Maybe our most real timeline resides in another verb tense

Our favourite horse poet, Rosebud Ben-Oni, is back at not exactly talking about horses again with Poet Wrestling with the Possibility She’s Living in a Simulation.
 
 Listen and read the full poem here (it really is worth listening to the whole thing if only for the “he and I are doing a lot of simulated things. / Get your mind out of the gutter” delivery)
 
 Here’s a snatch of that part:


Rosebud’s horse poems (which is most of them) are usually about some missed love, some opportunity that has slipped by, or was had but now dissipates across time.
 
 This one takes on an even more metaphysical task of whether it’s all simulation. Whether there is meaning in thoughts and action. After all, if it is a simulation, then the value of meaning taken from it is the same as the value of meaning taken from what is considered the canonical reality.
 
 That canonical reality the jealous voice in the poem that the poet is arguing with — the idea that there should only be one narrative and others (other experiences with, er, “horses”) should be either marked down as simulation or disregarded. It makes sense, the voice demands to be the only reality because it feel it might be destroyed if it has equal value to a simulation.
 
 The poet turns this back in on itself however by repeatedly resetting the simulation — and in doing so folding more into it each time. A grander vista is provided on each reset, as she sneaks everything into her world — which has been called a simulation.

It’s too bad that all our timelines are inherently self-destructive.

But even this is given over, as she accepts that that she is part of the simulation too, that there was no timeline that can be remembered that contained all equally and fairly as a landscape without regard for people.
 
 Sartre said, of our real meaty world, that there is no love but the deeds of love — but when you’re levelling it all to simulation, does a deed differ from the thought?


Rob Palk provides some very lovely and uplifting words about being a debut novelist and getting there later than you think but actually a totally normal time. Like when you and your friend are both late to the pub, happily.
 
 Compare and contrast with this Tim Clare interview with Claire North who published her first book when she was 14 and has published a total of 20 books. No, no, honestly, you won’t want to hang yourself.
 
 Both are full of particularly useful answers to those anxious feelings of am-I-doing-enough-quick-enough-well-enough-enough-enough!


Interesting discussion on the idea of using italics for foreign words — and here’s a brief mention of the “un-italicised flavour of my tongue” by Omar Sakr in my review of his Wild Houses.


The White Review’s current issue has a similar theme to our Rosebud’s — that of simulation. It’s a short story of a group of beta testers in a deep-sleep VR world. They’d be frozen in their young bodies and woken richer and in the future. The VR system though is one of similar questions and full of glitches, which must be reported. Have a taste:



This week’s song is Cat Power — Cross Bone Style


No idea why these dance moves have not been ripped off yet.


Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, which this week was written 10 metres from that pub on the corner of Greenwich market while visiting some family. This is my best tweet. This is the best headline. It’s been a big week for feeling things so it was always going to be a poem like this. I have some poems coming up in Euonia Review at the start of July, and probably more some place else because our Sammy kindly gifted me a Duotropes subscription — if you don’t already follow her, you ought to as a display of my gratitude (and she’s like, 10 people away from 500). Oh, also, I have Erin Hoover’s MS to read over — which I requested entirely on the power of the line: Reader, / let’s not waste our urgent and bright desires / confessing what might have been.

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