“In the Cage” © Thomas Riesner


Jabberwocky, LLC

I am not an approachable celebrity
but I am also not a celebrity

If you are desperate to simplify
you must integrate the essential

I reimagined a charity as a restaurant—
pay what you intended in a loving form of strategic downgrading

Everyone is a hero, you used to say
before it was essential

The brutal transparency of curated doom
is late capitalism as a meta meme

Randomness is as addictive
as the brutal transparency of Dickinson’s Indian pipes

It’s easy to take the humanity out of the corporation—
hard to put it back into a cult

I’m lonely in my thoughts first thing in the morning
so I distract myself with silent tasks

Reverse your retail theater
before the social artivists gatecrash your first charitable engagement

Optimal aging is a form of me-funding
as healthy content is a form of branded inspiration

I shoptimize as I go
down the pixelated garden path

My distributed expertise is underwhelming
compared to the cornucopia of imaginary toads
I’d gather for your curated gift basket

I see everyday stardom on my walks
along river trail lined with sun-basking snapping turtles

Let me mood-match you with a plan
from the Department of Mainstream Mindfulness

I thought I learned virtual empathy but
in hindsight I was personality mapping

Busy is the new obsession to avoid
while productivity declines without unperfection

I took a deep dive to preserve my past
using invisible technologies mined during this robot renaissance

I paid my taxes
on passive loyalty

I’m self-aware of heroic design’s moonshot
in spite of data overflow
with all its side quirks
truthing the malicious over-targeting of enlightened consumption

In Human Mode I learn at lightspeed
but with too much empathy for data

I’d like to consider myself touchworthy—
an approachable luxury that bends to your whims

I’ve noticed the way your artificial influence
overlaps with your strategic spectacles

I would call this a method of innovation envy
though that might imply it was more than glanceable content


Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry. He is author of several short poetry collections including, most recently, Meatless (Plan B Press). His poems and other writing have been curated in many journals including Alba, The New Verse News, anti-heroin chic, Right Hand Pointing, The Broadkill Review, Gargoyle, Otoliths, and elsewhere.

Thomas Riesner: “I was born in Leipzig,Germany in 1971 and I still live here today. Already in elementary school I often painted “abstract ” instead of the given concrete drawing. I later retained this style or changed it to ‘abstract figuration.’ I painted a lot at home, always without professional guidance. I didn’t have any specific role models. When I start a picture, I only have a certain idea, but often something completely different emerges.”