Jibade-Khalil Huffman is the author of two books of poems, 19 Names For Our Band (Fence Books, 2008) and James Brown Is Dead (Future Plan and Program/Project Row Houses, 2011). He has exhibited and performed works of art and writing at MoMA/P.S. 1, The Museum of Arts and Design, Eighth Veil Gallery (Los Angeles) and the Tank in New York City. Huffman was educated at Bard College and Brown University.

Image credit: Huffman, Floating City, from “Monster Island Czar,” slide projection, 2010

 

An excerpt from “Eight Hours Are Not A Day”

 

The city was out of money. Everyone had run out of money so they sold space on the recording on the subway. When you came into the station the voice would say you’d arrived at Fourteenth Street and that there were two Churches Chickens on or near that stop or that there was a Foot Locker right there in the station.

 

Everyone was out of weed so they pooled their money and sent their friend to Vermont to see his guy.

 

I’d gone into a coma. I woke up a month later, having neglected my duties at the agency, where my office was now occupied by all the boxes for the files on Atlantis. I said to Henry, I said “What the fuck, Henry?” He was wearing the same shirt and tie he always wore but I told him he looked different.

 

“You were gone so Jarvis had us put the boxes for the Atlantis.”

 

“So, what if I go home and how about then I give you the rest of the day to get this out of my office?”

 

“He wasn’t expecting you back. He said you would have wanted it that way.” “Do you know what the first thing I said when I woke up? I said ‘get me Jarvis.’ Before I said anything else.”

 

Henry started telling me what I’d missed while I was away, that the consensus was to involve the boss in a kind of mutiny, to oust him from power, to make him aware of what we were capable. I had come back at the perfect time, to join them and to use my contacts in the feds and with local law enforcement to arrange for this and so many other kinds of insubordination.

 

It was the future of erogenous zones, our waiting for the rain, our becoming disappointed and moving on to other activities. It was the year they ran out of names for hurricanes, so they hired Jarvis— disgraced and by then some months into his being relocated to Florida—to make things up, so that now we have “Everyone,” “Some of Them,” “Prudence” and “You.”