ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

from Expressway

Sina Queyras

Writing is not a commodity.

Original is not a commodity.

Writing is thinking made visible.

Original is what you haven’t seen.

Writing is a disordered hum.

Original is singing.

Writing is always forward (or backward depending on language and global positioning).

Original is what you don’t recognize.

Writing is the space between this
(Original is here)

and this (on the train, now)


is only in relation to stopping whereas


persists and

original is ornery.


One is not simply
One is not
One is ever after
One is as much as this
One severs heads
One appears in public for a fee
One appears and later
One becomes one
One indeed
One becomes one
One is never many
One is a sumptuous red bean bun
One is coveted
One is scrambled
One must not hesitate to think


And another thing!


Or this.

This, this and this…


What is more self-referential than A.?

Either, or.

What citizens of A. lack in political options they make up for in pastry choices, in supermarket items, in numbers, in health insurance packages, in phone plans, in ways to choose because…

Freedom is to confuse.

Freedom is to make a buck.

Freedom is to charge a fee.

Information is available for those who can acquire it.

After all, this is A.

After all, freedom.

So, that is A.

Fees are A.

All along the strip malls fees are charged, or not. There is a choice.

Everyone has a choice.

Freedom is a choice.

No one thinks about freedom as a complex system, freedom is a commodity.

Freedom is not a commodity you need to own.

Freedom is a choice.

Freedom has conditions.

Freedom is exportable.

Freedom is a fee.

Freedom is available for import.

Freedom is as freedom does.


What does Freedom see when she closes her eyes?


I don’t understand this option.

Or, I don’t recognize this as an option.

Or, the option that I want is not offered.

Multiple choice offers no room for thinking, only deducing.

Several options roving down the road.

Or, an option walked into a bar.

Or, what every cowgirl needs is a good option.


Healthcare is (not) an option.

Healthcare is (not) a commodity.

In A. lives are not a commodity.

In A. the best minds are not a commodity.

In A. what is said is not what is meant.

In A. everyone always says yes even if they have no intention.

In A. they don’t need intention, only to say yes.

In A. body parts.

In A. bodies.

Why not come to A.?

Why not set up shop?


You don’t like this country you can move on down the road, that’s what you can do, just move on down the road…

Where is down the road? Where is away? Where is outside?

Someone, somewhere is having this precise thought. Now. Or now. They are thinking it as they peel away a bit of knee-scab. Remnants of a library tumble. The fringed skin. Or now tugging his hair on a train to Rangpur, sucking in his right cheek, thinking Why am I not original? Why can I not imagine “other”? Why am I not A?


All along the avenue spronging, tent-like, their attitudes
way ahead of them.

My computer screen, waving.

Where’s your horse, she said, and there was nothing I could say.

What I want is generally tidy. What I get often cannot dance.

Who wants a date that can’t dance?

Who wants a line without rhythm?

Who wants a line without thought?


Occasionally there is anger. Occasionally she takes her one good foot and applies it to surfaces otherwise flat and safe.

(I live here because the country I once lived in is now a corporate washroom, where there was once gardens oil refineries turn night into day, and farmers into militia-men, you won’t ever understand this, and your poems gleam.)


Once again the feeling comes, like a sprong in the groin (if she had a groin), it is an abundance of feeling that is sharp, almost hostile in its need to overtake. Several women in pink felt it coming. They turned, their pierced ears like arrows in her thigh. They waved their cell phones in the air.


Sprong, sarong. I ask you, is this a coincidence?


This poem resembles urban sprawl.

This poem resembles the freedom to charge a fee. The fee occurs in the gaps. It is an event. It is without precedent. It is a moment in which you pay money. It is a tribute to freedom of choice. If you do not like this poem, pass Go, pass Stop, pass on to another page in which you recognize the shape of your thinking. There will be a fee for that as well.

What she is thinking is not hostile. The poem refuses, however, to start from a position of safety and end in a position of safety having momentarily revealed a tiny fracture in human existence, the equivalent of a fly (a very small one, possibly a fruit fly even) in the chardonnay, or perhaps even more revelatory, a dose of chemotherapy (but not yours), a glimpse into the abyss (a tiny one, twice removed), and back to the front porch (this could be yours), before the next sip.