Fall 2020, Volume 29

Poetry by Christopher Buckley

The Writing Instructor Abandons Belief after On-Line Courses in Cosmology and Art Appreciation


                               You know, there are 90 billion galaxies—
                                                                        I get a little tentative . . .
                                                                                         —Jim Harrison

Past time to roll the bones,
                                             consult your stars, bet high
and sleep in the streets. . . .
                                        So you looked past the clouds,
the smudges,
                   the white floating
                                            metaphysical effects
hanging from
                   a few filaments of hope. . . .
Motivational Speaker,
                              ribbon clerk, Mogen David
quality control . . .
                          the job alternatives exhausted
way back when. . . .

                            Your best efforts went begging—
more juice, a jolt
                        of something on the order of ice and
dust flared from a comet’s tail
                                          to save you dragging
out the birds again
                           in defense of an insouciant sky—
dusk and smoke
                       holding off the starry inventory  
redshifted away from us,
                                   redundant from anywhere
you stand.

               You took in the Hubble high-resolution view,
gas-clouded nebulas,
                             stellar nurseries, the galactic scrum,              
14 billion + years of quasars
                                        blue and popping with more
we just can’t know
                          regardless of what we think
we’ve been
                looking at all this time . . .
                                                      all these spaces
between stars. . . .

                           As it turns out Magritte explained it
long ago:
             The invisible is something
                                                  light cannot throw
light upon
                 no filigree to the void. 
                                                It sure looks like
we’re all the evidence
                              there is of anything . . . 
that at best we’re relatively short bursts,
in the dark
               before the inconclusive aethers. . . .




BIO: Christopher Buckley's past publications have won numerous awards, and his poems have been included in many anthologies and journals. His book The Far Republics won the 2017 Vern Rutsala Book Prize. Cloud Memoir: Selected Longer Poems 1987-2017 was published in 2019.