Close Observation Especially of One Under Suspicion

Mary Jo Bang


If they want to listen in, I'm happy to allow anyone to overhear a flustered or tormented I talking to the other half of my divided self, as if anyone could indict me better. What particulars might capture the excoriating character of the complicated psyche? Someone once said, you—you?—know the body is the site of subjection when the state prints I see all as a motto in indelible ink on its money. Is closely observed the same thing as surveillance. If not, in what ways does surveillance differ from simply being watched. Does it matter that the state is doing the watching. Do you care about the ne


The home-made video showed windows. The camera moved too fast to capture people turning on lights or turning off their minds. Some are asleep. It's night now. When I can't turn my mind off and need to sleep I take a pill until my mind is a pure nothing. The metal cars have all gone. No more reverb. Only a mark where a machine once leaked. Only a deserted walkway leading to a door. The mailbox empty. No mailman in sight. As if the whole world was a lavish myth. When I wake the cars are back in their slots and there's the reek of wa


Where am I, I wondered? A blue light was bouncing against one wall and an edge of the ceiling, which made no sense since the blinds were shut. One of the dresser drawers was pulled out. There was a pile of clothes lying on the floor below it, as if someone had rummaged through the drawer and then fled. I found myself wondering whether there might be ghosts but felt ridiculous for even wondering. And yet, ther


Really, he said, they can listen in. You don't mind? I asked. He said there has always been an Emperor, only the name changes over time. I thought of the eerie feeling I'd felt in the hotel room, waking that time to find things had been practica


Suddenly you realize, people have been listening to you. You, an open mouth in the middle, plus a shadow that stops the sun and now the shadow is alive inside you. They can see it when you open. Your closed mind won't counteract what is coming up. Counteract: to oppose and obliterate the effect of. No, annihilate. You know what that means. To extinguish. To turn off the light. To turn from one thing into a nothing a