JOSEF KAPLAN is the author of Democracy is Not for the People (Truck Books, 2012). He lives in Brooklyn.

I Hate Job

I maintain that my labor has no bearing on my poetics.

A discussion of the conditions of poetic production is only illuminative insofar as those conditions are equitable with the poetry itself, and the poetry is understood to exist on a continuum with the life it inhabits. This concept is at best pathetic.

Within this formulation, a poetics can never rise above the anecdotal; it is merely life's exhaust, expelled reeking of a world in which forms reveal themselves both linearly and in good faith, and therefore where the immanent formal stakes of a poem need always find coherence with the means of their production. The poem is here beholden to the world. 

If a poem is beholden to the world, it is in service to the world.

In this way we are required to be "good," and to make our poetic work be "good" or as "good" as the world we'd like to see manifest for ourselves. In this way we qualify our poetry.

But poetry needs neither qualification nor inherence, and the assumption that poetry must inhabit or acknowledge the conditions of its writing is, again, a kind of devotional apology, a defense of service, and therefore cowardice.

The world does not need poetry, nor does the world desire it.

Poetry that bears witness to this disinterest, that works to justify itself via the traumas and triumphs of the world, is superficial and useless. 

For this reason – that the world is not beholden to poetry – it is truly poetry’s job to tear down and subjugate the world. Rather than embrace the conditions of its time, or critically document their existence, poetry should enact a wholly negative procedure: sabotage – sabotage against the conditions of its time, against itself as work, and against all work as such. 

Therefore, regardless of truth or accuracy, I maintain that my labor has no bearing on my poetics. I am not interested in means, only in the successful, annihilative manifestation of the poem, as an absolute violence, where worth is gauged by how much damage that poem can do to both itself and others – preferably with regards to interpersonal relationships and employability.

Fuck a job.

Fuck even thinking about your stupid fucking job.

There should be only the relentless negation of all formal determinations, in service to total enmity. The enemy of any and every world. I set my will to this purpose. 

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