Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Tower

There are no more uncontacted tribes. The eyes of Google Earth peer at this planet from all directions. There is nowhere you can hide. No more than fifty meters below the forest canopy, so intensly peered at by our satellite arrays. There is no point escaping; there are no more uncontacted tribes. I think this, astride the roof of a bank's office tower, gleaming white in its tiny fringed border with the Outer Dark. There are no more pseudo-human spaces. All falls into this very human center. A center pulsing with a common heartbeat, a burbling waterfall from the darkness of the jungle--earlier: from the rarified air of a mountaintop.

(Consider the raindrop which landed exactly on the dividing line between the watersheds of two rivers running in opposite directions. How it was parted... when again, in the tumult of earth's hydrological cycles, will it be reconstituted? And here, consider the famous story from Plato's Symposium about the origin of love. Yes... there is a song about it.)

No-one is the savior they'd like to be. Everyone seems to get ground down. In this world of constant reference to the humans, with satellites watching over us and beaming our outstreaming signals back down to us, we are growing more and more closed. Frotiers crumble, wash out, fade to gray, bleed their colours away. All that's left is a few archipelagos, thousands of kilometers from the nearst land. And here I was, peering down at its rift valleys, labeling, beaming knowledge and striving, all the wanderlust of years and years of pent-up desire, back to this most remote of places. Even the polare regions have been taken in by our cameras, one last time before they disappear. Even the clouds have become our playthings. The skies are scraped, or they are overcome by satellites. Space debris rings the Earth and Moon. Gaia is enveloped by Uranus, swating in his sponing grasp. All that remains the beating rage of the Sun. We may not hae ringed it with a Dyson Sphere, but we may.

What's worse? The looming distruction of this self-contained technocratic society, or its eventual triumph, and crass "humanization: of All? Our towers are rising. If all is light, then they too will cumble. If heavy, then the tower is just the beginning.

Maybe there's a mixture of lightness and heaviness? Is that where freedom resides? Where space resides? And the interface where space becomes place?

Consider: "And for her eyes: what could such eyes do there / But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair?"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

City Poem (Part II)

A Meditation on the Hotel Waverly

I’m haunted,
impatient for enlightenment.

So say the
chalk marks on the blackboard.

The snow blows off a rooftop,
in the whistle of the wind’s
world-lines, lines of tendons, feet
hanging off the edge—a sink
full of day-old oatmeal
or vomit.

Faces come—
an eye on the wall,
face-lines, the gentle curve of cheekbone
and the curl of blue hair
crumbling into chalk marks on the blackboard.

Faces come—
atavistic: the beefy salt of the Earth
bitterness from when I was pierced
wanting to get better,
peering from this place out into
loose space, trying
desperately to open up some view
of world-lines by eating nothing,
hitting my head into the wall
were the wall-eye proclaims:

The snow blows off a rooftop;
world-lines in wind-lines. And
cause precedes effect,
precedes effect
precedes effect—
as arrows and lines drawn
by chalk on a blackboard.

Consider: "Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same."