Place[meant] is a recurring series that explores identity beyond the geopolitical and physical parameters that have come to define our sense of place. From a train in Queens to the cuff of a bodily spell, the poems in this series navigate place as both material terrain and residual traces of one’s memory. Place[meant] delves into how migration, diaspora, borders, technologies of power and control, biopolitics, and historical violence shape our identities, the powers of which are anything but benign.


The Second War: assemblages


Beginning to travel towards their anticipation, the stressors and implosions. In the valleys against
the seas, the landscape glittered with mine dust but caution stripped us of both guilt and
appreciation. We dream, assert ourselves. From where does this code come? Answer: a small
enlightened slice of the Northern hemisphere. Nothing chose us except ourselves. Besides us,
nothing chooses us still. There was always the silly, sterile fantasy of budding off into space, but
we never could, needed too much our shores. Our presence has made the pressure unbearable.
None of it very dissimilar. But the cruelty of privilege flings a weighted net of exoticism. We
watch the certainty of replication and misapply it to our families. Without wondering, a bird will
pluck at the down of its young until the scalp comes away, its head stiffened askew in the
morning. Inside dominated space, a father bonobo brutalizes his son within an observation unit
painted in creamy coats of wash. When it comes to our automatons, at times we make them


From “Biography of My Automaton”


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