“If there are more than four dimensions, as many theoretical physicists now suspect, it may be interesting to speculate: a hypercraft capable of topological inversion into our spacetime continuum could indeed be larger on the inside than on the outside." Jacques Valee
Silver Spring to Phoenix
Vibrations of a cavern a mile beneath silver willows.
At two in the morning beyond the Sheraton
a lumination of pollution intercedes realism.
Cardinals and doves develop their melody
progressively caught in beat/heart echoes,
as with spelunker canaries fluting noxious gas
a small negative sign to the weary traveler,
they claw from rhododendron to palm and maple.
Stalagmometer gifts of the Emperor of Novelty
their urethane birdsuits activated by cold pinks.
Then, as if handcut from antique postcards,
three blacklight cabbages bob over suburbia.
Butterfly brains of a minute Faraday compaction
their echoes of roundness animate tomahawk rooflines.
Tri-erratic whipsaws of whispered flight --
philateletic balloons inflated by dreamy mutations.
Alien eggplants, they deign epicycloid arcs aimlessly
spaced on a fragmented landscape of trap stone and tar,
terra cotta chimney caps and aluminum antennae.
With a razed interception of alpha
the scenario splits, inordinately ghosts --
prophylatic rattle of the dead closet,
looking for a lost summer's night;
a cyclumen cantelope descends from nearby cumulus,
to engulf all anxious eyes in further repose.
The hot evening cicada call
lingering in the ear, then gone:
a turn in the dim closet
bumps the head up against the hangers,
leaving no tablet to decipher
the call, but listen, separation;
spirit from ground ruins all of us.
Beneath ionic aviary, flight home
an electric railroad pulses
screaming through concrete
it phases into doppled distant repetition --
cardinals and doves develop their melody.
The poem is an expanded reference to waking up around two o'clock in the morning in Silver Spring, Maryland, and hearing the birds singing and seeing the sky lit up bright pink and never before having had just this sort of urban experience, short of certain post adolescent chemical experiments. In the country birds usually sing when the natural sun rises. Which reminds me, I once knew a woman from a Long Island suburb who kept asking who the gardener was that had planted all the trees in our local state park.~~~
The awakening was compounded by the fact that I was sleeping in the woods without any digital alarm watch and was hoping to start a new job the next morning. Waking up early and by any natural means was personally important. Waking late at night to the urban effects of aural, luminous, and gaseous pollution was disconcerting.
At one time I drove across the United States for several days and nights without stopping, without eating very much either and eventually, again late at night and somewhere lost on a right-angle turn in Wisconsin, I came to the realization that I had not yet gone anywhere. In fact, I surmised that all my experiences, including my fleeting conversations with my hitchhiker companions, were groundless illusions. I imagined that I was still sitting at home and had simply walked into the closet and gotten lost.
The reference to Michael Faraday relates to his belief, or at least my belief that he believed, that if all accumulated universal mass were reduced to the most compact solid without any spaces or excuses, it would be the size of a chicken bullion cube.
I believe it was Baudelaire, or another of those dismal symbolist poets that wanted to be anywhere, anywhere but here.
An interesting human experience of geography is in the negative quality of forgetfulness, in short, forgetting where you are. Away traveling and awakened in a strange bed it is often easy to feel dislocated and momentarily in the dark anxious about even such simple modes of spatial reference as up and down. A quick grab of the bedclothes reassures that you are not plummeting through a terrestrial yet unknown space or zipping through a black hole where precedence of motion is chaotic in the least.
Once sleeping on a Greyhound, stuffed in the dark towards the rear, slowly approaching Lansing, Michigan, stuffed between a mass of sweat laden and snoring black Grandmother's clutching their various bags of quilting and potatoes, I forgot where I was. For a brief moment I imagined that I was bodily flying through the air, naked and alone, on a too quick descent into the brightly lit and chilly bowels of Detroit.
Though it seems easier to forget where we are than to forget our name, as once encouraged for enlightened auto therapy by Allen Ginsberg, fretting over a lapsed location may be a more demanding illusion of the self than personal identity. Forgetting where you are is more noticeable if a greater reliance is expended on grasping the particulars of a location than upon the specific identity of the item to be located.
Further Reading: Jacques Vallee, 1990, “Confrontations, A Scientist's Search for Alien Contact”, Ballantine Books: New York.
poem and narrative 1st published by the American Geographical Society, the collage is also my work