Wednesday 5 November 2014

2 Poems by James Grabill

No One Lives Alone

Because the past and future leave little room for the present, money can end up spending its people on a few thrills in Monaco. Hypnotized by the roar from the empty stadium, autonomous money in the present can be looking from a car window at medieval man.

But then not many who’ve opened a slow front door could take a next step without carrying along everyone who had a hand in making the door, without walking into the wind with everyone they have known or descended from.

Because ignorance has been so damn hungry for what it doesn’t know, it follows what might pop up, going where anger leads, barking up a nearby tree, fighting a next war as if it were the last.

Lonely and unnatural reasons must exist when possible pasts and futures that envelope the present are mailing it out instantaneously to request donations to preserve waterways or charismatic mammals, to assist the impoverished or underfunded public education, as the present ice face slips faster into the sea.


Mouse and man share 99% genetic similarity - including the genes to make a tail.
75% of our genetic make-up is the same as a pumpkin - 57% the same as a cabbage.

                                                                              - The Human Genome

            First there was nothing going on for so long it would have been forever. Nothing would have been there. and yet not, not even nothing.

It couldn’t have been the point of universal silence, when the whole audience looks up and sees nothing. It couldn’t have been an era when silence was deafening.

            With nothing aglow, not even a vast absence of anything, what followed seems to have been an impossible bone-roaring burst of decimation flushing all chords through sieves at all points beyond semblance, scouring out space for matter.

            So there was nothing that could but couldn’t have been, from which ultra-solar irrepressible incinerations many scales of ten brighter than blinding light erupted in a flash splashing through every nuclear pore.

When this slipped into lower gear growling out groans of shrill contrabass it must have been, cataclysmic foundations shattered into raw spectra. Deathly collisions of full-frontal concentrates reacted so hot as to never cool off through orbiting that insinuates and proves it exists.

            Nuclear gaseous clouds of nativity soon enough proved more vast than the mind stretches, while spinning unthinkably beyond that.

Left with the question of who anyone thinks we are alongside black ants and the hexagonal fervor of honeybees, the mind achieving autonomy like a fish in water tends to forget its own conditions, the matter with which it interdepends.

The severity and quickness of subsequent birthing appear to have flooded vastness with mirrors that electrically arc between fractal immensity and the largely unnoticed infinitesimal in molecular blazes of common genome.


Since the ‘70s, James Grabill’s poems have appeared in periodicals such as Harvard Review, Terrain, Seneca Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Urthona (UK), Shenandoah, The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), East West Journal, and The Common Review. His books include An Indigo Scent after the Rain and Poem Rising Out of the Earth. He teaches "systems thinking" relative to sustainability.

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