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We are all born of the far-flung debris

Of ancient lights that have gone from the night.

We and the trees, the rocks and the soil:

All brothers brewed in a cosmic cauldron.

 

We race our way along the expanse in

A seething tempest, too huge to be seen;

Strewn wide like seeds through the boundless reaches

And reunited by gravity’s hand.

 

There is no free will, only gravity.

Boundless, soulless, relentless gravity.

The cold-hard compulsion of chemistry.

All things are foregone; pointless, closed and fixed.

 

All will end lightless, scattered through the void

Or in the bellies of the great dragons

Upon which all of the galaxies wheel.

All was planned in the musings of atoms,

 

All of us doomed before time’s inception;

All questions are answered simply:  Because…

Sightless we scramble about in the dark,

Inertia’s shadow ever gaining ground.

 

Blotting the sun out, then the stars in turn,

And bleeding the heat from our sweat-soaked skins

Which shiver and quake for want of a flame.

How easy it is, insulated by

 

A few feet of earth once entropy comes,

Hunting like a shark through the depths of time.

Hear them bay, the dogs of the Wild Hunt,

Rabid with pleasure we may never know.

 

 

NGC 3324

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Planets

A Jest from the Speechless Caravan

 

(To the man who sold me the Brooklyn Bridge)

 

“Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft

A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,

Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,

A jest falls from the speechless caravan.”

                                        —Heart Crane

 

Raucous prophet of piston and steam,

Of lusty, symphonic gear and wheel;

Steeping the night in jackhammer dreams,

Why not the Bifrost road to Brooklyn?

Did water alone remain to love?

Did gravity weigh ostentatious?

Sad pilgrim of circular passage,

Seduced to the water nymph’s lethal

Kiss, honored laurite of the deep;

All is upon transformation’s edge.

Flesh surrenders to endurance but

What purpose is midwived in the deed?

What could be so congenial as

A bridge builder sipping at coffee

On the banks of an unspanned river?

The stones still grow, if tamed to the leash,

Trained to stark, right-angle discipline

And bent to the purpose of commerce.

Rivet and girder are bodied at

Least, things that speak to the nerves of skin;

Even the haunting cold is something.

I’ve never known a world not metal,

The elder gods of wood and leaf, all

Of them banished before my tenure.

Bard of apocalypse, bound in iron;

Our weary engine, it seizes and

Starts—seizes and starts—seizes and starts.

M

 

At right-angles to our little

Waking world,

Dimensionless dancers,

Plying your dervish trade

In the shadowed

Lightless reaches of the

Miniscule.

The windows and doors here

So slight as to bar

The photon’s behemoth girth.

It is good to find

Your priests so pious,

Making their peace

At last with the Gravity Lords.

Bringing your realms to

A solid banker’s dozen

Bought you

Needed room to wiggle,

To say nothing of resolving your

Embarrassment of riches;

Exchanging your

Clumsy and vulgar pantheon

For a majestic,

And singular divinity.

King of the Gods

 

A bloody stain amid pastel bands,

A grave wound for the king of the gods.

A murderous eye, gazing in rage

Across vast and icy distances;

Both unblinking and unforgiving.

Lord of all storms, raging for ages,

Anger eternally fed by winds

Which race untroubled, unimpeded

By mountain, forest or tugging tide.

H

 

Take the humble hydrogen atom:

The smeared orbit of its lone sentry

Making a shell of the nothingness;

Weaving solids out of illusion.

First-born child of Mother Night, so

Ready to sacrifice itself that

It might purchase the photon’s freedom,

Emboldening the capricious sprite

To brave the void in search of an eye.

The Dragon

 

A Dragon dwells in the heart of the wood,

Destroyer of worlds and eater of suns.

The monarchs dancing across the skies

And the noble lords that follow;

The things which slither, the things that stride,

The things that swim and the things that fly:

Cloud and star, the light of reason,

All the atmosphere of heaven

Adorns the Great Wyrm’s table.

Lead

The gunfighters raised their own pantheon
Of martyrs and saints up to the heavens,
It was the grave alone that could place them
Firmly beyond the reach of challengers
And all their blood-thirsty aspirations.

Their tortured headstones riddled with vein
Pot-marks of bitter grapes from later comers.
Living practitioners were but touchstones,
Their cold professional blood a prized ink
For others to scribe their eager names in.

Those heady days, buried with Marshal Erp;
No more would big hats and righteous anger
Excuse the exchange of lead in the street.
People seem to find it less cute these days,
Now only the cops get away with it.

                          * * *

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