Lost Letters

Sinn Blwch Rappel
8428 Rue de la Frontière
Estcourt Station, Maine 04741

November 3, 2017

D

earest friend,

The erasure of cursive from the pedagogic strategies of core curriculum signals a loss in the culture, a fork towards the information age. Art, in the form of elaborate, thoughtful letters such as those of John and Abigail fossilize before us into petroglyphs like trilobites from the Cambrian explosion. Extant messages know not the dipped quill from the inkwell, the measured meditations scribed on parchment under the flicker of candlelight, for now, electrons snuff out the tapers of yesteryears and speed instant thought from geocentric orbits as light skips along the aether. Does it matter, dear friend, in a world where change is the only constant, the uncertainty of quantum mechanics creeping into every facet of foundation: maybe ?

The loops and swirls repeated ad nauseum on ruled newsprint paper until the death of the hand in cramping paralysis, regarded at the time as pointless exercise, have indeed been deemed just so, a waste of the scholastic time allotted, time better purposed by grounding the student in education geared for the cog-less machinery of the digital future, so: keyboarding. The solid earth on which one tottled forward on in insouciant surety proves to be riddled with limestone caverns and shifts underfoot. Has my brief time been wasted in groundwork unfounded ? The binary code sweeps away such expertise as quaint calligraphic messaging and multiplicative grid rote into the ash-heap of the obsolete.

Unfailingly yours,

Sinn Blwch Rappel

P.S. The frames of the flipbook shuffle by so quickly that my eyes water from the ruffled air.

RedBoxPlainSm
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After Striving

q2l

I

    think of my father’s one-room woodshop,
how his business sign eventually blew over
beside apple trees and blueberry bushes.

At church, men would ask, Staying busy?
He hated that question, and kept adding logs
to the stove and sanding doors.

There was a time I’d stare at the grass in September
and not think about the push mower.

When work is over, I find his skin. His hips
metronome while rinsing plates like it’s joy
he’s practicing. We relearn simple math like dance,
because how long have we been striving
and what has work numbed?

q2r

Corrie Lynn White

RedBoxPlainSm
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Journey: AfterLife

EyeHorus

A     golden boy
with forty-nine amulets
and ochroid mask;

from nested coffins
travels to the afterlife,
the feet sandaled white;

steps from sarcophagus.
The way perilous,
the fronded body shielded

by cartonnage,
he begins to recite
the verses across auric

tongue, before the heart
silenced by a blond scarab
is judged ’gainst feather.

The knot of Isis
loosens, and the boy looks
into the eye of Horus.

RedBoxPlainSm
*[ WSB ].

* : This Is America Armed to the Teeth.

GunBoy

Scenes of agony and horror all too familiar
—in ’merica.
Ten mass shootings a week.

Firearm injuries:
leading cause of death among people
< 24 in the United States.

2015 through 2020: at least 2,070 unintentional shootings
by children under 18 in the US:
765 deaths and 1,366 injuries.

Firearm deaths over the past three decades—
a total of more than 1 million lives lost since 1990.

A burden unequal.
Homicide rate among young Black men:
142 homicide deaths for every 100,000 Black men ages 20 to 24—
10 times higher than the overall rate.

There are about 393 million privately owned firearms in the US:
120 guns for every 100 Americans.
—No other nation has more civilian guns than people.

mass shooting —
at least four people are shot,
excluding the f[     ]g shooter.

Remember, we’re alone.
It does not have to be this way.
Laws to curb gun deaths in other countries achieved significant results.

Australia.
Less than two weeks after Australia’s worst mass shooting,
the federal government banned rapid-fire rifles/shotguns, and unified gun licensing/registration.
Gun deaths in Australia fell by more than 50%.

The government’s 1997 buyback program—
led to an average drop in firearm suicide rates of 74%.

South Africa.
Gun-related deaths almost halved over a 10-year-period after
the Firearms Control Act of 2000.
Much more difficult to obtain a firearm.

Britain.
Tightened its gun laws and banned most private handgun ownership
after a mass shooting in 1996, a move that saw
gun deaths drop by almost a quarter over a decade.

But America’s gun culture is a global outlier.
For now, and for how long,
must the deadly cycle of violence continue?

: What about all the gunless cold, dead hands?

* Versification | “Three weeks and 39 mass shootings. This is America in 2023.” Paul LeBlanc/CNN

RedBoxPlainSm
*[ WSB ].

*YouTube Reaction | Ashleigh Burton: “2001”

MonolithM

I     ain’t about to drink peas.
Ashleigh contains multitudes.

Just a black screen,
the [Music] makes me nervous.
Magnificent, the planets and the sun.
The Dawn of Man;
too quiet; I don’t like it.
Oh my God, are those ant eaters?
I just don’t feel like they’re real:
never seen one.

That reaction is appropriate: touch it—
what’s the worst that can happen?

So thus, the first tool was made: a hammer,
tool and weapon;
that’s why the anteaters are falling over dead.
Kill, beat his ass: survival of the fittest—
the internal monologue.

Cohesive notes in harmony,
the offices from all angles—
a beautiful little landing dance.
You are cleared through voice print identification
we have face ID.

Oh my God! I love those chairs!

I’m sorry sweetheart but I can’t.
Why not?
Daddy is in outer space.
What is a bush baby?
I’m just on my way up to Clavius,
and I definitely know what they’re talking about.

Why wear these ridiculous looking caps
and not find some extra-hold hairspray?

The astronaut suits in this movie look like HVAC pipe.
I never thought I’d be scared of a metal slab
jabbed in the ground.

To be a singer for this soundtrack, could you imagine
just going in a booth, and the director saying:
moan—like a lament.

Getting a workout sideways.
I don’t like a computer saying they’re conscious.
Do you believe that Hal has genuine emotions?
Good question.
Of course, he’s programmed that way
to make it easier for us to talk to him.
Why is this starting to really stress me out?

O listen! If the smartest computer is worried about it,
I’m worried about it.
Concerned that the computer was faking genuine concern,
and I fell for it.

I would not survive a long-term space mission,
or a short-term one for that matter.
The close-up of the little red dot of HAL really stresses me out.
It’s puzzling.
Running cross-checking routines to determine reliability of this conclusion;
Hal caught in a lie.

I wish I’d known there is an intermission.

Stop looking at me, I feel the red eyeball on me.
If Hal’s in charge of keeping those people hibernated,
there’s nothing stopping him from killing all three of those people;

I could never exist in silence.

Open the pod bay doors please HAL
You don’t really have remorse.
Will you stop Dave?
Why is this so unsettling to me.
I’m afraid.
No you’re not, you can’t feel emotions.
No it’s not Dave, you gotta focus,
you gotta focus.
I can feel it
good I hope it hurts.
Oh my God, HAL saying I can feel it over and over again.
And he taught me to sing a song;
No thanks, don’t want to hear it,
sorry no.

Good day gentlemen.
Whose voice is that?
Four million year old black monolith
deliberately buried neath the lunar surface
. . .
[Music] Only have 30 more minutes left;
everybody’s dead except Dave;
he just found out that he’s headed to life on Jupiter
to find out why this monolith is monolithing.

I guess just because he’s the smartest computer;
he didn’t want human error to ruin the mission;
he trusted himself more than he trusted his teammates;
you know, I get that.

[Lightshow]
Cuts back to Bowman,
I just want to stay on the lights.
I don’t like his face being scared.
Oh this one’s nice: this is what it feels like the inside of a lava lamp.
The Kubrick stare: through the eyebrows;
Jack Nicholson did it in The Shining;
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday.

How the hell you end up in this room?
what makes this movie so unsettling?
Not in a scary way, uncomfortable.
The monolith, the blackness.
Black rectangle, then symbolically the big bang,
and the monkeys, pre-human,
and then BOOM, monolith.
And then the discovery of weapons,
and then BOOM,
fast forward: space travel, get to the moon,
BOOM: monolith.
The third one about Jupiter,
the last thing:

the unknown force moves everything along.

*versification: script: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1CL-GYq_3M&t=601s :
Ashleigh Burton.

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The Grasslands

| fifteener |

GrassPurple

Grass carpets continents one fifth the blueprints current the drift
in naps: tropical, temperate, and tundra; flooded, zeric
and montane; grasslands various didst spread to end Cretaceous
—sundry graminoids dotted by sedge, rushed to the forest edge—
[buffalo, blue brush, red oat; purple needle, lemon, and Rhodes]
the drumming hooves heard mutually, with the upping of herbs.
Lo the buffalo ruffled low, snuffling clumps from undersnow,
tallgrass in loess and till, nitrogen from the urine spilled;
bands of pronghorns, prairie-born, munch scrub until the white rump warns.
And grassy-sand springboks prong, and lope shrubland in harem throngs,
while the tommie gazelles sail through shimmer of wildebeest trails,
and galloping Great Steppes, pangaré takhis with buzzcut necks.
Forsooth. Cranes wade swamp blades, as sharp-tooth gators slide Everglades.
Beyond the fence the moocows moo, grazing green pastures like gnu
blue numbers on savanna midst brays of wavering zĕbra.

RedBoxPlainSm
*[ WSB ].

The Forest Road

q2l

T

he forest road,
The infinite straight road stretching away
World without end: the breathless road between the walls
Of the black listening trees: the hushed, grey road
Beyond the window that you shut to-night
Crying that you would look at it by day—
There is a shadow there that sings and calls
But not for you. Oh! hidden eyes that plead in sleep
Against the lonely dark, if I could touch the fear
And leave it kissed away on quiet lids—
If I could hush these hands that are half-awake,
Groping for me in sleep I could go free.
I wish that God would take them out of mine
And fold them like the wings of frightened birds
Shot cruelly down, but fluttering into quietness so soon.
Broken, forgotten things; there is no grief for them in the green Spring
When the new birds fly back to the old trees.
But it shall not be so with you. I will look back. I wish I knew that God would
       stand

Smiling and looking down on you when morning comes,
To hold you, when you wake, closer than I,
So gently though: and not with famished lips or hungry arms:
He does not hurt the frailest, dearest things
As we do in the dark. See, dear, your hair—
I must unloose this hair that sleeps and dreams
About my face, and clings like the brown weed
To drowned, delivered things, tossed by the tired sea
Back to the beaches. Oh! your hair! If you had lain
A long time dead on the rough, glistening ledge
Of some black cliff, forgotten by the tide,
The raving winds would tear, the dripping brine would rust away
Fold after fold of all the loveliness
That wraps you round, and makes you, lying here,
The passionate fragrance that the roses are.
But death would spare the glory of your head
In the long sweetness of the hair that does not die:
The spray would leap to it in every storm,
The scent of the unsilenced sea would linger on
In these dark waves, and round the silence that was you—
Only the nesting gulls would hear—but there would still be whispers in your
       hair;

Keep them for me; keep them for me. What is this singing on the road
That makes all other music like the music in a dream—
Dumb to the dancing and the marching feet; you know, in dreams, you see
Old pipers playing that you cannot hear,
And ghostly drums that only seem to beat. This seems to climb:
Is it the music of a larger place? It makes our room too small: it is like a stair,
A calling stair that climbs up to a smile you scarcely see,
Dim, but so waited for; and you know what a smile is, how it calls,
How if I smiled you always ran to me.
Now you must sleep forgetfully, as children do.
There is a Spirit sits by us in sleep
Nearer than those who walk with us in the bright day.
I think he has a tranquil, saving face: I think he came
Straight from the hills: he may have suffered there in time gone by,
And once, from those forsaken heights, looked down,
Lonely himself, on all the lonely sorrows of the earth.
It is his kingdom—Sleep. If I could leave you there—
If, without waking you, I could get up and reach the door—!
We used to go together.—Shut, scared eyes,
Poor, desolate, desperate hands, it is not I
Who thrust you off. No, take your hands away—
I cannot strike your lonely hands. Yes, I have struck your heart,
It did not come so near. Then lie you there
Dear and wild heart behind this quivering snow
With two red stains on it: and I will strike and tear
Mine out, and scatter it to yours. Oh! throbbing dust,
You that were life, our little wind-blown hearts!
                              The road! the road!
There is a shadow there: I see my soul,
I hear my soul, singing among the trees!

q2r

Charlotte Mew

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Motion is Relative

Earth+Moon

| fourteener |

Race toward the Western rim and the sun will rise again;
faster: gravity and day will fall behind the raw night
comprised of billions of bygone days darkened by distance —
circadian clocks tick to the calculus of motion.
The Earth with debonair tilt waltzes the changeable moon,
unsettled in unbalance from an impingent outset;
day and night, and the wheel of the seasons offer context.
The grand, seeming quietness of galaxies swirl in space-
time, the fabric unfurled quicker and quicker by darkness
from a quantum source of infinite turmoil, uncertain.
Meaning exists in eddies at the edges of chaos
where sentience manages to emerge from the looking-glass
particles, a floodplain stasis after a white-water
onslaught from a furious spring into cosmic offshoots.

RedBoxPlainSm
*[ WSB ].

Rollercoaster

| treader|

Rollercoaster

Relentlessly chain clinking to the coaster’s apex,
tightening the gut in preparation for the plunge
when the grapnels of gravity slingshot the thrill ride
headlong toward the singularity in the void,
centered in the starkness of chaos huggermugger
ever waiting the wheels to roll slower to a crawl,
an end like the beginning of the climb to the prime
at the precipice of the tallest parabola:
a bittersweet moment teetering with potential
for g-force helixes and hairpins and barreling
over tracks of amplitude in adrenaline rush;
realizing however, from the start of the ride
that mechanical friction dooms all machines to stall.

RedBoxPlainSm
*[ WSB ].