From the Archive: Daniel Scott Tysdal (CAROUSEL 35)

Staff/ December 5, 2020/ Poem


Inside Job

– Composed on the occasion of the release of the 9/11 conspiracy theory documentary Tight Resistance

The doc shocks; its evidence
is as disturbing as its claim: 9/11
was not an inside job. Bush could not
have known X. The CIA could not
have orchestrated Y. The “terrorists” were not
actors working from a script by Z (a rumoured
Oscar winner) and doctored by other
Hollywood A-listers. Tight Resistance

mounts a new founding alphabet
to articulate the tragedy, multiple broken
alphabets, really, a sort of conspiratorial
Babel, since none of the new facts
add up to a total tongue. Yet this patois
that is part science, part myth, part
insane speculation, still disturbs
the infantile hum, the pre-linguistic
grrrrr of our hate for a government
we found guilty of plotting to tear down
the towers the day the towers fell.
The plenary of popular opinion is now
as fragmented as the guerrilla ads that
preceded Tight Resistance’s release,
the “9/11 was NOT an inside job” stickers
slapped on newspaper boxes and the portraits
of Bin Laden stenciled throughout cities
nationwide, framed by the questions, “Patsy?

Really?” The battle over whose truth is
true is a deafening static. This inert,
resounding noise — the editorials and tweets
and barroom shouting matches and petitions
and ruined family dinners — is an airless
mountaintop crossed with a crushing
flood. And subsumed by this storming roar
we can miss the caterpillar the Tight Resistance
controversy cocoons into the butterfly
of a subtler, more elegant, though no less

disturbing truth: all jobs are inside jobs.
They are perpetrated by insiders who long
to draw us into the control of their hope.
Every shepherd is a fence-building wrangler.
The universe has no edge. We are all
inside Job, the perpetually punished believer
that is our world. He endures the depths
like some great, aged fish in which we in our
massed huddling — our mast-less ship
rocking on this inner-sea of bile and debris —
brawl in the fog. We cherish the light
that flashes briefly when the immense
beast surfaces and its jaws part
to deliver even more inside.

Daniel Scott Tysdal is the ReLit Award-winning author of three books of poetry, the poetry textbook The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems (Oxford University Press) and the TEDx talk, Everything You Need to Write a Poem (and How It Can Save a Life). Tysdal’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry, Best Canadian Poetry, Best Canadian Essays, and The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, and has earned him a number of honours, including the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Award and honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough. More:

Inside Job
appeared in CAROUSEL 35 (2015) — buy it here

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