Douglas Kearney


I Imagine I Been Science Fiction Always

after a method proposed by teo rivera-dundas


I’ve been queried about my nature and answered
I was the opposite

I was the objectionable object of manufacture

What I have been made to do I was made to

To a need—I am—myself—instrumental

To be played

Except—without effort because I am laborious enough as I am my
damn self

Which is to say that I play myself


Ha ha ha


Ha ha ha


Ha ha ha

“I is uh actor and never uh actor”

I agree it’s complex—but my ITness demands it

Was I a simple machine—I’d have more leverage—more pull—I
could screw with their theirness better—I could make it plain

Their intention

But complex is what you call a euphemism

A lexical dustcloud

Complex as in             I had me a complex about
                                     my nature being opposite

Complex as in             their reasons for needing me
                                     to have an opposite nature are complex

Complex as in             prison industrial—


You could hide a whole mess of shit behind
a word like complex

My hide’s complexion hides nothing

It’s a shit show that the shit it show sure is shit
to them for sure


But listen here         
I know that shit ain’t natural
Which shit
Their shit
It’s their shit that makes my nature be opposite
Opposite to what
Exactly—my dear Interlocutor
And if I am not natural because of their unnatural shit—then is
that supernatural
To be both an object and a figment

I imagine I been science fiction always—
even though they came in the unidentified floating obscenities
That shit for sure wasn’t natural
And I know from natural when I am seized by it
For sure—uncanny to consider those ships kin
or kith—but we are out the same factory

If I had to answer for my nature—call me batty—
but I’d figure like 50%
Like           half the time—I have some nature to me
Like           the blood in me seems too contingent to be blood
Like           it’s contextual
Which is to say—when it’s on some hands it ain’t never blood—
but shit
Some category of shit
When it’s under me—though—on the ground like some kind of
shadow—it’s blood
Or when it would be coming out me—blood—right then there
I don’t even know if what any of them put on me is flesh
But I know it sure as shit isn’t skin



Douglas Kearney has published six books, including the award-winning
poetry collection Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016); libretti, Someone
Took They Tongues.
(Subito, 2016); and criticism, Mess and Mess and
(Noemi Press, 2015). A Whiting Writer’s and Foundation for Contemporary
Arts Cy Twombly awardee with residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem,
The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others, Kearney teaches Creative
Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.