Stardust Manifesto

Manifesto and Word Warp: Mari Bastashevski
Colorization and Video Feedback: Tina Frank
Soundtrack: Jen Morris

there is a meme that keeps on spreading
it has become a work of art
but i haven’t seen a single dog with a cup of coffee
who thought this – or anything else – was fine since 1982!
i’ve seen anxious dogs, silent whales, zombie chickens,
and the official representative of quokkas.
he was not happy!
most of the time, i meet the other animal
one recently divorced from its phylogenetic cousins
and culturally quarantined from its animal self.
a studious humanist who, walking up from an afternoon nap,
informed a man born and killed in a cooper war
why cooper war was an emergency.
he sited reputable sources on the occasion,
and then, once more,
when he chased a deer, ablaze, back into the burning woods.
“i want you to panic!” he said.
he had the proof, the conviction, and the enthusiasm worthy of the living dead.
yes, it’s true that the ship is sinking, and that it has already sank,
the hull is punctured as it teeters on the edge of a red horizon
this has been true for a very long time.
to acknowledge this state as a state of emergency now,
to ask rhetorically,
“what do we do?”
one must either be very young, or settled comfortably on the upper deck
looking down from time to time,
to check if the water has risen.
between friends, this is what reverberates,
but, as a first position, where does it lead?
i give myself the time to examine it,
to feel the gun in my head, to wipe the trigger
and to put it away, gently.
it was always there.
i was born into the crisis of many,
and like most, i’m responsible for it
inasmuch as i’m not.
guilt is a lazy energy, and fear is the inhibitor
that dislodges the body from planetary memory
and imagination.
fear is always conservative.
i don’t want you to panic!
changing everything means everything changes,
including the way of the change.
changing everything means going all the way back
to the beginnings
as well as going forward
to the ancestral tongues, to sand circles, to learning how to walk
how to make tea, how to fold laundry, how to stop fearing,
and how to do it all and do it all now.
it means dismantling ladders and building shades,
mending trees, clothes, relationships.
it means acknowledging oxygen involved in breathing
and asking rivers to make us more riverlike
instead of branding them with the wax of statehood.
it means leaving behind the saddlebag and following the storks
up the river and across the desert, into the long tunnel,
and flying out on the other side, carrying life in our beaks.
abandon the appearance of criticality,
the sartorial choices of virtue signaling:
megaphone alone does not enunciate a position,
it masks apathy until the occursus,
until the body has no choice
but act or give up on these principles.
scream if you must for no reason, no pretext is needed to scream.
but then rest and sing too.
invent time by telling yourself you have time.
capture the discarded items in the network
then use present-inventive clause to transfigure them,
delaying transmission, accelerating fractions...
give yourself away, generously,
acknowledge the legitimacy of all pain
but do not borrow more of it for yourself
until you too succumb to its malevolence.
all hail the economy of circulation!
the interconnected blood vessels,
the donors and the recipients all at once!
steal anything from the empire of obscure sorrows
with all its useful kingpins
steal it all but the weeping rugs of sovereignty
and then give it all up with a grace of an irreverent brontosaurus.
if there is one thing a power can’t stand it is the absence of validation.
being asked for nothing, accused of nothing.
all that is ever fought for too hard and gained at a cost
is virtual by comparison to the first, fragile sketch,
a list of bullet points written in the invisible ink!
it is in becoming mercifully forgetful the body gains its velocity
its feathers and a tailwind.