Unemployment by Dolan Morgan
“Do you have a wound that hasn’t healed in over thirty days?” is an advertisement for recuperative hyperbaric chambers: redundant. A sign in autumn reads, “Look. Feel. Need.” It is a Duane Reade Pharmacy and it is huge. It is 24 hours. It is frightening. It has everything. Time and space, kneel. To the savings? To Zeus.
It is a womb made of toiletries and light. We are home.
Outside a mall on Black Friday at 5 AM, I wait. To understand myself as an exchange of liquidity. With the store and its angry masses. The lot is quiet. Fathers are unemployed. Deals await. Omens: Who will die. Save. Exiting, a woman warns “It’s crazy in there! Jesus!”
Within: emptiness, silence. No one is trampled, no one fights.
What did that woman see? “Shopping is a feeling,” a singer says. I want to know her feeling, her dream of recursive dialysis. Violence.
We all grew up poor in a rich town, wandering a department store and watching a late-night infomercial between truck stops, where all these license plates enact impromptu Congress, America writ small, greased.
Oh, Home Shopping Network, Nigerian bank scam, dollar store and tag sale, gambling and real estate collapse: a slow retelling of myths and a scribble of new ones. Bailouts? Persephone’s foreclosure, a pillar of salt. Deficits? The life of Oedipus, quantified, leaned. We buy objects and move money to tell each other stories about the things inside us we can’t fix.
Let’s admit this and refine it. A dictionary is, by definition, ours for the storming.
Pitchfork, torch. What is the lexicon of ownership and work? We must speak language clearly and then envision products, commercials and accounts as an epic landscape where adventure awaits and enter it like a gamer into the void. You are in love, but Nintendo draws fluid from the body and gives back Nintendo. The machine is myth and you are the myth. The word is flesh? No, the word is a series of tubes. The Internet is a form of psychic dialysis. In history, most fathers are unemployed. I can’t make a purchase without answering a trick question.
Dolan lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. You can find more of his work at dolanmorgan.com.