©Mari Bastashevski, 2019




For Lesia

There is a meme that keeps 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, nuclear boars, 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 a phylogenetic cousin and culturally quarantined from its animal self. A studious humanist who, waking up from an afternoon nap, informed a man born and killed in a cooper war, why cooper war is an emergency. 

He cited reputable sources back then, and once more, again, on the occasion when he chased a deer, ablaze, back into 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 sunk, the hull punctured as it teeters on the edge of a red horizon. It has been this way for a very long time. To acknowledge this state as a state of emergency now, or to ask rhetorically, “What do we do?” as if Bowie hasn’t lived, one must either be very young or settled on the upper deck only 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 hand, to wipe the trigger, and to put it away again, gently. It was always there. I was born into a crisis of the many, and like most, I’m responsible for it as much as I’m not. Guilt is 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 beginning as well as going forward; to ancestral tongues, to sand circles, to learning how to walk, how to make tea, how to do laundry, how to stop fearing, how to do it all and do it now.

It means dismantling ladders and building shades, mending trees, clothes, relationships. It means acknowledging the oxygen involved in breathing and asking rivers to make us more riverlike instead of branding them with the sealing wax of statehood. It means leaving behind the saddlebag and following the storks up the rivers and across deserts, 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 signalling: a megaphone alone does not enunciate a position, even as it masks apathy until the occursus, until the body has no choice, but to act or to give up on these principles.

Scream if you must for no reason. No pretext is needed to scream, but then rest and sing too, and capture the discarded items floating freely in the network, fill in time to transfigure them, delaying transmission, multiplying fractions...

Generate variations, non sequiturs, spawn chaoids, packets of time that will replace bank hours with a circatidal schedule. Read the room, but read the moon too.

Give yourself away generously, acknowledge the legitimacy of all pain, but do not borrow more of it for yourself until you succumb to its malevolence. All hail the economy of circulation, the interconnected blood vessels, the donors recipients all at once!

Steal anything from the empire and its obscure kings but the weeping rags of sovereignty. Steal it all and give it all up with a grace of an irreverent brontosaurus. If there is a thing a power cannot withstand it is the absence of validation, it is being asked for nothing, being accused of nothing. All that is ever fought too hard for and gained at a cost is virtual by comparison to the first, fragile sketch, a list of bullet points in invisible ink.

In becoming mercifully forgetful that the body gains its velocity, its feathers and a tailwind.