A poem by Brennan S. Chambre
How can I read literary theory when the Pentagon is preparing for nuclear war?
How can Bahktin help me bring down the U.S. government?
What does heteroglossia tell me about imperialism and genocide if not
reminding me of all the voices,
deliberately silenced and preferably unheard
and the singular narrative feeding tube
administered to keep a rowdy nation quiet.
What does a dialogic imagination do if not
showing me who is a participant
and who is a just a spectator
in the drama of Democracy
And what use is the chronotope if not to point out
that’s the corner in East Flatbush where
they shot Kimani Gray on March 9, 2013
and this is the apartment on Monroe Street
in Chicago where they murdered Fred Hampton
on the early morning of December 4, 1969
and this is where they dropped the bomb
on August 6, 1945
and this is where they dropped the other one
on August 9, 1945—
et. cetera, ad infinitum
Rabelais and his world are not our world but
we can see the beast in its crib.
At the carnival we may laugh at the Lords
and embrace the animism of our bodies
and they’ll laugh right along
because it feels better to be in on the joke
and the butt of it
than a straight-faced spectator from a distance.
But laughing at them degrades them.
That’s just what we’ve got to do
until we can do more to them.