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Aug 2015
Faulkner's comment, I imagine him
tossing it off like Yogi Berra between games
of a doubleheader. The hero, the expert, the virtuoso
has no real control, is going to feel
unmitigated, unsparing forces, a mighty sun
swallowed by a black hole, coughed up into a big sky.
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

Versus Wayne Gretsky's formulation.
When I think of my death, I think of returning
the chemicals and microorganisms I borrowed.
If my plane goes down, when we hit the ground
fruits with names will be waiting - squawbush if
in the desert uplands, rose hips on a Vermont farm.
The past is skating to where the puck will be.

I realize I have a religion, a science fiction
the size of Jupiter which is, as these things go, small:
Chardin's theory unifying physical matter, rocks
and all sentient beings into one - here's the catch -
conscious organism. Having said that, why not claim
the same for the entire universe? Rock + DNA = soil.
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

These trees cannot feed me.
Self-sufficiency is relevant only in context of community,
Every drug, every vitamin is wrung from plants,
tools and shelter are ore.
A tincture, infusion, decoction, a ******, a compress,
      poultice, a salve, a syrup.
A war president needs war.
The past is skating to where the puck will be.

5 a.m., first of Spring.
Robins still in flocks, not paired off. But crows
mating on the sky - two couples dating
a sign of luck, that Celtic god passing Peter talked about.
8,000 generations, I reach only to my grandparents
but history and the naming of things extend our vision.
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

I was handcuffed but not beaten. Humiliated but not insulted.
And when I came before the judge, he was uninterested
in vengeance or restitution. He had his own death before him,
probably. I keep wanting to go back
to before the big bang, reading books about the cosmos,
FLO, LUCA, the texture of reality, consciousness,
The past is skating to where the puck will be.

For the next 5-10 years my goals are: geographically
compact and contiguous Congressional districts, term limits
for Federal legislators and judges, election of the president
by direct popular vote, public financing, spending limits and
air time for candidates, abolish UN vetoes, consent of the
before governments can sit in global councils.
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.

No greater tragedy than the death of your children.
Yet you live on, eyes drained of color. Old,
you make plans. To know the names of every flower
in the temperate zone. Every bird by its song.
Just as you're about to reach your goal, a tipping point
comes along: a nuclear detonation or it gets too cold.
The past is skating to where the puck will be.
--title from a ballad by Eustache Deschamps
Robert Ronnow
Written by
Robert Ronnow
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