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  • R.M. Haines

About "Dysnomia"

Dysnomia is a micro-chapbook of 11 pages. It is a chaotic collage of fragments from late-2019/early-2020. Some historical references are objectively connected to that period, while others found their way into the poem through loose association. The name itself has a variety of references: the ancient Greek goddess of lawlessness; a moon of the dwarf planet Eris (goddess of strife); and a kind of aphasia. This fusion of law(lessness), strife, and damaged speech was essential to the poem’s conception.


Throughout the poem, I’ve quoted from the letter Donald Trump wrote to Nancy Pelosi in December 2019 during his first impeachment trial—a document at once comical and full of sadistic, oedipal rage. Additionally, I draw on the testimony of Dr. James Mitchell, the psychologist hired by the CIA (along with Bruce Jessen) to develop quasi-legal “enhanced techniques” for interrogation (i.e. torture). In January of 2020, Mitchell took the stand at Guantánamo, sharing the courtroom with the man he personally waterboarded, Khalid Shaikh Mohammad. Also coloring the poem’s atmosphere in its time of composition were the continual revelations about the death of Jeffrey Epstein and the extent of his influence and impunity. All three figures—Trump, Mitchell, and Epstein—are woven throughout the poems alongside various other allusions and quotations (some direct, others heavily altered or even invented).


Below you can find samples from the book. If you would like to read the entire thing, please you may purchase a chapbook here. Now accepting pre-orders with plans to ship starting on April 4th.




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