By SETH PERLOW
Dear future self, when you read this
will they have abolished the yellow
light, or merely changed its function?
Where I come from, we have a color
for Sort-of-stop, but no way to express
Sort-of-go. If you spend big on anything,
spend big on shoes. This is the extent
of my advice to you. Where I come from
the gentlemen go out in pants bearing
the thinnest possible stripes. Electrified
barriers, proving hard to spot, are most
rarely tested. Therefore we communicate
primarily by wire. We encounter difficulty
distinguishing between I think you should
sort-of-go and We should sort-of-go
together. If the cut of my jacket
is not telling you something about
imprisonment, about my time in prison,
go back and look again.
Leave the anonymity to the aircraft.
The magic of compounding interest is
so last century. Electronic protest
is the new black. Everywhere I go,
these shitty ads for the new sincerity.
Last week it proved crucial to know the
difference between Junk shot and Junk check.
Televised simply means Seen from a great
distance. The word you are looking for,
future self, is Streamed—something you can
never step back into. When I hear
everything solid melt into air, I reach
for my gun. So is the ground going to
shift beneath me, or are you going
to make me stop this car? The labor theory
of value is the new black. Are you one
of those It felt like the top of my head
had come off people? Or one of those
I was floating about six feet above my
body people? Or those sleep paralysis
is terrifying people?
Dear future self, which do you worry
about more: land-snakes or water-snakes?
Have worrying about the past and
worrying about the future amounted
to the same thing? Fluids have always
been hard to manage, so lately it’s all about
not living in that part of the world.
Contamination and dosage have always
amounted to the same thing. Making
tomorrow’s energy today. Making the
forbidden avoidable. Emotionally
unavailable will always be the new
black. My diet failing me. Me failing
my diet. How long has this been
going on and where did you meet her
and did everyone know but me? Future
self, when you are lonely exact violence
on your body. When you receive praise,
make it at the expense of others. At all
costs, avoid eye contact when professing
love. Shut your eyes completely when
making it. Nobody will discuss any of
this with me. Silent aggression is the new
black. Infiltration simply means Filtering into.
Dear future self, the weather here is fine.
When I say The weather is fine, I mean
the weather is extremely thin. I mean
the weather is quite delicate today. The
weather here is good, but not good enough
to be called good: it is fine. When I say
The weather is fair, I mean its hatred is
distributed evenly across the globe.
Future self, in my era the weather’s hatred
remains hard to spot, often expressed
far out over the oceans, where only sea-fowl
can appreciate it. Many of us therefore
become spiteful when the weather hates
directly at us. We call ourselves
the well-deserved. We have deployed an
extensive hydrocarbon membrane to
undulate between our ocean and the
weather’s equal-opportunity hate.
Future self, the weather was here but is
no longer here. After the weather visits
its hate, the weather becomes fine.
The weather itself invented irony and
has yet to move on, or the weather moving
on is the weather inventing irony. When
the weather moves on the weather is
very fine, and my private aeroplane has an
easy time churning through it, gliding
loudly and brightly over the chaos of life
on the ground. Future self, all weekend I wish
you were beautiful.
Seth Perlow is a doctoral candidate in English at Cornell University, where he studies American poetry, critical theory, and digital media.