Troy Jollimore


One need not be a professional animal
behavior researcher to drape oneself
in shrouds of colorless fabric and force rats
to run through colorless two-dimensional mazes,
although it may help one avoid certain troubling
inquiries. One need not be employed by a major
academic institution to carry out such work
to be puzzled by the results of the blindfolded
honeybee study or think it a good
idea to see what happens if you give
a fake egg twenty times the size
of a regular egg to a herring gull
(answer: the gull ignores its own eggs, 
keeps trying to sit on the big fake egg,
and keeps falling off.) One need not seek
permission from Church elders to dance the Charleston
in this day and age, nor wait for the latest 
Supreme Court ruling to ask a person 
who floats your boat if they want to go bowling 
when the fireworks are done. In Antonioni’s 
The Passenger one character says 
“People disappear every day” and another 
replies “Every time they leave the room,” 
and one need not be Pauline Kael to enjoy 
this exchange or to take a certain pleasure in and 
at the very same time feel just a bit un-
persuaded by the fashionable nihilism of 
Italian film directors. You can’t trust just 
anyone to go poking and sifting through 
the culture, what with all the deadbeats and 
opportunists out there. Nor can you trust 
the culture to poke and sift through 
itself. One need not be confused to be alive 
although one must ordinarily be alive 
in order to be confused. One need not 
doze beneath the coconut tree to be struck 
on the crown of the head by a coconut, 
resulting in half a second of total
astonishing enlightenment, then, wham, permanent 
and equally total and astonishing extinction 
of consciousness. Press anything hard 
enough, long enough, between two stones, 
you end up with something true. One need not 
speak a foreign language to find the words 
at one’s disposal profoundly inadequate 
for expressing the thoughts that matter most. 
Someday your shoes will fit. Someday 
you’ll be kissed. Someday they will stop suspecting 
you. One need not abandon oneself
to the furies, rend one’s outer garments, lie supine
at the Gates of the Congenitally Un-Self-Loved,
or spend one’s hours disconsolately perched
on top of a giant fake herring gull egg
to let oneself hope for these things.