In Their Own Words
Dana Levin on “Fortune Cookie”
You will never get death
out of your system.
From Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). All rights reserved. Reprinted courtesy of the author.
On "Fortune Cookie"
I'm about to devote a host of words to this two-year old prismatic scrap—it's Nov. 12, 2016, and death is once again on my mind.
Check the date if you need to, future persons. Present persons, idling ghosts—
How old is the earth? I asked my machine, and it said: Five great extinctions, one in process, four and a half billion years.
It has always been very busy on Earth: so much coming and going! The terror and the hope ribboning through that.
Like a stray dog you kick out of the yard who keeps coming back—its scent of freedom and ruin—
Some people love death so much they want to give it to everyone.
Some are more selective.
Some people don't know they're alive.
Metabolic system, financial system, political system, eco-system—systems management, running around trying to put out fires—
Sodium nitrate. Sodium benzoate. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (to keep the food from rotting). Plastic (surgery). Botox, Viagra, cryo-chamber—
Voting backwards, into what
has already died—
Voting Zombie in the name of "change"—
Fortune cookie: the oracular feint of a joke future—
where death is the trick candle on the victory cake.
Some truths are hard to accept. Especially when they won't budge beyond a couplet.
Especially when they won't tell you if they mean you well, if they herald freedom or ruin—
You! You and Death! Lovers who just can't quit. That's how we make the future.
The terror and the hope of that, as change goes viral.