Staring at the End

Mostly my frame of reference is
at the edge of some yawning precipice,
open throat of the Earth,
and any spell of vertigo might send me
tumbling off into the depths.
A spinning tunnel, haunted house;
constant feel of the off-kilter pull.

We search for the end.
The end of all things, the end of times—
armed insurrection, globe seizing in its girdle, heart attack—
we’re fixated, with only chaos in the foreground and the future,
and misery or death for all.

The world either ends in cataclysm, or it doesn’t.
We want the comfort of the end, the end of man, because there exists
a crueller fate when hope does not die.

The vast swinging round of all things.

Life pushes thoughtlessly forward, the Judge:
chance-like, uncaring,
careening evolving randomness trampling
sweeps us carelessly away.

Loosely appendaged machinewheel rotating forward,
multifaceted, geared trillionfold, will win—
the chance for happiness included in the chance for anything.
Death and sickness impaled in iron fractals,
love and sex and body fluids, crying souls and laughing fools
gummed up in the lurching planetsized conglomerate
assaulting our imaginary human timeline.

We think it will hurt when things die a human death,
but there’s no empathy in the eternal progression of things.
There is no doom in reality and so no meaning of doom for us to cling to,
oblivion a human concept,
organic matter a messy sidenote in the happenstance,
combinatorial fate of the universe.

And man, in the face of it all.

Our world spins at a thousand miles an hour around its axis,
tracing endless ribbons round the sun through ever vaster space,
lost in the revolving push of our galactic spiral arm.
Our universe is prokaryote, without a center—
so there’s no order to our motion,
no true direction used to pin
the mechanism of it all.

. . .As the body heals in sleep perhaps with enough
space and silence our mental damage could recede,
and earth be still beneath us.
We could perhaps reclaim the pitied fate of humans,
or reconcile our human death, or even halt
the brutal juggernaut of the universe,
advancing, advancing.

With enough focus and quiet maybe it could all slow down,
our point of perception become the absolute reference again,
in a plane of coordinates with no axes—
in a field of merciless and incoherent energy—
calm, contented, out of time,
Descartes’ thinker, eternal upon observation,

motionless.
The center.

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1 Response to Staring at the End

  1. jejunejesuit says:

    This poem was the original version of the piece I’d written out; however, I ended up converting it into prose, which helped considerably in the editing process. Although I’d thought the imagery would be pretty different between the two, I ended up mostly sticking with the word choices I’d made with it laid out in prose.

    Here’s the other version: https://jejunejesuit.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/staring-at-the-end-prose/

    If you’d like, leave a comment and tell me which version you liked better! I think I like the poem a little more; I think it reads a little cleaner, but let me know what you think!

    Much love and hope you like it,
    Joe.

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