Listen to this poem by pressing the play button above.
bus stop effigy
bus stop effigy
to move from one
rat hole to the next
stop on the line
with only ends
puffy down coat
fire in the gut
winter air hides
The thermodynamic arrow of time has always interested me, both as a concept and a phrase. I wrote this syllabic poem last year, my first such attempt. Thanks to Huw Price for allowing me to use the epigram.
Image courtesy of Rush W. Dozier, Codes of Evolution – the Synaptic language Language revealing the Secrets of Matter, Life, and Thought, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1992.
William Can’t Tell
Late in the nineteenth century, on the shoulders of Maxwell, Boltzmann and many lesser giants, physicists saw that there is a deep puzzle behind the familiar phenomena described by the new science of thermodynamics. On the one hand, many such phenomena show a striking temporal bias. They are common in one temporal orientation, but rare or non-existent in reverse. On the other hand, the underlying laws of mechanics show no such temporal preference. If they allow a process in one direction, they also allow its temporal mirror image. Hence the puzzle: if the laws are so even-handed, why are the phenomema themselves so one-sided? — Huw Price, from The Thermodynamic Arrow: Puzzles and Pseudo-Puzzles
chaos does not lessen
along the arrowâ€™s path
and time cannot be measured
by order or its absence
the arrow flies forever
no pressure no resistance
beneath the lives of every
woman, man and baby
throughout this blind creation
there is no bow, no hunter
no target, no intention
A poem about seeing my biological father and grandmother for the first time in 30 years.
Sixty-Seven Unopened Videocassettes
Thirty years and fifty percent of my DNA
have brought me to a double-wide with a steep driveway,
tucked away in an enclave of trailers not far from the iron banks of the Ohio River.
She asks me to call her “nanna” because all the children do.
He’s missing most of his teeth — waiting for a new set of dentures.
I have no hook on which to hang this porch conversation,
this three-decade history lesson and game of tag.
So we talk about tobacco farming, long-haul trucking,
and spying on the Russians from within a cigar tube deep beneath the Mediterranean.
I learn about great-uncles and great-aunts and an extra uncle,
only to learn that money and land and other tragedies have driven wedges into this family, too.
I want to walk into the dining room like Antwone Fisher,
but the table is given over to Charlie Brown and Linus —
Christmas decorations awaiting transfer to their holiday destination.
There are sixty-seven unopened Star Trek videocassettes,
a bathroom crammed with history books,
lighters from the Navy,
a robe almost like the one I wear,
and an old shaving cup with a worn brush.
No matter what happens, I’ve erased the most terrible vision —
awaiting the end with the moisture of regret dampening my cheeks.
“The next time you come, darlin’, we’ll have chicken and dumplings.”
in the fallow field
of the poet’s
to not press
is just that,
and fallow fields