Apartment Poetry Quarterly

7A              7B              7C              7D              7E              7F


7B Nicholas Gulig






Artisan or citizen. The war erases us and singing changes nothing. This is one of several narratives in which an aesthetic fails to render, or make better, or explain.  There are other ways of saying this, but these, too, despite sincerity, become commodity. The world is made of things.


Painted broadly, the noise a person makes

contributes to, and therefore is,

atrocity. I want to say this kindly, from the heart,

[its center pulling inward,

pulsing] but here, immediately, the words fall out and fail within the borders

of their argument. It is difficult

to tell exactly where our speaking comes

from nothing

and where it is precisely







Say, for example, the experience of others exists primarily as a vague impression on the horizon. Empathy is like this. The love that is


the bottom of the self as it exceeds the flesh and spills into the desert of another life must do so having listened to the scream dissolving at the edges of its end. Who is speaking              


there among the photographs

and rubble


torn from







Existing at the level of the actual, differences among civilizations

are “real” as well as “basic.”


Dimensionally, in gray and dark gray increments,

the world becoming smaller.


Agree or disagree.


It is possible the processes of economic modernization and social change

perform a radical and irreversible separation.


Of people from longstanding local identities, of language from a source

that can’t be named.


Enhanced by the dual role of “the west,”

the increasing occupation


of a consciousness organized

around dualities


becomes encompassing. Here and there. You

and I, etc. [subject,


object, thing]. Akin perhaps to capital asserting dominance

across the desert


cultural difference develops into a dramatically less mutable exchange






The noise exceeds its culture and exists.

Amid the weight and war


of privilege, I am thinking

firstly, “have I eaten,


have I slept.”  The world goes on

like this. The days and longer hours. The weight of seconds


as difference continues

to exert itself. As difference continues.


Moving inward from a distant point on the horizon,

like a bright and blinding light


across the desert, economic regionalism

is growing






The mind cannot define itself in the face of these events. Here we are, or not here. With them, or without. In this, the age of terror


                                                          existing after irony, both the war and one’s desire for its abatement begin to mingle in the middle-distance


dissolved among

the spectacle, which is a dance between polemics.


Unmarked, a silver canister

in the center of a market. Existing at the edges                                                                     of a town