Fragments, Christmas 2011
We encounter the same difficulty with all physical statements
in which the conception “simultaneous” plays a part. –Albert Einstein, from Relativity, 1916
Two points pose a body of reference on a rigid plane.
The evening hums like snow, gray slate clouds,
marshy-crisp whiff. It is cold, but not cold enough.
It is rain.
Cocoa is a stout stream that travels to my belly
along the vector of this cold house. I know, though,
that a cigarette does not warm a body, no matter
how many drags one takes or tiny spheres it burns,
such heat is always unconvincing, whatever scars.
Love is gone, wind-swept.
I’ve been burned, haven’t you? There are general
and special theories about pain, there are relatives,
although I am alone in the house, speculating
on time-space. I’m trying to fathom if I’m missing
something, a thing that the world holds dear,
a cartoon or film, a commercial of happiness.
I wander the aisles, pluck at ample shelves,
but make no purchase. I clutch a burnt heap
of floating ash, trotting behind like a puppy
dressed in old dolls’ clothes. When I think hard
about it, I see time as light, the constant “c” speeding
from objects of light to objects of darkness. We
don’t feel the spinning or revolution of the earth.
How amazing is that?
But I’m hiding behind a scrim: do I belong
here? Am I a special case of relativity?
Ah, nothing could have prepared me
for this barefoot walk atop a white picket fence.
Wanting is gone, unwanted.
The trick is to empty the mind of time and space,
or perhaps it is to have faith in what I am doing in this place,
offer this cynic’s face in a perfect illusion of kindness,
consent to the difficulty of straying at a point
of endless departure as couples walk by bearing
infants in snugglies on their chests.
I am not the train, I am the embankment.
No one knows my body better than my only son
who counted on it for sustenance those months
inside my most interior, and even now,
he knows things about time that I cannot know
or refuse to know, but I do know this:
My heart is failing.
Now go with me into the day, the night, the end,
the dawn, whatever. I am old and tired of theories
that prove false. There is no point in drawing
all the coordinates, I stray around the borders,
trying to see the points that make up a line,
knowing that in the curve of space, none of this,
not even time, exists.