TWO POEMS

 christopher cokinos 

Mutopia

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.

Vacant Wing

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

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.

Carbon Copy est. 2019