Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Cloud

Feeling a little bit blue and a lot tired since my trip to Japan

[Did I mention to the reader that I was going to Japan? Probably not. I had a wonderful time. It was lovely to see Takaaki and spend two weeks with him. He is not sure what to make of the 26 page poem I wrote about him. I think he might be embarrassed I love him so much. Tough cheese, I say. C’est la vie.]

I have been spending the last few evenings at home watching
Doctor Who. There is an episode in Season 4 where The Doctor’s arch-nemesis, the Daleks, abduct the Earth and several other planets (including Adipose III) in order to use them to power a great engine which will extinguish all light—all life—in this universe—and all dimensions beyond. All life, that is, except the Daleks, who will reign in the ensuing darkness supreme.

Of course, the Doctor manages to defeat the Daleks—or, maybe, set-back the Daleks, since the powers of darkness are never quite defeated. The Doctor returns the Earth to its proper place in space and time, using his time machine,
The Tardis, but not before delivering the idea for a poem to me.

The alien force which follows here, in my poem, is not malevolent or intelligent: it is simply a thick cloud of interstellar gas
the solar system runs into one day—a natural disaster. Feel free to substitute your own nebulous menace, if you find mine inadequate. These are relatively abundant in the Cosmos, I understand: a problem for one civilization, the end of the world for another.

Isn’t that always the way?

The Nebulous Menace

Astronomers had seen it first. They could
do nothing but track it when it arrived,
eating at the constellations. Man
was not to be informed. He was. The void

grew visible—ink spilled among the stars—
with nothing there to soak it up: no
blotting paper—no salvation. God,
there goes Orion—Betelgeuse—all gone

beyond the small, bright corpuscle of Mars.
(Mars has a few more months to shine, you see.)
That's where my sister works, Bradbury
Weather Station on Olympus Mons:

counting devils in the peach twilight,
rusty, dusty devils dancing on
the edge of night. Good for asparagus
she says—the soils of Mars. She built a bed

beneath the dome she calls her home. She
harvested a hundred spears this spring—
as Jupiter went out. She didn’t know
what Earth expected her to do. To shout?

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