Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Event Horizon

Event Horizon For an Empire

(An Event Horizon: the point at which all matter and energy flow
irrevocably into a black hole, the point of no return, or, alternately,
a turning point from which reality is diverted somewhere else.)

I swim fast as rain pelts down around me
in a creek teal gray today.
Balmy wind brushes water against gravity.

I swim in the rain, kick through three, quarter-mile laps,
watch the sky create soft rain from a thunderhead small enough
to see completely, then step out determined to remain in steadfast
opposition to an Empire that eats itself and everything it touches,
determined to refuse the despair which spreads like a fire blanket
across history.

I will do one thing differently today, be more effective,
attend a protest, write a letter, boycott Middle Eastern oil and gas,
create action that joins the work millions of people generate for peace,
the environment, gender equality, social and economic justice.

If, at this instant, I see no alternative for the planet
that does not involve the end of capitalism
and can’t yet make that happen, then a break in the day,
a long swim in emerald water, a good night’s sleep,
a mellow glass of red wine, a poem --
these small things must be enough blessing to hold off despair.

I have long been interested in the difference
between one thing and another -- boundaries, the point
at which black is not black anymore, but white,
the turn of a stripe.

Was there an instant when the Age of Reason began?
I choose to resist Empire not because it has, in my lifetime,
appeared the least bit vulnerable to containment,
but because it trivializes life.

I move in the mainstream of a deep paradigm shift
and can’t see the edge.

If scale is the measure of declination, there is no difference
between one thing and another at close range, but one can see the point
of a star against the circle of space through a telescope.

Maybe someone will look back in 500 years and identify one event --
the second indictment against Tom Delay, for instance,
or hurricane Katrina --
as the event horizon of the American Empire.

Or perhaps the concept "500 years" will have no significance --

Possibly history will stop some Tuesday.

If one too many bunker busters cracks the earth apart,
there won’t be any one to ask how much change is enough.

The line of demarcation will exist but "we"
will be the event horizon for a different universe.

But, on the human plane where it is gray "now,"
meaning comes from engagement,

so I go to the post office, bank, sign a petition,
try to get some work done, light a candle for my children, resist oblivion.

©copyright, 2005, Susan Bright

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.


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* Salvador Dali


Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Brings to mind some philosphical sayings .

T.S. Elliot once said,"Teach them to care and not to care." and from Tao Te Ching ," Out of nothing comes everything" and to "Prevent trouble before it arises put things in order before they exsist."

We evidently don't pay much attention to these idealic ideas and muddle on into the noon day sun as all mad dogs and Englishmen are wont to do.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Step Back said...

It takes just 20 years (one generation) of educational neglect to bring down the American Empire. One layer of dummies votes in another layer of dummies into government.

The new, dumbed down governement then forces schools to start teaching "intelligent design" and other nonsense to the next upcoming generation.

The dumb-down snowball effect becomes an avalanche. Reversing it is hard hard work.

Event horizons may be closer than what appears in our mirrors.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel numbed down. Forcing parental absence in the home, by virtue of the economic necessity for two adults working in order to earn enough to maintain home and family, has interfered with the transmission of culture and civility. Grandmothers are missing in action, mothers are missing in toil and fathers went missing when the cleft between home and work widened. The young run wild like rogue elephants, dumbed down in neglect. Yes, education, under assault by fascists, weakened and falling like a house of cards, was the only remaining counterweight to the dumbing down. The hyped media has replaced school learnin' and the damage is manifest witness the electoral outcome of the last two elections. I'm depressed by all this, and close to dispair.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at first, I couldn't read this because of the density, then I went back and read it using the density as a flow valve and it became very enjoyable.

very nice.

8:40 AM  
Blogger SB said...

Thanks for the comments.

I thought this was perhaps too dense as a prose poem last night but was too tired to make the changes. This morning I broke it into lines and stanzas. Thanks to the readers above who forged thru the first version. A wonderful thing about this medium is that "publishing" is completely dynamic. So while the content holds density now as does the grayness of our times, the experience of reading should be a bit less labored.


9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan's words are always so powerful and on target. I have been struggling with how to keep on going on and still be hopeful in the face of the daily nightmare.

I guess - one day at a time - one moment at the time.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Sayonara Jupiter said...

you don't actually have to "boycott Middle Eastern oil and gas" as you suggest.

you could search for and buy CITGO gas, owned by Venezuela, home to the Hero of the People, Hugo Chavez.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

test on comments

11:26 AM  

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