Job Knows Precarity in a Place Others Call Gowanus

Will Newman

perhaps what it transmits is the wrong voice, the false communication…No doubt I try to deny separation by the telephone—as the child fearing to lose its mother keeps pulling on a string; but the telephone wire is not a good transitional object, it is not an inert string…” // Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse

fell asleep last   |   p.m. behind a door i   |   barricaded with kitchen   |   chairs & precarious guitars   |   i previously reserved the use   |   of precarious for things   |   that were not quite so [irony] but   |   am reading Butler &  |   scared        //          you called having   |   missed my call   |   i having ignored your call feet from   |   yards away barrelling down the manhattan bridge  |   on a D train towards a lack   |   of cell service   |   when i emerged   |   from underground i called back to   |   no answer bought beer & a pear walked home        //          you said when you tried to reach me a   |   woman picked up asking hello hello hello if   |   you have nothing to say why don’t you just hang   |   up      //          on my end of the  |   call i heard nothing or rather   |   there was crunch static the sound of service breathing not silence but a different type of   |   face whose power of address is like sound says   |   Levinas says Butler says there is fear & there is anxiety there is   |   fear you feel for your own   |   life &   |   anxiety you feel knowing you might have to kill   |   killdeathkilldeath killdeathkilldeath killdeath    |   killdeathkilldeath killdeathkilldeath killdeathkilldeathkilldeathkilldeath killdeathkilldeathkilldeathkilldeath            //          Freud didn’t like phones says Barthes   |   says though reception is now better Freud   |   predicted how the cacophony carried over stayed   |   contemporary Barthes says stayed love-like //          i have never been much in danger though   |   i have been much in love i   |   have been privileged enough to fear   |   invasion in only very limited   |   regards & the deaths of which i’m   |   anxious to have to cause are all ~ abstract & relational ((though   |   really what death isn’t) which is to say there are   |   only ghosts (which is to say maybe only a body not subject to frequent &   |   profound precarity could say something so cruelly reductive))                     //          downstairs an italian woman called josie limps & smokes  |  fish & cigarettes & no one   |   will tell her otherwise the block   |   is watched over by men who limp & mend military   |   coats of military green outside the glory social club they   |   have so far laughed at my hats & my   |   gait & there is reportedly no crime here                      //          i live in her sister’s former apartment josie   |   limps & says to me when she hands me the   |   key to my letterbox my apartment was gut   |   renovated since last anyone lived there   |   says mark my landlord an orthodox jewish   |   man who walked in on me in my underwear to   |   check on the shower door installation he remained   |   unfazed by my body (that mana-word)                        //          my wireless provider is verizon & the woman i talked to on the phone when i called   |   to talk to verizon said she knows of    |   no reason any calls to me would direct to anyone else who was not me there   |   are no lines to cross //          i get josie’s sister’s mail in my letterbox   |   offers from virginia slims & a    |   brooklyn-specific coupon company among    |   other leaky correspondences i have no business   |   tearing open      //          we could not complete your    |   call as planned but i have no guesses re   |  who we is or are if i am complicit in this imperfection or a perverse   |   addition that broke the telephonic bind by which we   |   tried to connect & anyway i steal my own identity every   |   morning a day being among those things that barricade construct the self like   |   banditry like quotation marks around another’s words says   |   Carson says as she writes about or maybe through Longinus like to loot   |   someone else’s life or sentences and make off with a point of view, which    |    is called objective” because you can make anything into an   |   object by treating it this way, is exciting and dangerous. Let us see    |   who controls the danger can you hear  |   me canyouhearmecan  |   you here me & what does that mean for me & we & them & y’all as   |   they say in the place there from where you call me i   |   can hear you tonight & you can hear me & that is no less   |   dangerous than our furnished guts & the stuff we put therein i   |    mean you i mean us   |   to write me to call    |   me i dare you: cross me   |   tonight