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Eye on the Universe By Gail Gray

Differentia Press Santa Maria, CA

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Eye on the Universe By Gail Gray Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Published by Differentia Press Book Design by Felino A. Soriano Cover Art, courtesy of Ciocanel Razvan Except for the sole purpose for use in reviews, no portion of this book may be reproduced in any form, without the written permission from the publisher. Differentia Press Santa Maria, CA 93458 submissions@differentiapress.com

Differentia Press Poetic Collections of the │Experimental Spectrum│ differentiapress.com

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Dedicated to: the writers, poets, artists, artisans, theoretical physicists, astrophysicists, astrologers, musicians, dancers, poi spinners, and skateboarders who strive to connect all the strings, especially those I know personally. You inspired this collection. You know who you are.

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Acknowledgements Thanks to the following publications who published some of the poems in this collection: Counterexample Poetics: Collapse, Summons to the Creative ditch,: The Ribbon Effect Troubadour Press 21: Eye on the Universe

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Table of Contents

Flux………………………………………………………………………………………………12 Venus in Copper…………………………………………………………………………………13 Primary Struggle…………………………………………………………………………………14 Eye on the Universe……………………………………………………………………………...15 Stumbling………………………………………………………………………………………...16 Collapse………………………………………………………………………………………….17 After the Pledge………………………………………………………………………………….18 The Ribbon Effect………………………………………………………………………………..20 Absinthe Round Table…………………………………………………………………………...21 Hecate Gathers Her Contemporary Garments…………………………………………………...23 Summons to the Creative………………………………………………………………………...25 Thanks to a Reminder from Duane Locke……………………………………………………….26 Bomb……………………………………………………………………………………………..27 Miscalculations…………………………………………………………………………………..28 Global Creed……………………………………………………………………………………..29 Self Juggling on Art Crawls……………………………………………………………………...30

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"Art is always a complex beyond science. It is a statement of one in the face of the all; not a statement by one for the use of all." "The practice of an art or arts, is as essential to the whole man as a knowledge of science. This is not because of what art is, but because of what art does to the artist." —John Fowles, The Aristos

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Flux Pontia…that dangling moment… as Aristotle spoke…pontia: the place of the unknown; of what may happen stretched between the rush of cause & the stamp of effect. Not caught like an insect in a jar. Not designed like a city or society. or planned like religion or dogma. But like an illusive unknown metal smelted from the ore, eager to rush headlong. The catalyst coins its pleasure in change……caught in a poem sensed in song glimpsed in a painting;. graced in dance or the hesitant kiss that dangling moment intent to rush you tingling to wonder.

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Venus in Copper She dresses her venus in copper. Under room temperature her high electrical properties, thermal conductivity, transforms daily dynamics. Live fully alive! Bask in warmth and fire! There’s red in the fall of her cloth for a reason. Not to mention the oligodynamic effect… a copper scalpel cauterizes as it cuts…. impulses dancing with the body’s electrical system healing as it slices. Her solo orbiting s-electron Prove her a malleable metal ready for change and costume. He’ll never be bored. She’ll don oxide crystals like gems. Oxygen makes her green. Dusky looks from beneath the shadows her goal: mossing hearts, stirring memories, imagination verdigrised two lovers, flagrant Epicureans in a meadow fragrant.

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Primary Struggle Each of my lungs harbors a tree of life attached to the Axis Mundi. My scoliosis spine warps, influenced by earth’s four degree wobble. This decision, descent to the human, complicated by slumbering memories of soul, slug slow, trapped on this crooked staff laboriously unwraps the connection.

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Eye on the Universe The god’s eye of the Etched Hourglass nebula glaring from ring fire tubes, withholds and offers answers. The thin king gathers telescopes and cosmos maps gazes back. He’ll always be last, this power struggle a given. Heart racing, 8,000 light years distant, mind quickened, smitten, he gasps as the dying star haloes it’s exit… grace delivered, a casual wave hello.

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Stumbling My beliefs, hang in this buried place, disintegrate, brittle as ancient gauze, tomb wrappings caked with the leavings, the offerings of philosophers and prophets. My hands hold shreds of Hegel, dust bits of Sartre. I can’t stay centered among the living dead. Reminders: don’t believe what you see; don’t believe what they say. The actual world’s beauty waits beneath the sham it’s luster opaque beneath the hollow stare. Once it shimmied behind a veil; Once it quivered beneath the sea; Once it strode between dust storms. This is just a test. I must remember this is just a test. when we regain our senses there is only awe.

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Collapse They saw in layers, perhaps collapsed then expanded, Orwell, Nostradamus, Cayce, DaVinci, Verne trusting vision better than our 20/20 laser-corrected eyes, Technicolor contacts and blue-tooth body attachments‌ precursors of trans-humanism. What frantic frenzy would Beethoven write to score the downward sliding promises and elevated graphs? Quantum physicians put on their poker faces, play bingo with metaphysicians while Heraclitus referees, his hands itching to jot down fragments, despite knowing they may never be read.

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After The Pledge The disappearance so easy but the Turn transports one to the other's game. In four different states, a left-handed handshake affirms. Instant karma's too slow for the initiate. Tesla tried to warn us. The killing's in the waiting; always a crook'd (not crook-ed) finger away‌ these little charades these shared secrets; Fowles wrote the map on Heraclitus scraps. Feeling alone in the presence of others knowing the difference‌ a foreign place of beginning, a repeat, shifting of spirals, individual beads strung on wires. Moore than one Thomas, mentioned the method: slipknot from one to the other. Jung recommended: gravitational slide-ride to spike the experience. Mousetrap games echo time-delayed sequence. Einstein smiles at the magic. No need for trickery. No Six Flag mesmer, the slow realization as concrete as that nail in your heart, or palms. The alembic of memories 18 | E y e o n t h e U n i v e r s e


breathes, once the Prestige of spirit takes wing, Rook takes king. Cycles require more than one revolution.

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The Ribbon Effect As all accelerates, physicists crack theorems quick as whips, as do poets with the Logos. Artists’ compositions yearn. Fragments coalesce. The innards of atoms compelled to connect… fling questions like slingshots, faster than the Haldon Collider splits and smashes diverse arts: seeds towards the whole; the encompassing universe within a complex craving… misled in seeking answers when the answer lies in our craving to be known by one. “Forget naïve reality,” quantum scientists warn, “consciousness does more than observe.” The fractal messages contort to awareness response of grandeur… an elegant design. Paint, notes, words and numbers invoke the numinous… grace in a moment; or all of time combined. The sublime attempts to stroke the cheek of Eros. A child is born knowing; owns it all once again twirling…. holding ribbons overhead.

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Absinthe Round Table The stars forgot their plastic presence, shift to beforetime, recall their essence. Inner gaseous fire meets the gaze, as in centuries past. This year of rare eclipses, planetary alignments, their drama, made redundant. Who can compete? Ghost kisses of Le Fey Verde deny January midnight’s chilling death-threat shoulder-grip. Instead, she exhales the breathy curl, sensuous verde spiriteaux once reviled, once again, releaser of secrets. Conchis and Magus, offers the universe. Tibetan bells, Morphic whines, Saurian Meditation entwine aroma of cloven smoke; entangled. Forbidden realm the space between, the place beyond. The ancients applaud. Queen of the café societies, from Bohemia to Prague. Mistress of Paris, consort of Rimbaud, Verlaine, Lautrec; instigator of Van Gogh and Wilde. Habitué of New Orleans. Crowley in the contemplation of mages, sipped and observed her fountain, surrounded by supplicants at the ritual bathe. From Café Slavia to Catalonia, how many have known her wiles? This green goddess escapes the worldly hand of law, returns, summons new subjects. Reciprocal hunger for essence, misted hint… complete sentience, lingers on tongues, miasmic spell. Simple distillation of leaves, flowers (fennel, star anise, hyssop, and melissa macerated in the alembic bride of Atremisia absinthium) or ally of Foxglove, Monk’s, Hood, Henbane, Nightshade. Her ever-lengthening tendrils more entwined than Pre-Raphaelite brushstrokes; more inclined toward forever… than alchemists ministrations. 21 | E y e o n t h e U n i v e r s e


In verdant knowledge, she whispers‌ to invite‌ to dine on the unknown to divine.

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Hecate Gathers Her Temporary Garments Follow her pomegranate trail, trailed by autumn leaf whispers, ankle-bell; finger cymbal summons. Germinate transport seeds in fecund mire. Gaze, in drowning pools time has no evidence, only ripple; ever-widening vision Physicists attest air enclosed in water, element begets element.

Traverse on these fertile steps this narrow path, Turn away far from vagary time clocks are a-foul, each losing time at different times reminders of Einstein and Hawking, Greene and Bohn Ascend endless stairs, leaving stone for darkened pastures,

Travel beyond walls of memory‌ the ever-present edge Boundaries rendered non-existent. Leap 23 | E y e o n t h e U n i v e r s e


other dimensions, places once forgotten. dissolve the prison Proclaim ‌.nothing is static only ever-reaching spirals and cycles Recreate the universe

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Summons to the Creative Feel the pull, as if the gravity of meaning, the gravity of galaxies light years traveled lured you from your safely shaped life; refused “no” for an answer offered no quarter to distractions, evasions, escape. At first an invitation to participation mystique but the yawn is needy for spokesmen and heralds of transcendence. The universal tug wins, the house fixed by the planets you chose at birth. Collective man must have a voice, dispersing your personal desires as if scattering marbles. The hand on your shoulder, snaking into your mind is the spirit fed on the lives of your influences. As society crumbles the summons becomes louder, crueler, keener. You may attempt to elude, but night wakenings, day nightmares pursue in packs, teeth eager for tendons…all for the benefit of those unequipped. You…sacrificed upon humanity’s steps… divine device…cued to hear, interpret the whispers

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Thanks to the Reminder from Duane Locke Having to undo unlearn replace the lies with inner thrum and strum. Always the encroachment; the insidious lethargy of forget until the build-up, mounded high in drifts of grief to fill the void of lies with smudge, a black hole sucking back each illumination turns pinpoints into drains greedy suck to every pore of hard-won self. The clapping hands; the audience happy to purchase falsehoods of security, line the gauntlet, smile as you slide away. Your drowning memories ache to touch the page. The Braille of your awkward awakened moments, fragile as blotter paper quivers beneath a pen all too desperate to spit, spill or smear.

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Bomb I never asked for this terminal coat never signed up for this shuffle ride so I’ll stretch a penline to all those hanging heads nodding poignant pomegranate greetings; to all those ink & paint stained hands spreading edges as easy as opening crooked, ill-hung shutters, soul and heart scraps cascading thick as confetti tossed from the balcony, one foot looped around rusted iron, arms flung wide in Icarus mimicry; to all those calloused fingers intimate with the midnight satisfaction of the last note. I might hide away where only the conductor can see me might bury my screams in the train whistle’s echo, but I’ve arranged a line of pirated canon primed and loaded with stanzas; a restless coffee-stained finger eager to hit ENTER

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miscalculation the ticking away of days holds no meaning for squirrels or angels. becoming‌. both ends and means is a sideways process sand mandalas blown by the breathy sigh of what next? expand the grand design our meager worries, incomprehensible to 3-legged turtles who step-step-thump to 100% authenticity, betray us while our fingers struggle to restrain the curtain, pockets of asteroids hurl eight balls aimed at our squeamish guts, laughing at the finite

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Global Greed Look to the spears slicing their space in the sky, church spires, the vacant glass stare of banks, steel phallic telecommunication towers, breeding dependency with every website hit; spreading fear culture more deadly than pandemic flu; more insidious than a hand snaking up the skirt of liberty. The individual translated into a series of 1`s and 0’s corralled. Electric web, a coiled razorwire fence, stretching it’s insatiable fingers grasping beyond the territorial.

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Self-Juggling on Art Crawls On art gallery crawls Pendleton Street Arts district I meet the inner trickster, juggler of choices and Harlequin diamonds who learns through play. There’s no guarantee the danger’s removed but if we Iook sideways through cracked ears and pin-holed hearts, memory twists to its own lyrical device

there being no truth, only perception. Potential is a Mirabilis poi-spinning synchronicity in flames of choice washing midnight skies. Faces, occluded by the flaming staff, remind: plastic protection melts under such heat. The reach meant not for self but heights displays itself hands-deep in South Carolina clay; after-cooling rounds of Yling Yling; talk of Dali, the Aristos, Stephen King. Street-poets twist influences, dreams, reflection, symbols revealed on sidewalks: as chaotic as careening blind-folded in bumper cars New Orleans, Crash! Irag Crash! Van Gogh Crash! Melange. 30 | E y e o n t h e U n i v e r s e


Once cast aside, these seekers, unveil reluctant heroes who driven, deep-drink the elements: water, air, fire and water

to await the spark‌ the primordial pivotal Spark.

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Eye on the Universe  

Poetry collection from Gail Gray

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