First published in Art World (UK), 2009. The editor was looking for an ekphrastic poem. I had written a poem inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s 360 Degree Room of All Colours (2002), which she accepted. I had walked into the Eliasson art space & was immediately freaked out by how easily time became unhinged for me in this room designed so you couldn’t tell how close the walls were.

Here is what was published in the magazine:

“While visiting the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the MoMA in New York, I entered a donut-shaped room with walls of indeterminable fabric glowing softly in shifting bands of color. The saturation of light immediately began working on my sensibilities. I had been reading Foucault’s Discipline & Punish, about panopticons and how lighting is being used as a torture device, where prisoners have no escape from the all-seeing eye of their guards. Also, my father was a jail guard for 16 years, so I’ve met a few prisoners in my time. They used to peel the lead paint from the walls, make a ball out of it, drop it down a sock and beat the hell out of each other with these things. Prisons to my mind do little but to train people to be better criminals or to hold them still, both mentally and physically. It was a very intimate, sad sort of experience.

The suffix OS in the poem’s title stands for “operating system” (eg, Windows OS, Mac OS). In “Chron*OS” that operating system is Time, working upon the wrecked consciousness of a newly released prisoner.”




One zebra skin wallet, won at the tables

One exit

One pocket watch, one arm wickedly awry

Two strikes

One epicenter of free will

One Fodor’s Guide to Internal States, abridged

One chalice full of luck

One mallet, rubber

One rubber, busted

One ankle-biting snot-nosed brat

One biblical allegory, memorized, forgotten, lingering

One more missed opportunity

One gaffing scar, won poaching gators in the marshland of Malabar

One whimpers in the dark

One exwife, brunette, battered & fried

Two bits, bitten

One hundred dollars in ones, sequential

One war, retired

One paint ball, peeled from the lead walls and thrust down a sock (confiscated)

One exwife, a blonde, a-blubber

One ticket to the Metrosexual Lyceum of Snort, white (rehabbed)

One porn mag, onanated

One more gesture toward the infinite

One memory of snagging a line drive hit by a neighbor boy turned pro

One means what one does

Three brothers, one biker one bugger one above-it-all

One jingoistic racist worldview, emboldened

One fierce feral face to meet the faces, embittered

One panopticon complex, illuminated

One begs indifference

One less store clerk

One more slice of key lime pie

One “trust in the commonality of experience,” expired

One job laying brick on the outside

One wishes it were so

One more cosmos trapped in a bubble on the lips of a babbling fool

One worn copy of Blood Meridian, bloodied

One last motherfuckin chance

One vacuum-sealed vacuum, call it eleven-dimensional space

One point of entry, here

One man


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