Not This Sun

February 10, 2010

Late style is what happens when art does not abdicate its rights in favor of reality.
—Edward Said

There, we did it again. We ate the sun.
This time at 5: 23, pm—standard time,
but later than yesterday, wintertime.
The trick is, of course, to surround it, first,
With clouds, and second, pierce its light—drag it
To earth where it belongs—where the dogs
Can go fetch…

For this sun is a private sun, of course,
Not the big major domo of the sky.
It’s not, you know, part of the origins,
Not by a long shot. Ergo,
There’s nothing metaphysical about
Its light, no metaphor in its shadow.
The horizon is your friend, my friend,
That’s all. The day, sub specie aeternitatis
understood as such—will remain in place.

And sub rosa: for now, we are the earth—
The very earth that speaks across the eons,
The earth that speaks to distant planets
With similar plans for similar suns.
We are like hungry children,
The hungry boys who pause and wait.
The ice and snow will come, you know—
And they know it too.

So it’s possible that every night the sun
Is left bereft, left grieving for its own
Demise. It’s possible that its essence
Is tragedy, that the sun must live its own
Destruction and live it every day.
Who knows, it’s even possible the sun
Feels his lack of siblings, of children, parents—
The empty cosmos, no friends or neighbors,
No kids to play with, no boss, co-workers,
A maiden aunt, cousins in Virginia,
A pen pal in China, no book club or
A bowling night with the guys…
Just the solar wind for comfort—
And for a cold comfort, at that.

Of course, it’s also possible the sun’s
True scope is one of extreme regeneration,
That the ne plus ultra, the Real’s alpha
And omega, so to speak, can be charted
In such a way that time
Itself is left immaculate and left
—how shall I say?—
Left supererogatory, left,
As it were, in the lurch, an epiphenomenon.
You can think of time, then, as the sugar
The sun sprinkles on the planets. Think of light as
The sun’s addiction. The sun: the pusher:
The planets: the original dependency:
You buying any of this?

It seems we must come back to earth—and soon—
For it’s almost dawn here on Long Island.
It’s still silent, still night, the ground is hard
And we expect some snow tonight. Enough
To turn the landscape back into its winter pall.
The question is, though, if a flake-by-flake
Progression remains in the cards, will this
Result in movement or a silent freeze?
Will it parse time, make it visible, or stop it?
Heat death or blaze of glory? It could happen,
You know. Time could run out. The kids will have
Their sleds poised all night at the top of Granite Hill,
—that’s a given—
And so—sub rosa—it just might trip the wire.
Their freeze equates post hoc ergo propter hoc—
Thus it may be the moment when the freeze
Sets in, the real one where nothing can move—
And nothing does. That real dawn, here at last—
Stock-still, static, a complete stasis—
Sub specie aeternitatis. Amen.

But suppose we get the other deal? The one
Where after centuries, where, after all
The uncertainty, the sun does finally
Condescend to speak: descends to speak
—Good Ol’ Silver-tongued Sol, here at last—
Like Puff, the Magic Dragon, right?—suppose
He comes to visit, knocks at the back door,
Comes round and sits on the front porch…
Real neighborly like. Holy-Moly,
Is this the end we want? A puff from that
Dragon and we’re cinders.
Do we really want the sun on our porch,
And in our kitchens, stewing in our pots,
Helping to flush the damn toilet?
Sub specie aeternitatis: I think not.
Sub rosa: No, not this time, not this sun—

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