After some shredding, you wake at IKEA.
Eschatology continues to be pleasant, if confusing.
You spread instructions on the floor. It doesn’t matter
if it’s this year or the next, the blue sky
is full of virus. Thought,
Wendell Berry once said, has
no material existence. But here’s a thought
that lifts the arm. Here’s a thought
that rotates the hand entirely like a screw.
Breathing Speer and sauroids, da Vinci, someone’s
coding on water. The cloud’s a server
near Ganga Vertica, bright umbrellas of a shop.
At the strip club, the Turing test baby-talks a turbine
into spinning up again. So, for awhile, it’s better.
Then, not so much. There are no ethics,
only aesthetic choices, long
-duration accidents : basin
and range, democracy, Pantone’s
color of the year : Living coral.
When Accelerando hands skinny jeans an 8-track
of Tangerine Dream for the office gift exchange,
everyone laughs but it’s kind of nervous.
Mountains stand there. The Allen wrenches!
You put them in a bag the Singularity will covet
because it’s the nature of the mutopian
that there are too many tools to actually care.
But there they are, like phosphorescent phage
blinking en masse though failing
to confuse the predator.
What becomes a symbol begins a thing : baleen
harpooned, hauled and guttered, drained
to wet this wick he burned to paint this lamp.
Nightsoil heaped about the thorny bushes of some patron,
some gouty merchant by the sea, whose mistress
knifed a rose to droop along the table’s edge, slabbed ledger
of seasons, harbor, former oak, her lips and hips sweet-thick with trade.
The lemon bartered for a bolt, it glows too, peel
a bitter spiral dolloped with some lensy drops, theaters of tiny bent light.
You, beside this scene and the older crucifix, think
another spiky Christ pretty much nails it :
The Dark Ages sucked, their epilogue too : lice
and shitty teeth, clocks in squares, plague, stained
glass instead of science, no bikes. But they knew
better at least one technic : how to stroke
some shine from those empty skulls, how to let black
holes pop like grottos to stop you.
Christopher Cokinos's poetry collection The Underneath won the New American Press Poetry Prize and was published last year. With Julie Swarstad Johnson, he is co-editor of Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in October 2020. He's had recent prose and poetry in Dark Mountain and Scientific American. He's happily observing the Moon through his telescope and writing about it in a nonfiction manuscript. His article on the science and exploration of lunar ice is forthcoming in Sky & Telescope. He's not on social media so he can't tweet this, but he encourages readers to support 8can'twait and the National Association of Black Journalists.