word-poem://quark

I regret to inform you 

there is no silence. Placed in an anechoic chamber,
your pulse drums. The quietest place in Boston
is the scholarly Athenæm library—for members only.

I learn the physics of stillness on a radio talk-show: black holes
fall into black holes. I think I know something about that.
Why I forever long for absence, the veiled poetics of physicists,
how the word quark (from a passage in Finnegan’s Wake)
comes in six flavors: up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top.

It’s the background hum
I listen for, the gravitational sounds—like a jungle
that deprive the universe of silence. In space, where there is no air,
particles are busy smashing against other particles,
rubbing legs together, a swishy song, dress rubs against slip,
the absent sound between successive ocean waves,
as you wait for the next whoosh, the in-between frame of silence.

There is none actually. Decibels can be recorded
at minus levels; zero decibels is simply the typical threshold
of the standard human ear. Deafness does not prove silence
anymore than sightlessness proves darkness. There are sounds
we can’t hear, particles we can’t see, so much more
is unperceived than perceived. We are a species of sensory utensils
that only serve to limit the fidelity of reality.

Moreover: there is a proposed fifth force, postulated
but never situated in time/space.

 

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7 Responses to word-poem://quark

  1. Miriam says:

    Just lovely. That space between sounds. The stillness after the bird cries. The unperceived. You describe it all so well I can actually feel/sense what isn’t there, or maybe it is all there?

  2. redmitten says:

    this poem covers much of what happens to me in between my thoughts. a friend of mine wondered when he was six, what was between one and two (teacher said: nothing) and so he was compelled to determine what all did exist between one and two: everything.

    and the same with existence, and sound and sight. and so on. beauty has little to do with vision.

    more importantly: that proposed fifth force is why i write poetry, why i blog, why i read/search the words of others, wondering if they know it is there as well. so yes, this is really something to come across in your blog. thank you.

  3. Mary says:

    Hey, this is better than the one at the Sphere!

  4. Mary says:

    So is this a revision, or the original? Where’s the first, and where’s the latest?!? Why not post your revisions at the Sphere???

    • This is the original. I try to write and post a poem as often as I can and anything that is new will get posted here first. I guess I must have played with it before posting it on the Sphere, and I’ve been working on a revision since I got comments, but I actually forgot to look back at the original here. I was pleased/surprised that you thought this version was better, now I’ll have to go back to the Sphere and see what I changed to make it worse! Unfortunately, I don’t have a good system for keeping track of revisions.

  5. Mary says:

    I’m comparing this one with the one at the Sphere, and I can’t find any revisions I’d keep. I’d go with this one, the original, and I can’t see anything I’d change except to cut the last two stanzas. Your use of space (in many senses) in this one is really good, and the title and first stanza are magic!

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