Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Jeremiad

Such a sad little object,
Bound in black cloth on a shelf,
Closed up, signing to itself,

Maybe murmuring as well,
Albeit so quietly
Not even a bat could tell—

Little lump, invalid’s bed
And the invalid in it,
Warning, trying to warn us

Of the most apocryphal
Apocalypse, it won’t quit.
The finish it predicted

Came and went so long ago
No one believes it happened
At all, although that won’t stop

This lump from prophesying,
May even help it attract
New believers, self-convinced

The long-gone apocalypse
Still waits in the wings. The thing
With any apocalypse

Is either it came and went
Or it hasn’t happened yet.
How else would this dull object,

This black brick, this lump of coal,
This pitch-dark ink complaint
Still continue to exist?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Forest of Weeds

Once upon a time redundant,
The English word, wildwood, doubled
Etymology from the woods,
Whatever’s uncultivated.

Let’s leave wild like that, nothing more
Sophisticated, no subtler
Distinction between wild and tame,
Just whatever grows on its own

In any way not mandated,
However indirectly shaped—
In other words, frankly, feral.
Even humans can be feral,

Can half escape to the margins,
Maybe through sewers, abandoned
Structures, alleyways, vacant lots,
Maybe as far as the wildwood.

There’s no pleasure, there’s no freedom
In insecurity, no joy
In desperation, but there’s calm
Around the edges, there’s release

From people’s collective rhythms,
The pulsing traffic, tromping feet.
There’s that hour and then another
As one of the forest of weeds.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Pure Dark Matter That May Not Exist

The universe appears more curvaceous
Then all the burning suggests it should be,
So the hunt’s on to capture dark matter’s

Exact nature to explain that excess
Bentness, curviness, curling gravity.
But imagine some massless gravity,

Unmoored to matter, like an intellect
Without any need for skulls to cup it,
Like a soul that actually exists,

A ghost, words, in other words, an idea,
Meaning unmoored from information,
Somehow still holding it together.

Something is off about the cosmos,
Either since you can sense something’s off
Or something’s off about your senses.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Puddles

The hollowed dirt,
The empty earth,
Wasn’t waiting

And had nothing
Much to speak of
For a season.

Then it rained hard
For a few hours
And puddles formed.

The puddles sent
Out messengers
Of puddle life,

Of what it meant
To be water,
Exciting times

For the puddles.
Then the rain stopped
And the earth dried.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Retroactive

It’s a small device, wired
As densely as a text
By Brandon Som, switches

Packed into the blackness
Of its compact insides.
Go ahead, pick it up.

Kind of a hockey puck,
Heavier than a phone,
A solid in the hand.

Know what it does? Magic.
It makes what you do next
Affect what you did then,

What happened to you then,
Anything that happened.
So be very careful.

With the retroactive
Device clutched in your fist.
You could do something now

That undoes what you did,
Changes what you deserved.
This isn’t always good.

Hold the retroactive
While you do a good deed
Or do something selfish,

Before you check your inbox.
Ah, see you won a prize
Yesterday! No, you lost.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Pulse Oximeter

More incapacitating
Than you might think, this small clamp
Lightly squeezing one finger

With a cord trailing away
To the wall, monitoring
Pulse and oxygenation,

Canaries in your coal mine.
Measurement, information
Aimed at confining meaning

To two interpretations—
No problem here, all is well,
Or, high time to intervene.

It means you’re in hospital,
To you, and that you can’t use
That hand to make meanings much.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Breathing Space

Earth is a walled garden
And not an oasis.
Just throwing that out there.

The spaceship, oasis,
Egg, and bead metaphors
Emphasize the smallness,

The sheer isolation
Of a living planet
Tossed in the lifeless dark,

But the interactions
Within the solar winds,
The constant bombardment

Of dusty organics,
The give and take of this Earth
With all the acts of night

Seem more like the partial,
Half-measure enclosures
Of a garden with walls.

Yes, it’s rougher outside,
But inside’s not so pure,
Not so sealed off, not bound.

Some flowers might get out.
Some storms and seeds blow in.
Hunger can jump a wall.