1.At a certain distance, it looks like a poem.

2.Transliterated, maybe, from the Arabic.

3.Short lined.

4.Short lived.

5.At a certain distance, it reads beautifully.

6.What its authors cultivate is anesthetic distance.

7.Don’t think wrecked, think Brecht.

8.Warfare is the theater of detachments.

9.At a certain distance, an angry emperor becomes a god.

10.Distances are more certain now, thanks to satellites.

11.From the desert here to the desert there: 7252.86 miles.

12.At a certain distance, wing lights look like stars.

13.Cars look like Hot Wheels.

14.A human body looks like the stick figure in a game of Hangman.

15.We guess and fill in the blank of each letter.

16.When we make mistakes, line by line we construct the hanged man.

17.The hanged man represents the guesser.

18.The word in question may remain unknown at the end of the game.

19.The word can be a thing or a place.

20.Or a name.

21.At a certain distance, a kill list could be any kind of list.


23.Things to Do.

24.Top Ten.


26.When hanging a man, any distance between his body and the earth will suffice.

27.Just so long as he cannot touch the ground by extending his feet.

28.Like a thief on tiptoe stealing into airspace.

29.The list is a poetic device much favored by the American poet Whitman.

30.Whitman was the first to establish that a body can be sung electric.

31.American prisons promptly switched to the electric chair.

32.This gave way in some states to the lethal injection.

33.Apparently physicians wanted a piece of the execution business.

34.At a certain distance, it looked like vaccination.

35.In the same way two thousand volts looked like an orgasm.

36.Or a seizure.

37.Seizures, too, are of various kinds.

38.Drugs can be seized at the border.

39.Fugitives can be seized in motel rooms.

40.By the collar, or failing that, the throat.

41.Moments, too, can be seized.

42.I seized this one, for example, to prepare a kill list in the form of a poem.

43.A kill list, like a poem, bears the signature of its compiler at the bottom.

44.After its lines are revised away, that one name will remain.

45.Your eye, scanning from above, will focus on it.

46.You will make certain assumptions about my ethnicity, my religion, my politics.

47.At a certain distance, I admit, I do look like an Arab.

48.Your pupils will constrict, like a predator’s faced with a penlight.

49.I have been waiting here for you, on the floor of this room.

50.As-salamu alaykum.