The sun is a great neurotic.
It regrets that, when its time comes,
it will be unable to go nova
and rise for months in someone else’s day.
It could not, however, abide
a white dwarf
companion sucking its substance, which novas require;
and is reconciled, barely, to becoming
a red giant, absorbing
at least some inner planets. Then what?
The option of being a black hole –
that spectacular collapse;
outliving everyone, though negatively –
attracts, yet is barred to it. So, a white dwarf
itself; in the fullness of time,
perhaps, a black one –
still envious (of neutron stars, etc.),
until the final chill.
The spots, the flares, the magnetic storms are signs
of the sun’s petulance,
like the amber borders of the leaves,
the khaki grass this summer, the sense
of a wordless demand for love, evaded, mocked.
They settle in. Testosterone
and an obvious need for decision
as to who gets top bunk, top spot
in rapes, main share of the food, etc.,
reciprocally cause each other. Plus
ideology: Aryan Christian types,
bigots, and other believers contend
for corporate spokesmanship. The few
real corporate figures who weren’t
sufficiently faceless to escape
my dragnet try to act
like regular, prayerful, duckhunting guys,
but learn that distance is the price of love.
(In another block, the women
find their own ways to hierarchalize.)
The room, initially clean enough,
soon smells the way these places do.
When I allow a meeting,
on an indestructible screen high in the wall
as a rigid golden figure like an Oscar,
they get it together, proving
the ultimate necessity of reason.
They elect a charismatic or Opus Dei
Father to follow my directions through
the wall, to my universe. When his
anathemas, prayers, impotent
violence are exhausted he remarks
that I’m as much a prisoner as they;
that unless perfect love casts out fear
there is no end short of eternity.
I tell him to preach this to his flock.
Predictably he won’t accept the point;
sees only power and a loathsome pity
sculpted into a stylized golden man.
So through that monitor the inside
of the mind like a warden watches
the outside pace and hate;
and cannot look away, and broadcasts
Tolerance and Rights and Science,
the whole dispirited reflex rosary,
to no avail. I think my charges, clients,
(masters perhaps?) are worthless
because they doubt these things;
they know I think this of them
and therefore despise me and will never
listen to anything I say, and are therefore
worthless. The mind holds them
the way a captive is held
one doesn’t know what to do with
but can’t allow to roam unsupervised
(which is why anyone is kept in hell
or, really, any of the nearer places).
Frederick Pollack © 2012