The Last Two Seconds
Mary Jo Bang
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The Last Two Seconds is an astonishing confrontation with time—our experience of it as measured out by our perceptions, our lives, and our machines. In these poems, full of vivid imagery and imaginative logic, Mary Jo Bang captures the difficulties inherent in being human in the twenty-first century, when we set our watches by nuclear disasters, species collapse, pollution, mounting inequalities, warring nations, and our own mortality. This is brilliant and profound work by an essential poet of our time.
left a trace at her lip line. A hand wiped the trace away. Her best hope was that on the first floor there would be someone who might serve as a model. Yet, she thought, one mustn’t be naïve about motives, since they are always mixed. There were so many things to consider: the feel of a faux-leather sofa, the picture of a perfect apple, shrink-wrapped in plastic. Who didn’t consider oneself a guerilla band, heroically battling regular forces. The needs of the moment were
United States of America ISBN 978-1-55597-704-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55597-901-0 2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1 First Graywolf Printing, 2015 Library of Congress Control Number: 2014950982 Cover design: Jeenee Lee Design Cover art: Kikuzo Ito, Speeding Monorail: On the Precipice, 1936 CONTENTS The Earthquake She Slept Through Costumes Exchanging Glances You Know Masquerade: After Beckmann At the Moment of Beginning Wall Street The Storm We Call Progress Provisional Doubt as an
mentioned a man, an interview, a train, fingerprints, photo, shoes, and a red sweater. The future was quite irresistible, it washed over you. Because, she said, is a way of pointing to the apparent reason that, in a trial in which the complaint concerns the terms of human behavior. She didn’t notice the year’s ending. Then shortly after midnight, she heard noises outside and realized it was the muffled repetitive boom of distant fireworks. Good-bye to that, she said. LET’S SAY YES 1.
brings you back and you wake, back to your face, hands, mirror image in the bed next to you, Ketamine moment where kinesthesia is secondary to everything is possible: you and you and you and now and you and yes and you with the night-self singing backup. Onstage, the fractured future of a world which is the world with the scaffolding folded and laid on top of this night. All through it. Until it ends or else begins again. Meanwhile, that indefatigable wavering between what you want and