uh, 2 adolescents, uh, near the center vehicle. Uh, just want to confirm that you saw that and passed to Jag. 04:45 (Bam Bam41): Bam Bam41, roger. Uh, not sure on the adolescents. Uh, did a, uh, low pass and have, uh, 3 individuals in a brighter dress garb, supposedly females. 04:45 (Safety Observer): You got one carrying a child. They called it out. 04:45 (Pilot): And that's affirm from Kirk97. It looks like, uh, one of those in the, uh, bright garb may be carrying a child as well. Uh, be advised, uh, DGS is calling that at this time. Uh, they did not call it prior to this. 04:45 Radio Static 04:46 (Sensor): Younger than a adolescent to me. 04:46 (Safety Observer): Well... 04:46 (Sensor): But that's...that's, I mean. 04:46 (Safety Observer): No way to tell, man. 04:46 (Sensor): No way to tell from here.