Producing Exceptions

The Party gave Jacek a job
reading Sartre and small engine repair in a lift of the Pałac Kultury i Nauki.
“Which floor, comrade?” he remonstrated in dry-lipped approved fashion.
Up and down he worked or read his daily bread through  the ‘penis Stalina’.
Ascension, descension.
That’s not to say whether it was the red or the blue, or
not to pick through the Chernobyl for the discarded cloth
of the white of Saint-Domingue, nor the numerous stars,
hammers, and compasses of the apparatchiks or sans-culottes
whatever it was which they lacked in common.
Ascension, descension.
That is to say, that through such uretic holes he went with
a certain freedom of movement that comes with a support of minimums
and once the parting of a trois-couleur sea closes again
the noblesse obligé and supreme incompetence of the moment is lost
as the steel no longer gushes through offices,
and the grass no longer sprints through the frost.
Bing. Your moment has come.
Western snow shovels and butternut harvesters await your erudition.
Hold open for them that entrance you polished to the École normale,
cast off all emblems which may have been cast onto its stones.
States of exception can end in one of two ways. How?
Ascension, descension. Bodies through space.
One thing he was never at great pains to point out was how
we’re making exceptions even now.

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