April 14, 2007

The general theory of paradox and entanglement, by Ken Belford

My first marriage was a closed curve
and together we traveled into the past,
wasting time. Time passes more slowly
at the bottom of a well. We could not be
brought together. Today I went back
in time and deleted my old love poems,
and kept my past and present separate,
between the knower and the known,
and remembered when time was passing
and nothing was happening.

The accumulated reader paradox states
whenever multitudes of poetry tourists wish
to attend a reading, the poets of quietude say
there are no such readers, no such love.

When the past collapses, and things seem
too late, and we think first love never happened,
when it seems nothing in the past is real, then
we know there is no paradox in reading from
back to front when we open a book of poems.

Not machines, but faster than light,
poems allow for time travel, but it is
only possible to go as far back in the past
as remembering we could never exist,
even though everything is possible.

The meter of a poem is consistent and
can never be changed because one does
not have full control of the poem.

New poems can be copies of old ones
with changes caused by time, and any event
that changes a line, creates a new one.
New poems are flexible and subject to change
but published poems are change resistant.

A small change in a published poem
will alter the immediate future, whereas
a large change in a known poem will
alter the distant future. The date of
an unpublished poem is easily changed
because the lines are fluid.

Attempts to travel into the past
to change a poem are possible, provided
the changes do not interfere with the present,
but the poet should know there is no possibility
of returning to the present to witness the change.

As soon as one attempts to write a poem,
one undergoes time travel. This is
the McKinnon effect. If poets write stories,
readers encounter slippage, which prevents them
from reaching the end of the poem. This is
the Budde effect. A poet who travels into
the past to change his Grandfather poem
is snapped back into the present the moment
the lines are changed. This is the Bowering effect.

Poem’s Left-headed Leave

prosthetics of thought wrought
in post-op—the reconstruction zone

Poem is in dense
clothing, the weight warm
as the lab coats lead him out
to the white white van.

the measure thrown
off and despite that phantom
limb they keep saying how
great everything is
and how about those canucks . . .

the turns taken from the writing
when form colludes to lift
agency from the page, when
the bureaucracy of the text takes over

Poem the automaton cranes his neck to see
what was missed, where they are taking him,
where the cut will be deepest,
why ‘will’ is just the future tense . . .

a minor death, authenticity,
when all the charts say it
must be so

the hospital air is sucked
dry of germs and
expectation of anything else

Poem is under
a thick anesthetic and this
produces a new age of art.

where the advocates? where
are the warriors? a hum-like
dirge is all that we hear

Poem does not make it—
asphyxiates in transit—
and is pronounced 2:13 a.m.

gas sniffing

the whole continent
bagged and burning
nostrils flared in danger

out back, exhaust pipe
lit by a low orange sun,
the boys lean on their pick-ups
and talk about girls

jobs across the mountains,
across those creatures made
numerical by distance, elevation,
the logistics of pipeline placement

the motorhand maintains the mud
pumps and seizes
the moment to smoke

for miles the plume
turns eyes: a show, a residue
an imprint dug up later
to tell us where we’ve been