Another thing about Abdul-goddamn-Walid

In his emails, there’s always a facetious quotation line running all the way down the left-hand margin, functioning a bit like the unpaired left parenthesis sometimes encountered in a modernist poem: it throws one a bit off-balance, waiting anxiously for the right parenthesis that never comes (in some of those self-consciously difficult poems I used to badger myself into reading, I remember finding multiple left parentheses (ironic little eyebrows raised at the reader’s increasing bafflement at one would-be parenthetical phrase after another (“oh poor thing, he’s searching for closure” (or at least for the proverbial other shoe to drop (and I was, too, because after reading a poem or email like that it’s hard to shake the impression that all the right-hand parentheses and close-quotes have decamped to some point beyond the horizon – that sliver of a new moon, say – and everything short of it has been rendered, well, parenthetical (not “wheels within wheels,” but the opposite: a feeling that no starting point can ever be returned to, as hard as we pedal this zero-cycle (there are no arrivals, only departures (what goes around disappears into a vortex.

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