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Protocol

August 20, 2015

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Protocol

by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

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About Kristina Marie Darling

Fjords Review, Kristina Marie Darling Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and hybrid prose. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the American Academy in Rome, as well as grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Kittredge Fund, the Ora Lerman Trust, and the Rockefeller Foundation Archive Center. She is currently working toward both a Ph.D. in English Literature at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo and an M.F.A. in Poetry at New York University.

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About John Gallaher

Fjords Review, John Gallaher John Gallaher is the author of five books of poetry, including Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (with G.C. Waldrep, 2011), and In a Landscape (2014), as well as two chapbooks, and two edited collections, The Monkey and the Wrench (with Mary Biddinger) and Time Is a Toy: the Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt (with Laura Boss). His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and elsewhere.

At the training center they’re teaching us “roll over” and “play dead.” We’d thought, beforehand, that it was one thing: “roll over and play dead,” but we knew so little back then. In “roll over,” for instance, there’s this trick to look continually harmless so as not to draw attention to oneself, but not too harmless, as that would cause one to think maybe your harmless behavior is a form of resisting. As well, “play dead” is problematic, because the protocol is to kill one twice for resisting. It’s important, therefore, to play dead in a “twice dead” way, as being dead in a singular, or a “just now dead” way could be considered resisting. Also, if one is attempting the “having done nothing” before being told to do nothing, it is important to know that this can be considered a form of resisting. Breathing, too, is also listed as a form of resisting, with the explanation that it’s performing without the express command to perform. Care should be taken, though, because performing when told to perform is also listed as a form of resisting. After having been killed, care must be taken to “roll over” and “play dead” because supposed inability to hear commands is no excuse for not obeying commands.