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                                                             Others at the Porches and entries of their Buildings

                                                          set their Armes; I, my picture; if any colours can deliver

                                                            a minde so plaine, and flat, and through-light as mine.



A green simple life. That’s what I wanted. 

Stowing down and clearing up the decanted

inheritance, turning over the sprouted ghosts.


And, in a sense, I suppose we got it—

shuffling along the four-walled deepdream,

turning to catch the ordinary pareidolia 

of cloudcouches and gangplank halls—


l’appel du vide of kept animals. 






But all learning is re-collection

a sort of shell game, hermit crabs occupy

the empty and the scavenged… 


$$You…need money, and you need it quickly. We’ve all been there…$$


two roads diverged in the retail emporium isthmus

and neither were great (to sate the obvious) 


                                                                                               ` ` `


Data shows us how Americans move: toward heat, 

toward coastlines, toward drought, regardless 

of evidence of disaster 


learn about your destiny----#mhx*


all learning is but recollection


at the union meeting, everyone drank 

margaritas. a little on the nose: we were

in the quasi-desert, I was abstinent, 

thirsty for the anxiolytic humidity of home 


the watch rang it said Political Call 

said Location Unknown 


vapor figments in lex terrae I closed

my eyes to its morphological echo 


from a low flat landform surrounded on three sides by water

to a low flat landform surrounded on three sides by heights


downsizing newcomers talk a lot about tradeoffs, 

debate the two-party system of DEUS and MACHINA 

the city and the wilderness 

landform boundaries 

colors on maps 


enter query into the text box: anachoresis,

symptoms of 


                                                                                               ` ` `


*I look it up: Manihiki Islands, Cook Island, South Pacific 

if all you care about is here, this a good place to be 


a canoe carried ashore holds at most four people 

to evacuate a future cyclone martin, Manihiki 

would need 70 such canoes 


vacancy chain, shell competition 


elsewhere the criminal advises  

Real Elites Invest 


                                                                                               ` ` `


if you’re serious about animals,

oysters work best. Zinc holds 


the empty orbital, a messenger for plastic 

synapses. The ring-shaped atoll encircles 

the sea partly or completely, fragile and 


abundant in Pinctada margaritifera 

naked nacre of its interior shell 

rare as 1 in 10,000 


a learning that occurs via collection 


and my free soul longed for its natural state

I remembered the pearl


                                                                                               ` ` `


but escape isn’t all-or-nothing

solitary confinement or “cage free” living 


and drowning people sometimes die fighting

their rescuers (from ex- “out” + cutere “to shake”)


your all-access trial 

to the equatorial try-works content

will end in mere days 


to renew, simply authorize this line of credit 

at the new interest rate of flood-fire-policy-premium


we understand that logic may be unshakable 

but it cannot withstand a man who is willing 

to live 


                                                                                               ` ` `




We were snowed under by the timing of things.

Forgot the secret society keyword, locked out.


A green simple life, a little yard a little house 

everywhere I looked I lost that while ago amethyst 


hundreds of images scattered to the four winds, 

a sea of oil swimming in them. I began to understand: 


how like the ocean is a mountain, how much a mountain

is like the depths. Not far from here is a town


called Tranquillity [sic], which used to teem 

with creatures in a shallow seabed. At present, 


annual rainfall averages six inches: hospitable 

for unearthing skeletal fragments. The record states


that those early humans ate mostly flesh, quote 

there is plenty of evidence that 

their lives were strenuous. 





“Others at the Porches and entries of their Buildings...,” John Donne, Metempsycosis, 1633.


“stowing down and clearing up” and “equatorial try-works,” Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, 1851. 


DeepDream, codenamed “Inception,” a computer vision program created in 2015. 


“two roads diverged,” Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken,” 1916. 


“Data shows us how Americans move,” Abrahm Lustgarten, “How Climate Migration Will Reshape America,” 2020.


“all learning is but recollection,” Plato, Meno, 380 BCE. 


lex terrae, aka “the law of the land,” see the 1787 Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme Law of the land....”


“Morphological Echo,” two paintings by Salvador Dalí, 1934-36, on display at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. 


“newcomers talk a lot about tradeoffs,” James J. Parsons, “A Geographer Looks at the San Joaquin Valley.”


“if all you care about is here, this a good place to be,” South Pacific (1958).


Tropical Cyclone Martin, 1997, was the deadliest cyclone to impact the Cook Islands in over a century, causing 19 deaths and devastating Manihiki. 


“and my free soul longed for its natural state / I remembered the pearl,” “The Hymn of the Pearl,” from the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, c. 3rd century. 


“drowning people sometimes die fighting their rescuers,” Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower, 1993. 


“we understand that logic may be unshakable, but it cannot withstand a man who is willing to live,” Franz Kafka, The Trial, 1914. 


“We were snowed under by the timing of things” and “hundreds of images scattered to the four winds,” Annie Ernaux, The Years, 2019. 


“while ago amethyst,” James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922.

“a sea of oil swimming in them,” Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State, 1640. 


re: Tranquillity, see J. Lawrence Angel, “Early Skeletons from Tranquillity, California,” Smithsonian Press, 1966. 




E.G. Cunningham is the author of Ex Domestica (C&R Press). Her work has appeared in Barrow StreetColorado ReviewFugueThe NationThe Poetry ReviewPuerto del SolThe Shore, and other publications. She teaches at the University of California, Merced.  

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