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Let's Invite Permission

Mike Young

Here, put that down. Let me show you a
kind of holy something. You're allowed to
maul this whole gymnasium of instigators.
I mean you're allowed to be cute, like that,
or you're allowed to feel anything you want:
knives and sponges, carnival wristbands and
chicken grease. Here, put me down. I feel
uncomfortable, but avowedly so. That's the
Theory of Radical Alterity. It's the only
catch; see also the riders of the bus who
genuflect when they pass over a bridge in the
hail. Feelings are expensive greeting cards.
You buy them several times a year and wonder
how does the hologram work? The tiny songs?
They're a lark but not a marvel, really.
Funny people exist—you've felt them!—yet
they seem to have no hand in the punch
lines. You always feel stupid when people
praise your feelings, which is why we have
VMAT2, the self-transcendence gene (or God)
but also a clause that lets us feel like c'mon:
a giant wolf. Isn't he the scheme? Kindly and
doomed, like an old sitcom boss's face post-
laugh cue. Faces are big to feel with, close
especially, like a good sheet fort in action.
We're allowed to wear the Other's favorite shirt.
My lips have cinnamon bun stains and old blood,
and you feel to me somewhere between coffee and
lamination. Here, put the flashlight down. Wait,
I also want to feel the light avow itself.
Maybe we can deal in bulb spaces. Here,
let me spill this dust all over your hair.

Mike Young

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