Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dark Matter

Originally published in Copyright © July 2015 – This Dark Matter

1 – The Opening: Breakfast

She drops the newspaper on my desk
and tells me 85%

85% of what?
I ask


She drops the newspaper on my kitchen table
and tells me 85%

Between the coffee and the half and half I have left out
and the crumbs from my toast – pumpernickel rye with butter

An article from the Wall Street Journal or some other
reputable news source

85% of what?
I ask

Over 1/4 of the universe
she says, it’s dark matter

I thought you just said 85%
I say

Doesn’t matter – it’s all dark matter
she says

How do we know this?
I ask

Doesn’t matter
she tells me, they’re coming together
1 mile beneath the earth

I ask

The scientists
she tells me, they’re coming together
to conduct experiments
for 300 days

they will congregate
1 mile beneath the earth
in South Dakota
the Black Hills
she tells me

Hiding from Cosmic Rays
these scholars will study and chant
and pray and search
for some proof of this Dark Matter

Burning incense
with vows of silence and secrecy
in a trance-like state
on the gravitational pull

It brings things together
she says, it’s like the glue of the Universe

And then what?
I ask

And then you can finish
your pumpernickel toast
she tells me

2 – The Conjuring: Invitation

I see you looking over your shoulders
what were you doing out there in South Dakota

1 mile below those snow capped
Black Hills, burning incense

Chanting the names of your idols
over and over –

Darwin, Dawkins
Hawking, Voltaire

In a trance-like state
for three hundred days they’ve gathered

These mystic priests of science
hiding from cosmic rays

Shooting out gamma rays
to find this elusive stuff

This Dark Matter
what is this stuff that makes up

More than 85% of our known universe?
they haven’t got a clue

But now they’re saying it’s destroying itself
inside the Milky Way’s core

This has now become urgent!

3 – The Gathering: Banquet

How would you describe your sense of vision to someone who cannot see?
How would you explain the Grand Canyon to a blind man?
How would you describe the taste of a Granny Smith sour apple
to a person without a tongue, or a cappuccino to someone who cannot taste?
That sensation … how would you describe Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique
or Brian Eno’s Ascent to a deaf man?

What are they doing down there?

That sensation … to feel, to smell, the scent of fresh bread
or an apple pie cooling in a window sill.
How would you describe that
to a person who cannot –
who cannot?

What are they doing down there?

You can see them working feverishly in the shadows of their gamma rays
hiding from all light and cosmic rays and other high energy particles
and weakly interacting massive particles – we only know they’re there
by measuring the gravity released, absolved, acquit, annul, void

What are they doing down there?

Dispersed, displaced, relegate,
supersede, supplant, unmake,
usurp, uncrown, exiled, banished, deposed,
it’s keeping me up at night
I cannot sleep – this dark matter is affecting me
this dark matter – it has affected me …

You can see the silhouettes of these mystics
dressed in robes with cokebottle lenses
in a trance chanting to their gods
these monks of science in white labcoats and pocket protectors
stuffed with a cargo of pens and mechanical pencils, a sliderule

Clutching scientific calculators and iPads
reams of yellow legal paper
with calculations and inscriptions
searching for proof of this dark matter
proof of their very existence – of their soul
and of God himself

What are they doing down there?

These pujaris ripping off their clothing
dancing to the firepit and to the drums
and to the gravity
bringing everything together
existence and consciousness and other worlds
and otherworldliness

In vows of celibacy
in prayer and meditation
in study and in trance
burning, burning, testing procedures and hypotheses
experiments and research
burning and burning the midnight oil
that fragrant incense

How would you describe that smell to someone who wasn’t there
to someone who could not smell
who did not have the ability
olfactory system gone
no taste, no scent
those shadows bouncing off the stone wall
deep within the cave

1 mile beneath the earth
the snow capped Black Hills of South Dakota
how would you describe this scene
to those who cannot see
to those who cannot discern
the colors, the shadows
bouncing off each other

What are they doing down there?

The orange light, the fires
the green flames, the blue core
the white, the hellish red
those men of science
these mystic bodhisattvas
these priests of Algebra and of quantum theory
these searchers

How would you describe this scene to those who were not there
to those who cannot feel the immensity of the universe
of the gravitational pull
of the longing
of the pull of the dance
and the rhythm and the chanting

How would you describe this scene to those who cannot feel
who cannot know that there is something else out there
that there is something beyond the gravity
beyond what we know

Only 15% of the universe is not dark matter, for Shiva’s sake
for the wrath of Ganesh –
oh holy Krishna, oh mighty Vishnu
how can we describe this scene to those
who were not there
and do you think that these 5 senses
are the only ones?

What are they —

4 – The Closing: Maintenance

Please don’t forget
she tells me, to clean up the crumbs
from your pumpernickel toast
and kisses me
on the forehead