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Here’s a Stephen Crane poem in its entirety, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:

 

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
****
Three things strike me, fifty years after I first read, and was enamored with, this poem. Third, the Universe is conversing with the man as if the man were NOT part of Herself. Perhaps the man feels lonely and he has codified his loneliness, and sense of rejection, into this imagined conversation.
Second, She has a voice. How does She speak? Does She implant thoughts in the man’s head, does She make air vibrate, or did She employ corporeal form à la Dr. Strange’s odd compadre Eternity, who resides in the universe of Marvel Comics? Or is the man imagining it all?
But first and foremost, the man addresses the Universe as “Sir.” I think he is wrong to do so. The Universe is forever gestating, creating phenomena without end. And all of Her creations are still in Her womb, for She IS the womb.
So, playfully-or-not, I reboot Crane’s notion, thus:
Gary Said to the Universe
Gary said to the Universe,
“Ma’am, I exist!”
Here is some proof:
20191223_064417
I finished that just this morning. And here are some vessels, Ma’am, made from your very own clay:
20191217_182750
Ma’am, I just want to say I’m grateful to be here.
And ask you: Did God make you?”
“Yes, we are,” replied the Universe.
“As to your question,
We can but reply
‘Here we are.'”
“I don’t understand,” I answered.
“You cannot understand,” She replied.
End of reboot, except to say
I’m neither believer nor atheist,
And this is Exhibit A.

Jamie Dedes is alive, though she was given but two years to live in a prognosis delivered before the end of the last century. She credits her son and “an extraordinary medical team” for her continued existence. Though I don’t know her well–I don’t even know how many syllables are in her last name, much less how to pronounce it–I would venture to add that Moxie also has something to it.

For she has Moxie in abundance. She cares enough about poetry and its practitioners to have created and maintained an outstanding resource-blog called THE POET BY DAY, which connects poets via showcased poet exemplars, essays, links to items of interest to poets, her own poems, and on Wednesdays, those springboarding challenges known as prompts, which are invitations to write about a specific thing, or on a certain theme, or some other limiting, focusing factor.

And it was a week ago Wednesday that I responded to one such prompt. This one:

Write a poem, a fiction or a creative nonfiction piece telling us how you envision a feminine God or about the feminine side of God.  What might S/he be like?  Does/would such a view change the way you feel about yourself and the world? Would it change the world? How? You don’t need to believe in God or in a feminine aspect of God. This is an exercise in imagination not faith. Have fun with the exercise and if you feel comfortable, share the piece or the link to the piece below so that we might all enjoy.

For some reason this prompt struck a chord and got me going. I don’t know if there is a Supreme Being. I have certain feelings but I don’t trust them, being a rationalizer and wishful-thinker. A much more intelligent man than I am, Stephen Hawking, envisions a cosmology that, in the words of Carl Sagan in his introduction to Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, gives “nothing for a Creator to do.” In other words, Hawking’s universe has no need for a Creator.

But if there IS a Supreme Being, it makes sense to me, since the Supreme Being brought us all to be, that since that Being birthed us all, that She be a mother. And so I took a weird word from a conspiracy theory about our 44th President, Barack Obama, for a title, and was off to the races imagining God as Mom:

*****

birther

o god
thou residest betwixt r and t

god s be thy name
birther of us all
mixmistress of galaxies
crecher of clusters
ovulatrix of ylem

thy mother’s care is in the dew
thy admonishment is in the don’t
and when we want to play in the woods of reckless fun
thou respondest “we’ll see”
which almost always means “fat chance”

thy human smartalecks speak of heat death
it is merely a pause
in thy menopause
and soon thou’lt bake us cosmic cookies again

thanks for Ever
y
Thing,
maman

*****

Sure was fun to write, and oddly, bouncily, spiritually uplifting. Things just seemed to naturally occur: the Heat Death of the Universe resonates with the “hot flash” of menopause–hey how bout that, menoPAUSE–perhaps prelusive of the Big Crunch and the next Bang–and double up on “baking us cosmic cookies” with us being some of the cosmic cookies She bakes–and Everything with the y, possibly the Spanish “and,” joining Ever and Thing–and the French word for Mama, maman, slightly hinting at both “amen” and “ma MAN.” Wrote it first, realized it later. Could it be that She helped? Fun to think so.

I posted “birther” in the Comments section of Jamie’s post, and she replied that she loved it and wanted to include it in her following-Tuesday post. I happily agreed, and supplied a photo and my poet’s curriculum vitae at her request. She published my and three other poets’ responses to her prompt last Tuesday, and I was proud and happy enough to be in such august company that I put a link to her post on my Facebook Timeline.

As fate would have it, the next day was Jamie’s Birthday, and it was there I learned about her “Sixty-seven Years on the Razor’s Edge.” You can too, and I think you should. Here is a link: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56465423/posts/1350565805

One thing I’d left out of my poet’s biography was the fact that my specialty is Acrostic poetry, i.e. poems where the first and/or last and/or midstream letters of the poem form words. In my gratitude to Jamie, and wanting to show off a little of this weird skill, I composed and illustrated a birthday acrostic for her, thus:

jamie-dedes-02222017

Here are the words of what may be the first birthday-occasion, acrostic, limerickal, end-words-all-rhyme-or-nearly-so poem in human history:

Jamaica may thrill, undenied,
And Nawlins is burstful with pride;
MARVEL at, though, who’s hied
In the clouds with her stride,
Energetically shifting the tides.

Thanks again, Jamie, for Ever y Thing!

Incongruous scale has been used by artists from time immemorial to a few hours ago, when a place mat was enlarged beyond easy belief and put inside the orbit of the moon of a gas giant. The intention in this case is transportation away from Earthly, and human, concerns.

Spectral Sanctums

Surface and its tension are at times strange bedfellows
Placematting of orbital proportions and sensoria
Engendered for oblique kinaesthesia foster alien nation
Crucial to a viewpoint less anthropocentric
Tension and its surfaces disconnect intellect
Rationed rashness rekindles much adieu
ALtogetherness will bring us optimal pessimisms

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One of the proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem in our high school geometry book was the single word BEHOLD! and three checkerboard-patterned rectangles forming a right triangle in the negative space they created. One checkerboard was a 3×3, one a 4×4, and one a 5×5; and, indeed, 9 plus 16 equals 25.

To prove the non-existence of Doodle Logic is impossible. No matter how random the doodle is, the doodler brings SOMETHING to the table, if the doodler is a human being. Any computer program will necessarily have code that imposes rules.

Perhaps our local Universe is the ultimate doodle.

Cosmos Combos

C: configures space&time: speed of light is C
Oscillations play the temp–atoms dance allegro
Silver’s born in nova’s cosh…pressured, stars go Boom
Matters dark & otherwise; Womb to Zoom to Tomb
Off on hyperbolic jaunts! Conic secs by Lego
Seen through a galactic lens, we are but debris

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