Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The weight of winter

In which we m-c-square ourselves

So I was thinking about gravity. This is why English majors shouldn't watch movies about famous physicists. We don't know enough about quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity to make any sense about it. What we think about is if gravity shut off and we all started floating, I would hope I was not in my car or in a building, I would want to be outside and float up in the sky and breath for just a little while, until all the air floated away too. Or until I froze. I would see all the earth below and the sky above and it would be awesome. But of course this tangent is terribly imagined. For one the (disappearing) atmosphere would be way too crowded for this to be any fun, since everything would be floating away and it would be like a big bad game of bumper pool. All the things. And here's another thing, it's a confession. Before I wrote this I looked up about what would happen if gravity turned off and it's heavy stuff, all about the flattening of the universe and the space-time continuum would be all spaced and out of time. And there's something about a scalar field, I have no clue, but it's like the fabric of the universe is variable. All that knowledge seems too great a weight for one's imagination, the theory of everything like a stealthy, sneaky black hole sucking my floaty fantasy down it, proving that Wingardium Leviosa is more fun than turning off the G field, and why winter-afternoon daydreams shouldn't be muddied up with equations. You go, Aunt Marge.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A thin blue sky

In which we are blown away

It snowed off and on all day, gusty, white-out ghosts that scared people into staying home. People meaning me. But I didn’t want to write about that weather, for it was the over-the-top, blizzardy excess kind of meteorology the Weather Channel describes best. No, it was the next day after the front had blown past and we had to leave the house, forced to confront the elements full-face to the wind, that got me thinking somebody should write about it. We took the back roads through the country, the ones that cut through miles of flat Indiana snow-buried farm fields devoid of color, intersected by the dark lines of wind-rows. All that winter white, that absence of color, that blurring of detail. But brilliant in the early afternoon sun, snow like drifted galaxies. And it was cold, witch’s-tit cold, quick-frozen-jeans cold, numb-your-nose cold, outer-space cold. It was outer-space clear, too, the blue above us a thin and brittle illusion between the universe and us, as we drove down County Line Road on a Sunday afternoon. There didn’t seem to be much in the way between the stars and me, just that skin of blue and some sunshine. If I wasn’t in the car, if I were out in the field, maybe the wind would catch me like a snowflake and I’d end up in a constellation somewhere. Or maybe I’d melt in the thermosphere, somewhere above Arcola.  What a weird place, I thought, what a weird, weird place to feel at one with the universe.

Inspired by Carl Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot.'

Centuries are what it meant to me / A cemetery where I marry the sea / Stranger things could never change my mind / I've got to take it on the otherside

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Where are you, Beatrice?

In which we walk on

At work there's this storage room they let us walk laps in. I think perhaps I've found the fifth level of hell, where the wrathful and the sullen are housed. Here find the sullen, slouching toward nowhere in this dim and dingy space filled with office detritus. Twenty-three laps make a mile, twenty minutes you'll never get back. It's a hard place in which to lose one's self, for the route demands attention with its short straight-aways, quick corners, and occasional co-worker. So no matter how loud the music in your ears, or how hard you ponder your in-box or your evening or world peace, you're always here, right here, in this claustrophobic circle putting one foot in front of the other. Where are you, Beatrice, when we need you?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lunar paranoia

A thin and forgettable Thursday night. On the other side of the window a two-nights-past full moon rises over Fort Wayne and stares at me. I tried to take a picture -- three times, with two different camera apps -- but conditions were not favorable and even our low standards of artistry were not met. Thought about watching TV but that requires a measure of concentration that's not available at the present time. Paid a bill. Played Trivia Crack. Drank white wine. Read a bad book. Jumped between playlists on Spotify. Thought about rewriting a bad blog post I found yesterday, then couldn't find it today. Gave up. Watched YouTube videos. Gave up.

The moon's still there; I think it's judging me. Decided to depend instead of late-night TV and country-music stars.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


In which we shiver

If I were going to write a poem about winter -- which I'm not -- I'd call it 'The Cold Death' and you can bet it would not be about sleigh bells and the infinite variety of snowflakes. The dark is worse than the cold and the cold is -- well, you already read the prospective title. Winter is a recidivist criminal that keeps trying to kill us, welding insidious weapons: the cold that creeps into us, ice that paralyzes us, snow that suffocates us. Night that clings to day. I quoted the wrong part of that Mark Strand poem yesterday, it's this part, about the cold death, that we can't forget this snowy day
And if it happens that you cannot / go on or turn back / and you find yourself / where you will be at the end, / tell yourself / in that final flowing of cold through your limbs / that you love what you are.  [Lines for Winter]