"Buried," "Molecular Infinity Overflows," and "Top of Three O'Clock"


Rooted ground, layered under the crush of layers
         at the edge, in the roar of summer,
         father sound gone lower down, slipped
         underground, unthreaded, so far down
         below, to the flat first stone in missing him,
         missing him heard in lifting of pitches.
Layer on layer of sea beds in cells, not losing sight 
         nor sound of his voice, what was left
         under the fallen, all the filled sacks emptied,
         the bearings gone, that left, or finally were
         taken off records with short-faced bears,
         giant ground sloths, you name it, in stacks
         and cliff sides of numbers still counting
         what beauty grew and put on the ground.
Day out of each day which has come through light
         quick as the rising and filling in cells,
         in stone, in the young or not, before the face
         going on or not, where many have been left
         and will flat out be missing their mothers
         alone, off the clock, with dusk in the muds,
         under the struck shimmering gong of winds.



Molecular Infinity Overflows

“There is never any end… There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state.”  - John Coltrane


One hand labors, while the other hand
          waits in Vajrayana repose.
Every ounce of labor works on the future.
Hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic
          vegetables assume the 18th century
          is finally, in the 2020s, outgrown.
Science has proven every person is one of us.
Where the Arctic crashes in heaving waves,
          rivers empty into vastness.
The pendulum in the grandfather’s clock
          is counting hauled-ax swings.
Indecipherable train-time belief has been lacking eyes.
Current forms of transmogrified flux out in limbo
          unfold at the maw of manatee drift.
As openly blue as the time at root-rib radiant heights,
          boilerplate propensity’s delivered whole.
The void demands complicity of upheld gasoline-flash
          stone-hungry ethereal improvisation.
Down here, molecular infinity remains already struck,
          blank-slate, in the face of no one.
One leg walks through the unwieldy city by the shops,
          while the other acts to preserve for humanity
          Titian’s oil altarpiece The Assumption of the Virgin.
Hot-head negotiations will instantaneously burst out
          of moth-vanished thermonuclear deterrence
          out of the deepest red petroglyphs around.
For a single moment will grow exponentially into a long time
          in the provinces of neuromuscular wherewithal,
          on tomographic cross-sections of loose uncertainty.
You can’t watch the night’s news without elastic numbers
          snapping back to the year which was zero.
You can’t read the latest reports without more methane
          released from undisclosed locations in the room.
The wild mushrooms themselves will decide when to crown.
The stopped hour will shatter in the big traffic tent,
          taking it down at the behest of spiders alone.
Now that we’re having ourselves a banquet, it’s time
          to recognize the mother of all herrings
          before she’s washed up with a few dolphins.
It’s time for us to care about our children’s relationships
          with books while the kids are undergoing
          training in climate-controlled fish tanks
          of austerity leaving its mark on book-learning.
For the internet which may remind us of central intelligence
          of humanity is a poor substitute for holding a copy
          close to the body, and once quantum computers
          are running, the world as we know it online
          could be overwritten, as noted in Scientific Am.
All we’d need is such a power in the hands of a compulsive
          narcissistic megalomaniac who worships himself
          knowing he’s not good enough, so he must
          distract himself by rejecting even the thought
          of right and wrong, forcing the world to comply
          with his lies about facts on the ground by promising
          to blow everyone up, along with what they know.
Following the dictator’s handbook would be only natural
          for such a deformed psyche capable of feeling
          no remorse, no compassion for others, given
          the absence of the usual inner life of a human
          with a seat in the theater of contemplation.
For the banquet now must undergo an historic reformation
          in which meat exists in the past, while vegetables
          and fruits are local components of global dishes.
The price now and in the future of disruption of the climate
          should be soundly acknowledged at every turn
          with good will to all people and other species.



Top of Three O'Clock

NOTE: The hottest place in the world today (6/29/21) is Portland, Oregon, since humans have broken the Arctic circulation we’ve relied on. The EPA notes methane’s 10% of greenhouse gases, with carbon dioxide being 80%. The climate’s warping faster than predicted, probably due in part to the rapid increase in methane. Where’s methane coming from? – [1] oil companies, [2] wildcat drilling, [3] meat farms & feed lots, [4] thawing tundra (due to the greenhouse gases already in the air), [5] landfills, [6] thawing clathrates (methane that’s always been locked down, frozen), & more. In 2 years, NASA satellites will be measuring & pinpointing leaks (as per Scientific American), but big oil companies will need to be forced by laws to control their methane output.


The biting horseflies must be dozing off
while they recharge in summer shade.
When a wave shakes over them, they’re up,
some of them, tending their wings with a foot,
scratching the wide-opening joint latches
of a mandibular process or listening vent,
washing off their futuristic face shields
while out in the flung-wide open it’s 115° F.
Maybe a horsefly still trembling from shock
was shaken awake by the strange image
of electrical night around a city transformer
at the power station throbbing under the surge
of so many fans and air conditioners turned up
high, thermostats constantly reading the air
with expanding coils, refrigerators roaring
full speed to cool, needing cooler, cooler, cold.
The blue high up in the heat-stroke air isn’t about to
stop staying there, cooler, rushing around as it acts
as a membrane over us while we cook in the shade.
Now, it’s hot the whole way down through the fabric.
This is how leaves choke or animals die, with no place
to go, as in the aftermath of a clathrate methane burst.
The sky’s the living blue theater of feeling terrified,
if you’re lost or have lost hope. If there aren’t any
more horses, what is there, what’s here on Earth?
What’s here is the current that comes down to roost.



James Grabill’s poems have appeared in numerous periodicals and online at CalibanonlineTerrainonline, The Decadent Review, and others. He wrote four books from Lynx House Press including Poem Rising Out of the Earth (Oregon Book Award, 1995), as well as Sea-Level Nerve: I & II (2014 & 2015 – Wordcraft of Oregon), Branches Shaken by Light, Reverberations of the Genome, & Schoenberg in the Troposphere (2020, 2021, & 2023 – Cyberwit, India), Eye of the Spiral (2022 – Uncollected Press), Stray Dogs & Irreversible Cars (2023 – Atmosphere Press) & others. He taught writing and global issues relative to sustainability.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, November 22, 2021 - 21:57