The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.
P R A E S I D I U M
A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis
9.2 (Spring 2009)
Parallel universe or
warp-speed transit to
alternate galaxy or time-machine dial set
alien touchdown taking captives…
n’importe oú hors du monde.
They killed the poets.
You would otherwise wield many
subjunctives and conditionals
prophecy auspice omen
in your daily search for daylight
“If may… then might…” “were it…
it would…” How many light years
in a metaphor? If I write
(should may might write—for why
write it now, post-poetry?)
“Blonde sun, chill spring tide—
March tide, birth-season’s watery march—
blue flaking over azalea shoals
where precocious children smell philosophy
as their mates chase and play,
I swam downward, backward,
trapped her under white dogwood coral, a
movement too gold-blonde for sun and
not flower enough for fish,
touched her as I never had when we were
children (I precocious, she
playing) and asked but could not say
(under water thick with years)
why, why, why, why… and she
would have seen once in her lifetime,
my lifetime… me.
had this been time of life,
Had life been death and this real time.”
If I say, were I to say, what
might just split such and such an
image superimposed on another
like two atoms under a particle beam
and fuse, shock wave settling, a
metaphor… would I not have traversed
more cosmo-plasma than you, Mr. Einstein?
For you cannot transport me back.
Were you to worm-hole me back to
childhood, I should be a child, and she
a blonde child, and my words
awaiting me a man to be found
too late. So I should gain
Nothing thereby, though I shuttle from primal soup
to red shift bled out. For I need
her then to see me now. I need
her now to see my now is then,
was then, will be now. I need
all over again, but without the loss
of a single blonde hair, and a vast gain
of words, words, words. I need
flowering chances to speak. I need
the courage to speak of one having lived.
But you killed the poets,
in a way. You absorbed them
in neutron stars and split chronons and
other seductive chalk-scribbled poetry.
I can travel twice the rate of light
and double half back if I can split & patch
the words just right, the things
which are not themselves till you make them
half not themselves. Or I could
before your number-serenades seduced us. Now
we look Out There again, like blunt Cro-Magnons
who look for men in the stars, who
expect to see a god walking, to
track him from the deep, fresh prints,
and to ask him for her
in so many words.
Should she flinch, they will lace
their sinewed fingers through her sun-spun hair.
I cannot reach my there from your here.
You do not understand, Mr. Einstime, Mr. Weisenstein.
You are too dull. Your numbers
will not make words, and make only words
that will not pry open and compress
the universe. Which is what I need.
What’s an equation in the subjunctive?
Where can I find myself young and wise?