The Empirical Industrial Complex



The Empirical Industrial Complex


Science is a cash register in the department store of grace,

and I am seven cents shy of forgiveness. I absently finger

the cruddy give-a-penny-take-a-penny but it’s empty.

The clerk who smells like spirit of hartshorn glares at me

 like an alarm. There are no atheists in checkout lines.

 I fall to my knees and take out my rosary beads. Decades

later, I realize checkout lines make atheists of everyone,

atheists who believe in the handwritten scriptures of data.

I shelf the forgiveness and leave. In my car I count change.

Surely a qualification of omnipotence is existence.

How much for a letter from a childhood friend?

Surely an unidentified flying object has a rational explanation.

 How much for that feeling in your gut when you see

someone you love in their underwear?

Bad credit? No credit? No problem


Jeffrey Paggi


Jeffrey Paggi is a 40-year-old High School English teacher who lives alone in Highland, New York (although sometimes his 21-year-old son comes to visit him). His work has previously appeared in The Chronogram, Arc of a Cry, and The Cartographer Electric. In the late 2000s, he ran a poetry reading series at The Belmar in Binghamton, New York. He plays guitar in the post-punk band Cold Heaven and is currently working on a manuscript of poetry called Riverwalker

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