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Lauren Tivey

memetics, my love

take the one of a woman shouting in frame a, the sneering cat in frame b; in the time it takes you to read this poem, it’s gone, swallowed into the web, data packets racing through routers, networks, device to device, a replicating virus jumping from host to host, the meme pool spreading, propagating to infinity—hell, evolving—fractaling into outer space, a throbbing spinning infectious mass, sucking up ideas and splitting them off like a modern day Hydra, transmitting at speed of light, rocketing through ozone layer, aurora, troposphere, stratosphere, whizzing among the celestial bodies—such swift hustle, such alacrity, such zip and zoom! the intergalactic rush to geostationary satellites, hurtling through a vacuum, marrying plasma, hydrogen, helium, humming across the magnetic fields, collecting traces of cosmic dust, subatomic particles, and then the whoosh back, reverse interstellar, plummeting through the atmosphere, tumbling via fiber optic cables *poof* direct to the stylized hunk of aluminum, glass, and plastic vibrating in your hand, to the screen, to your eyes, your gleaming eyes! fanfare of arrival, meme melting into corneas, pupils dilating, clever joke gushing through veins and brains, sparking adrenaline and dopamine, your neural receptors firing like disco balls, sweet joy lighting your face—this, this is how we show love in the 21st century.

steinbeck country

we drove the plush hills and fertile valleys in a caravan of convertibles, shouting and singing our way from party to party under a spangled sky, buoyant in our mid ‘20s, back when the coke flowed like wine, and the nights lingered with the rich scent of plowed earth, and once when we were high i said this is truly east of eden, and no one knew the reference but it didn’t matter, and we laughed and drove some more, our radio receiving only the spanish stations we loved, and we worked our days in truck stops, garages, and fields, slept until noon every weekend, and in the sultry california afternoons we followed the migrants up into the mountains to the shady creek, lounged with them on boulders in the middle of the water, and we were all so beautiful, white and brown, smiling in the golden sunlight, our silky young animal skins drizzled with droplets, all of us shimmering like stars, as wealthy as kings.

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