National Poetry Month, Day 15: “Persona Ficta” by Jena Osman


Jena Osman’s The Network was the Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection for November, 2010. You can read Brian Spears’s essay on why he chose the book here and the Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Osman here

Persona Ficta

a corporation is to a person as a person is to a machine
    amicus curiae we know them as good and bad, they too are sheep and goats
    ventriloquizing the ghostly fiction.

a corporation is to a body as a body is to a puppet
    putting it in caricature, if there are natural persons then there are those who are
    not that, buying candidates. there are those who are strong on the ground and
    then weak in the air. weight shifts to the left leg while the prone hand sets down;
    the propaganda arm extends, turns the left shoulder straight forward.

a corporation is to an individual as an individual is to an uncanny valley
    the separation of individual wills from collective wills, magic words. they create
    an eminent body that is different from their own selves. reach over with the open
    palm of the left and force to the right while pamphlets disengage.

a corporation has convictions as a person has mechanical parts
    making a hash of this statute, the state is a body. Dobson Hobson and Jobson
    are masquerading under an alias. push off with the right foot, and at the same
    time step forward with the left foot. Childlike voice complements visual cues and
    contributes to cuteness factor of the contestational robot.

a corporation has likes and dislikes as a body has shareholders
    stare decisis the spectral then showed himself for what he was, a blotch to public
    discourse. the right foot is immediately brought forward. the body flattens
    toward the deck rather than leap into the air. it is not a hop. subversive literature

a corporation gives birth as a natural human births profit margins
    some really weird interpretations fully panoplied for war, a myth. torso breaks
    slightly forward. the hand is not entirely supine, but sloping from the thumb
    about thirty degrees. Head rotation and sonar sensing technologies are employed
    to create believable movement, while allowing for only the most limited

a corporation has an ethusiasm for ethical behavior as a creature has economic
interests only.
    facial challenges. this person which is not a human being. not a physical
    personality of mankind. the arm opposite the lead leg exaggerates the forward
    thrust of a normal arm swing, but not to an uncomfortable degree. Custom built
    from aluminum stock.

a corporation is we the people as a person is a cog
    a funny kind of thing, naïve shareholders. where there is property there is no
    personality. take off in full stride. lead leg exaggerates the knee lift of a normal
    stride. cordless microphones, remote control systems, hidden tape recorders.

a corporation has a conscience as a body has a human likeness
    forceful lily; so difficult to tell the two apart. paralyze the wheels of industry. an
    insatiable monster, soulless and conscienceless, a fund.

a corporation says hey I’m talking to you, as an individual speaks through a
    they wear a scarlet letter that says “C” rejecting a century of history. the strong
    over the weak. better armed. supernatural. richer. more numerous. these are the

a corporation admires you from afar and then has the guts to approach you and ask
    you for your number, as a being activates a cognitive mechanism for selecting mates
    it is a nightmare that Congress endorsed. mega-corporation as human group, the
    realm of hypothesis.

a corporation warms the bed and wraps its arms around you and just wants to
spoon as a natural human wants to organize profits
    it’s overbroad, a glittering generality, a fiction to justify the power of the strong
    invented by prophets of force. there were narrower paths to incorporeal rights.

a corporation has upstanding character as a body has photorealistic texture.
    the absorptive powers of some prehistoric sponge. there are good fictions and
    bad fictions. can the fiction ever disappear?

Jena Osman

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →