Alongside the Marketing

Allegory of Information Quality

I’m responsible for potatoes.

Huge quantities of potatoes are being harvested and brought to storage facilities by enslaved people. The soundtrack is ethnomusically informed jazz.

I’m supposed to be counting the eyes on the potatoes, but the enslaved people have huge quotas, so they never stop moving. Them or the potatoes.






Allegory of the Cave

Instead, I explain both sides of the argument about why it’s important to know who is making the jazz.

This method of counting feels similar to the boneless method of painting in the oeuvre of Yun Shouping or Xu Xi.

Boneless painting is best for poetry, I lie to the students. Do not try to tell a story with it.






Simulation of the Free Energy Principle 1

Once upon a time eye-sized flakes of bread fell out of the sky. It is not coincidental that a human bite is the size of a human eye.

For the smaller particulates associated with fire, one website recommends water and ginger administered to the gut rather than the lungs.

Then, one day, a mysterious warrior arrived, in search of a dragon.






What Very Wide Eyes You Have

Dear Signor de’ Medici, I hope the curtain bugs come in heavy. Hungry is a given.

I’m writing because there isn’t enough rain in the sky to account for the missing emotions. Please advise.

In the laboratory we keep the women awake for days at a time. We call the result of their yawning “Wind Machine,” and paint accordingly. Yours, Zeuxis Kaizhi






Allegory of Lore

Dear Qianlong Emperor, Chundi, etc., etc., each woman must be provided one pearl sewn at the neck to secure them to the silk. This will prevent them from telling the future.

Please find awaiting your seal the dossier on world dragons.

And several designs for mills. And the housing of the workers. And the sewage levees. The boycott is holding strong at the border. Yours, Parrhasius Scardanelli






Allegory of Foghorns

(a) Each Dragon shall file publicly on the Internet in consultation with an Art Historian high-resolution (“hi-res”) images and extensive verbal descriptions of each item in its Hoard.

(b) Thereafter, individuals with impaired memory shall have access to a long-durée experience of said items’ simulated presence.

(c) Any Dragon who violates this provision shall burn potatoes for no more than twenty hours per violation per year of violation.






No Roads Lead to Rome

Rain is saltier near the ocean.

In a Song copy of Han Huang’s Boy with Water Buffalo the creatures curl up accordingly.

My explanation leaves out which specific ethnic group in fact created the jazz. The rock is whorled and its perforations circular. On the tree some leaves survive.






Simulation of the Free Energy Principle 2(.0)

When the pages were found the necessary tests were done on the wormholes. . . . Yes. I don’t mean in the papers themselves but in the woodblocks that touched them back then.

You have read Crowley’s argument that Parrhasius ate paper.

No, that does not explain how either of them got here. . . . No, there are no bones on this table. . . . Oh. Thank you. It was hard to avoid them.






Allegory of Unreconstruction

Everyone comes to examine the dreadhole at least once. Some multiple times. Who can blame them? King David sings so beautifully from underground. It’s how anyone knows where to harrow.

If you stand on the inner crust of the earth noon comes when the sun is at your nadir.

Surely, Sire, you can see how there is no point in counting anymore. Release me.






Allegory of del *.*

I lied. Even the skeleton of the dragon will not suffice unless I leash it.

All roads lead to home. The free landscape exists only at the deepest core of the interior. In Zhou Wenju’s famous Double Screen, only the serving women can touch it. And we don’t.

Compliance is futile. Settings • Main Menu • Retry






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Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson is a poet and art historian. Her books of poetry are Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife (UDP, 2015) and Civilization Makes Me Lonely (Ahsahta, 2017). Her academic monograph on sixteenth-century European fascination with difference, Disharmony of the Spheres: The Europe of Holbein’s Ambassadors, is forthcoming from Penn State University Press this fall.