And so the reaches1 to which castaway affects aspire
to niche-hood2 also      reign in
     according to Kant.3
Of course the empire is on fire and joblessness

is at an all-time low; there is no house big enough
for us all and no one is trying to smash worry
     into beauty
and tomorrow;                it’s almost all.

“Alright, hold up. The pandemic is not ‘over’
(even if I haven’t fired up a Work from Home
Chill Mix4 in like six months); I’ve been writing
something5; it’s the day of letters6; and here

—with souls held dear—we fall
          whatever-like                          into eternity.


  1. Of something besides space and time.
  2. See NewRetroWave, Miami Nights 1984 – Accelerated, YouTube, February 1, 2015. 
  3. Sorry. On my fifth attempt, just finished the first critique.
  4. See deadmau5, Work From Home Chill Mix, uploaded by Haldor Asheim, YouTube, March 30, 2020. 
  5. Without footnotes. Cripes.
  6. August 6, 2022.

— Bradley J. Fest is associate professor of literature, media, and writing and the 2022–25 Cora A. Babcock Chair in English at Hartwick College, where he has taught courses in creative writing, poetry and poetics, digital studies, and 20th and 21st century United States literature since 2017. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, The Rocking Chair (Blue Sketch, 2015) and The Shape of Things (Salò, 2017), and his poems have appeared in over forty journals and anthologies, including recent work in Always Crashing, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, Pamenar, PLINTH, Verse,and elsewhere. He has also written a number of essays on contemporary literature and culture, which have been published in boundary 2CounterText, CritiqueGenre, Scale in Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and elsewhere. More information is available at bradleyjfest.com and he can be found on Twitter @BradleyFest.

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