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What’s the difference between a world of assembly and a world of resemblance?

This mostly addresses the nationalistic nature of civilization, and how the machine of society is staffed and fueled.  The expectations of culture, both material and mental, are unavoidably riddled with milestones and the decisions of our priors.  Flags and rule denote sectioning, border, and belonging, and while these aren’t necessities of life, they are necessities of cultural identity, our “worlds.”  The material items of belonging, the wares of the Jones’, change often, and the caste-n’-creed tastes by which a region builds its cultural nuances and accents is an assembly of wares, attitudes, and behaviors.  “The world of assembly” is the portion of living that focuses on putting a self together and launching the skiff out on the cultural waters.  We assemble ourselves for myriad reasons (to match better with neighbors in the weight of belonging, or to self-ostracize, to build our sense of things, or even abandon our sense of something), and this is typically the world of youth.  Expectations assemble things, things assemble stations, stations assembles lives, and lives assemble neighborhoods that change with each group of youth to come of age within them.  Fads and attitudes and trends develop (some being but recurring, exhaustible systems that come into and out of favor throughout history).  This symbiotic relationship between materials and attitudes is a hallmark of community. 

Because our own country is considered a vast melting pot of cultures, creeds, religions, ethnicities … we devour differences between people and call it “tolerance,” while seeking to section-off each difference for a designated homogenization.  While these differences are tantamount our melting-pot nation, there is a definite expectation that some differences will give way to the American mode, which is an individualistic mode, but gauged communally.  Each generation is in flux and accountable to the changes of its materials and modern world, however, and communities are in constant mutation, slowly growing to resemble the communities nearby.  Homogeny is the communal mode, yet we both accept and fight it individually, singular terminals making up a network so vast that it gains its own individuality.  “The world of assembly” is the world of gearing-up, being weighed, and preparing to take part.

“The world of resemblance” addresses the middle-age, the center, when we are all most alike, when we have learned to hone our concerns and activities.  The middle-age is the time in which we are not only expected to staff the machine, but to run it.  We’re at the console, and before us are all the buttons and levers, each having been thrown, pressed, or ignored by our priors.  We are to reconfigure some of it, and we have become as if buttons and levers, ourselves.  We are finished with assembling and have become the machine.  The assemblers behind are waiting their turn.


We want to ask you about time. Time and the dissolution of barriers. Your poem suggests that homogeny is a way of understanding our similarities across generations. But your poem also suggests that one of our similarities is that we are all similarly fucked up. This is an overtly political poem. Is it a hopeful one?

We pass along our notions to our young, who pass it on to their own, and so forth.  We pass along our rocket-sled progressiveness and our hermit-crab conservativeness, our inventions and refuse, our whatnot.  We can better understand how our minds are geared by looking at what they have in common with past minds.  We’re looking for hierarchies that repeat, recurring symbolism, cycles of myth and activity.  Time is a good way to measure change, of course, but if a person wants to track culture and the change of ideals or attitudes, the metric best suited for this is based in reproduction.  This poem tracks time more through generation (as fuzzy as that can be, nationally) than Gregorian increments. 

That we may favor war intermittently indicates that we will favor it again.  We will continue to have loving or angry gods, or some such substitute for that pleasure or necessity.  In time, my values, no matter how hard I try to express them and give them pasture, will be overwritten by my son’s values.  The cassette tape of our culture gets recorded over again and again, leaving behind but a few clicks and pops, a bit of hiss, as the new song goes down and the old song blends back.  Eventually, my values are overwritten by a new generation’s values, and then those, too, are overwritten, as the tape grows old and each of us, long dead, become indistinguishable from the era in which we lived. 

While culture does shift somewhat to accommodate its people and their interests, those people and interests shift more to accommodate culture.  Given time, we tend to erode the barriers our ancestors designed or weathered, but we’re always building more of them, and we’re only the next ancient history. 

The poem, itself, is neither hopeful nor belligerent, but based more on subjective observation.  It attempts to be neutral.