Sunday, May 8, 2011

Let My Freak Flag Fly

Mother's Day means I get all the real grated parmesan cheese I want on the pasta, and that I can get up in the middle of dinner and add some lines to a poem.


I always read while I brush my hair.
It keeps my mind off the pain. I used to cry
When my mother used to brush it,
So she started taking me to the Navy-base barber,
Along with my brother, to get it all cut off.
"Pixie cut," they called it. I looked more like
My great-aunt's skinny chihuahua, shivering
After a dip in the deep end of the pool.
(Oh, for heaven's sake,
Yes, let the record also show that
My mother had five children and a job,
And found time to sew our clothes
And matching Barbie-doll outfits
And crossed the border to Tijuana
To get us the prettiest birthday pinatas.
The fault is not with her, but with me,
For never being cute enough
To carry off short hair.)
I am reading, or trying to read
"Annals of Science" in the New Yorker:
"Dream Machine: The mind-expanding world of quantum computing."
I never took math or science past 10th grade.
My mind leaps to the easy part:
Play with the words, think about sex,
Wonder what this science might tell me about love.
I learn that like a poem (you saw that coming)
No one can really say
What a quantum computer is good for.

We are sweating in your apartment
Over a canvas so large it fills the floor.
You have just moved in, and there's no furniture.
You are trying to show me how to draw
A perfect circle, using a string and a pencil and a pin.
The cord knots up on itself and the canvas
Wrinkles and I give up, tell you,
"I can do it, I can draw it freehand."
And I do. The circle becomes the sun.

My solipsism is not a closed circle;
I am open to new experience.
If I am only just bright enough to learn through my senses,
I would pray you admit that there may be
More of these than five, and I (and those like me)
Might understand in ways we don't yet understand.
I live by language, and today I find myself
In another world, where pronouns
Are entirely ambiguous. Who are you?

I read: "a brilliant and distressingly thin physicist"
And I feel my hands pressing for (and not finding)
The place in your shoulders where the pain hides.
I read: "The fabric of reality" and I see my hands
Slipping under your shirt. I read: "Quantum mechanics
States that particles can be in two places at once"
And I see the faces in the firelight, and those
Sleeping at home. I read: "two particles can be related,
Or 'entangled,' such that they can instantly
Coordinate their properties, regardless of their distance
In space or time," and I remember staring
Into your eyes, and starting to cry
Without knowing why.

"Einstein found entanglement
Particularly troubling,
Denigrating it as
'Spooky action
At a distance,'
A telling phrase,
Which consciously echoed
The seventeenth-century
Disparagement of gravity."

1 comment:

mark said...

They say there's a Law of Gravity, but just like Bugs Bunny, I never studied law.