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
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.