Issue 170, Summer 2004
The Camp Counselor, After One Summer's
These are the same stairs, unnoticed, essential,
submerged in shadow bath; and that is the same
queen's-blood carpet, embracing the floor and chairs
in a sprawl of affection. The same immortal room,
month after year and decade after lifetime
(boiled in memory if demolished in structure),
home to shifting summer crowds and swelling now,
now with delirious grins and squealing cries
from an Athens of children. Plump cheeks flushed,
scant necks damp, for the sweltering throb of
rushing seas and dozing shores (another ache,
gold-green, saline) floats through all four portals,
canceled blazing white by July. Beyond the
blind screen hills tumble away, the shade of
caterpillars and moss, revived by the sudden
scarlet wings of laughter, joy folding and unfolding.
I will never tell them I had replaced their songs
with a novel's drone; and I will never confess that
the only hand I had touched was coarse, curious, and
gone with the pool water. That cloister of somber pink
is buried by five miles, forgotten already in the
steady flash of concrete and brick, the glint of spires,
the tapestry of silhouettes racing through liquid light.
This is the same current of longing; only I did not realize
that it turned ever inward, alpha and omega at this banister,
these swimming stairs. The secret of all we are meant to be
hums in the sweat and the shrieks, the old faces and new loves
that will rise and dissolve in the blazing white
on the tails of a penultimate breeze.
Initiation of the QuantumNet, Earth #51CHilbert Subspace ΣΩς Luncheon [Black ruff required]
My friends, before we wheel
out the most staggering invention of all time
and the desserts, I feel it apropos
to quote that ancient poet,
Democritus, prophetic man of rhyme,
who coughed, "What kingdoms atoms will reveal,"
just breaths before he died. Cry
or question? Another world might know;
we'll shoot the query out in parallel
in the spirit of Mr. A. Graham Bell
—I see him laughing in the front row—
whose first call crossed Sam Morse's party line.
How fortunate that electrophysicae
has swelled in forty years! How crude
our fathers were to think the masters odd:
the Einstein triplets—"God
hits jackpots thrice"—and wily Dr. Freud,
who deciphered scraps of scribbles lodged in hay
on Newton's farm. With pebble-count
surviving since the Roman Otto-Greeks,
it baffles modern memory that until
Schrodinger, Adam Smith still
claimed empirical wisdom at its peak;
the "invisible hand" tugged us toward the ground.
But now, I see, before the cherries melt,
I must conclude and yield to this device of
ages' labor, this confounding key
to the squirming paths in starred infinity.
—Yet mind the words of Rev. Nabokov:
"Action without conscience unlocks hell."