A dance step called ‘modes of disaster technology’

An autobiography of aerial phenomena:
drunk on fireworks, I ask my love to marry me.

Waves of capital pass through brick & mortar:
first a fire, then a factory, then a means

of deadlier aim. Say we are learning a new skill: how to approach
from above. How to move a made thing through air.

To true. There are fractures, there are fragments.
How cold the old factory grows in winter.

We are in the woods. I prefer a shotgun’s spray.
Bombs fall into a national anthem with jarring historicity.

It’s not always clear when a collection becomes an arsenal.
Keep a wine glass and a pistol in reach. Keep an eye on longitude:

gunpowder slowly traverses the steppes. Mongol Empire,
Abassid Caliphate. How blue is the sky today?

Decommissioned planes buzz the Mule Day parade.
Descending into sleep, my love’s body seizes once.

Evolutionary impulses stranded in the brain.
I am not a good shot. I can trace the path

paper takes from China to Italy in history,
or I can numb my hands in the vat.

Where do you mark the target, and how
do you know how close you came? The cop

never really took the gun from my hand.
I was inside, making cocktails. We spent the whole day in bed,

watching images flicker on a screen. Historically speaking,
aerialists may precede aerial bombardment.

There was a high wire, there was a trip wire. A lady spun
from one ankle. A shell burst or disintegrated slowly

into an erasure in the landscape.
First you scrape skin into parchment,

then you scrape that parchment clean. The man with clean hands
holds the paper. You can tell the printer by his forearms.

Hello, mass production! My love in his bathrobe, and 400 miles away
a friend at his kitchen table. It was the same bathrobe!

The opposite of a murder mystery. When you make a thing
by hand, what trace of your hand rests in that thing?

Protect your wrist when shooting arrows at false deer.
Wear a mask inside the abandoned house. The key element

is managing expectations: sometimes one needs to sleep.
“Bombed-out” is a term applied to places where damage

may be primarily economic. Morning glory chokes the vacants,
climbs chainlink peripheries. Wooden fins guide clay missiles.

When the LORD your God…clears away many nations before you
it’s best to stay out of the desert, to keep to wooded areas.

I assume the neutral persona of an archaeologist:
I do not know why the house was condemned.

I do not know if or when the scrappers will come,
or what they will be permitted to take.

Incessant birdsong in the late afternoon
is another kind of aerial phenomena, and under

certain chemical conditions could be seen
as a bombardment.

Though interested in the aesthetic applications
of gunshot, I am uncertain whether to consider it

a printmaking technique. It’s sunrise on Kill Devil Hills.
Let’s get this party started.

Sources and Inspirations:
Lauren Herzak-Baumann. thisisdisappearing (art installation). Minneapolis, May 5-26,
Sven Lindquist (trans. Linda Haverty Rugg). A History of Bombing. New York: The New
Press, 2001.
T. H. Barrett. The Woman Who Discovered Printing. New Haven: Yale U. Press, 2008.

Front page image by Ralph Hockens.

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MC Hyland

About the Author

MC Hyland is the author of Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press) and several chapbooks including TOOTHLESS ALTAR (Shirt Pocket Press), Every Night In Magic City (H_NGM_N), and Residential, As In (Blue Hour Press). She runs DoubleCross Press with Jeff Peterson, and is a PhD student at NYU, where she currently studies walking, typewriters, poetics, and Romanticism.
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