Jennifer H. Fortin



I know a man with an Existing Situation as it Presently Exists. Man, is he a beautiful situation. When a state of being popped up not once but twice, warning lights started flashing. Moving, we maintained our guard. There's a "you"—probably now a me—described that morphs from character into concept via the inappropriate. We don't have you are, but "you is" (with an important exception, discussed below). The absolute is all over the place: "everything," "the whole world," "everyone," "everywhere." "You" is all over the place. We're outside with the sun and birds (and, later, the vox pop, the nap that takes you more than halfway to paradise, visits to the doctor and from the doctor, my vulnerable face in thine eye, an unending game of hangman, how high the stakes!). You can practically hear the Carpenters, give or take, singing and sawing. But this isn't pure idealism. The exception to the objectification of "you" is "You have big feelings," instead of "You has." Where the you + is instances are delighted observations about you's beauty and presence and sunshiny effect on her surroundings, when it comes to assessing you's emotions, it gets very serious. And anytime there are big feelings involved, tender complexity is not far away. The most delicately complicated aspect of life is its debut question: "What could be wrong?" At first, this comes off as rhetorical and self-assured, with something of an answer following. However, might there be more sincere undertones embedded in the question and answer? With this spin in mind, shocking blindness is more subdued than joyous; the big feelings "should be unbruised," but are they? The focus has undergone a major shift now. Even though most of the time I hate having the responsibility of a body (while knowing I'm insanely, astronomically lucky to, give or take), the man I know, the one with the situation, can't wait until it's warm enough outside for me to wear short sleeves, so he can see my arms, in all their glory and awfulness, giving and taking, and folding into rectangles butcher paper, and mostly just challenging in their small, grave way.




If you live once, from top left to bottom right, lending roughly equal weight to each day, you're sure to glean something. But if you live once from top left to bottom right and linger, you'll notice more intricate and humanizing relationships than traditional living provides. In the state park, a scheme has been mysteriously spot-lit that is an amalgamation of both sonic and conceptual relationships of varying proportions. That people like to live in twos is a major hint that we should pay particular attention to each set of everything. The first things that will end the world will be tennis shoes and galoshes. The sh and s sounds correspond—meaning they are effusive to each other, sealed with wax, and will be embarrassed should they ever actually meet—and so do the objects themselves, both types of shoes, accoutrements we humans employ, separating ourselves from unshod animals. Let's let ourselves go! This advice is for everyone who enjoys living. Galoshes will soon bleed into a kind of slant conceptual agreement with footing. I am thoroughly skeptical regarding the ability of my peers to be kind. Whisper relies on prominence while the couple in the state park enacts the push into a very human "us" of the otherwise guttural sound uhUh needs s, thus the hanging onto. There's the comparison of "myself" to "his daughters," and "craning" to "cats" (the first "crane" that pops up is a bird, not machinery). We have been carefully placed in a state park, albeit with little mention of nature other than the humans. In a grand underscoring that attends so closely to pairings and endings, the message is strong—that one man grows and develops in the natural act of copulation with another. Let's let ourselves go! And really test our capacity for suffering.





I'm trying for more clarity these days rather than less, paring down and just saying it, for a logical walk--meaning you'll make the step from each line to the next with me, saying Of Course, of course, suddenly ending up quietly surprised at the end. "GIVE OR TAKE" is rooted in a wonderful Nate Pritts poem, "The Existing Situation as it Presently Exists." Related reading: Mary Ruefle.