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The Edge of the Universe: An Unbroken Cycle

Dylan T. Smith


All motion is cyclic. It circulates to the limits of its possibilities and then returns to its starting point. – Robert Collier

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Table of Contents Giving Voice to a Cycle (Foreword)/4 The Edge of the Universe/6 Reverse Entropy/7 Closed Form/8 The Retrograde of a Supernova’s Light/9 For the Melancholy Stargazer/10 The Divinity of Tears/11 Nostalgia for a Past Life/12 Throw It on Repeat/13 Open Form/14 The End of Pi/15 The First Work of Art/16 An Unmistakable Placement/17 A Cosmic Prison/18 An Ode to the Big Bang/19 And The Canvas Shall Grow/20 The Death of a Star/21 Rotating Timecards/22 Time’s Proverb to a Random Nebula/23 Will the Circle Be Unbroken?/24 Beyond the Edge/25

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Giving Voice to a Cycle Imagine every action, down to the blink of an eye, that has ever happened, and will happen, has already happened. Imagine an existence bound by déjà vu. These are the ideas I hoped to capture in the theme of The Edge of the Universe: an Unbreakable Cycle. However, do not think I wish to restructure your beliefs; this is not the purpose of my chapbook. I only wish to present a theory of metaphysics in the light of science, so you may better appreciate the beautiful mysteries of our Universe and the enigma that is life. As the content of my poems will undoubtedly express, I have always held an inexplicable passion for Astronomy and Physics. In part, The Edge of the Universe seeks to illuminate the melancholy stargazer in us all. For generations, our intellect has solicited refuge – astrological and astronomical – from a seemingly dark abyss that, in reality, gave birth to a palette of colors unfathomable to the human eye. Our greatest mistake assumes a pattern to be non-existent if it cannot be seen, yet certain cycles only require a person to open his or her eyes to become visible. Although my poems were seemingly written on identical subjects, I initially thought an overlapping theme to be non-existent. For some time, I struggled in making a decision on what poems to include; I had a plethora of pieces that referenced popular science-fiction ideologies from video games and film, as well as poems strictly related to Astronomy. At first, I tried relating both groups of poetry, yet I could not delineate any discernible connection beyond their subject material. Instilling an engaging theme to my chapbook grew increasingly hopeless with each act of revision, and my patience was wearing thin. Ironically enough, however, it was a video game, Bioshock Infinite, which granted me the idea to completely abandon my poems in reference of video games. Infinite’s narrative and theme expounded upon humanity’s futility of choice and a man’s cyclical failure to redeem his past mistakes. After obsessing over Infinite’s story and further reviewing my poems, I noticed a similar niche of theme in my pieces commenting on the patterns of Astronomy and stellar evolution. As a result, I solely focused on the revision of these poems to give birth to my current theme and initial ideas for The Edge of the Universe. Therefore, I decided to structure my poems in a manner that epitomized the lifecycle of the Universe, focusing upon the retraction and expansion of the Big Bang as my overarching narrative and base of thematic reference. However, I decided to further my theme beyond an organization of literary content, and implement an obvious patterned structure by form and pagination. Paralleling the cyclical nature of the Universe, I intersected my free-form poems with haikus to instill a sense of repetition and pattern. Utilizing free-form poems as the overall meat of my chapbook allowed me to strengthen my theme through revision, as I eliminated the fret of breaking a set form. Therefore, I was able to explore seemingly limitless levels of language usage and revision of content to better reflect a concise theme. My interjecting haikus also lend to this development of theme as they act as return points from my free-form pieces. I tried

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to structure my haikus in a manner that broadened an idea introduced in the previous free-form pieces they followed. I feel as if this notion of repetition comes full circle in The Edge’s end, in which I seemingly break the cycle, or pattern, with my final piece, “Beyond the Edge.” Including “Beyond the Edge,” was my final, and arguably toughest, craft decision, yet I feel it necessary in extending my theme to its fullest potential. As you will you notice, this poem, which should have been a haiku by standard of pattern, possesses only a title and no body. The edge of the Universe represents the limitation point of expansion and existence; beyond which, lies nothing – absolute emptiness, and the only way to go beyond the edge and break one’s cyclical existence would be to escape the Universe, or existence, all together. I included “Beyond the Edge” to act as an answer to the poem preceding it, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” in which I propose the idea that the Universe’s cycle may not be eternal and possibly vulnerable to change. This final, blank poem answers The Edge’s core query with a final query: what is left, a blank existence or a blank slate? I hope you approach The Edge’s edge, with curiosity and leave with a personalized picture that captures the Universe’s beauty and mystery. The following poems do not present a question of faith, yet rather a question of fate. *****

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The Edge of the Universe The last star, the final heartbeat of matter, silently whispers beyond the void, awaiting the reply, of cold lips – in absolute silence. The last crux before expiration, the final curve, in a cycle of destruction, listens intently, awaiting the cue, for another eternity’s end.

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Reverse Entropy The last star halts, caught time reverses expansion, backward we fall, caught.

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Closed Form Nor flight, nor fall, A butterfly – suspended without squall – never drowned in the slices of air, in its moment of awe. For time now halts, the gaiety of life. Children cut short – in a stifled light. Half-cocked smiles – never fade, will only twist, in an inverse gaze. Looking onward, yet holding back – a step, a crawl, the time’s track. If a butterfly flapped its wings, it matters not, for it is frozen, or dead – caught in a fool’s plot.

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The Retrograde of a Supernova’s Light Gone, yet persistent, died, dying, will die – mock time, one day, die no more?

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For the Melancholy Stargazer Forgotten time nudges an elderly gazer, from his perch, in a quiet meadow. Tucking the sky’s veil, away in a capped telescope, he hangs his head, through the dew-splashed ferns. Afraid of looking up, afraid of returning to an empty bed. Friends passed on, distantly released into a new schedule, have abandoned the hefty man, yet to reach the edge. The final star crashes over the horizon, a booming whisper amongst shouts, another silent death – come full circle. A smile carves the man’s sore expression, triumphantly with a new rite of passage. His first love, lie, drink of alcohol, have all passed, and been forgotten.

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The Divinity of Tears Space – lonely angel, day & night, life & death – mourns, each loss with violence.

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Nostalgia for a Past Life I feel removed, disconnected from this narrative – similar to the rest, always ending rather flat. Except one, I remember a soft hum, of plasma engines, vibrating through chrome floors, embracing my spine, with stricken fingers of a tuning fork. I remember the stars, new worlds, already visited I remember an old narrative, that was my new life, that is always turning. I remember an inexplicable theme, that found root in Hinduism, reincarnated from a past life.

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Throw It on Repeat A star forgotten, turns afresh chaotic leaves, for a new season.

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Open Form Everlasting – always expanding, time’s schedule is never late, never stops, never fades. Persists through death, shakes the hand of extinction – for they have always been associates. Their business – monopolizing on the illusion of control. We, all life – their consumers, buying into their unhappy scheme, clench hold of our pennies with violence. Children always laughing, continue the trend in dementia – old timers.

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The End of Pi Will you never cease? Unfathomable, like time forever constant.

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The First Work of Art With the tamed fury, only a painter knows, from wrist to brush stroke, the first stars were spackled. Shaded in chaos, infinite half-lives and supernovae, the color of life, eventually bled, weaving across canvas. Each droplet shed, articulated time’s masterpiece. We were born into an enigma, with certainty – curious as to how, yet not why.

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An Unmistakable Placement Between arms we lie, embraced by the Milky Way, offspring of design.

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A Cosmic Prison Grounded Gazing Stars Awaiting Shuttles Flying Here I’m Lying Earth Dirt Here I Hurt Old Lies Same Life Lost Not Found Here I’m Bound

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An Ode to the Big Bang From a single point, we came and always return, we cannot escape.

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And the Canvas Shall Grow Passed from an outstretched palm, into the horizon’s meadow, the star shatters into a majestic flicker, soon replaced by billions more – only cracked, but nearing the brink of suicide, still joyful to watch, capable to remember. The evening’s hues: royal plums, ornate roses, and boiled honeys, dripping – streaking from the Painter’s brush, finally mix into the growing black of night. Sunset has passed.

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The Death of a Star Blown through the void’s straw, lethal dose of perfection – balance kept through death.

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Rotating Timecards A gentle breeze drowns the fleeting rays of sunlight, from a city skyline – plunging downward, siphoning through apartment windows, grasping at shuddering necks, the exhausted workforce that is humanity. They hold onto the day’s end – knuckles clenched, trying to forget tomorrow, as the blanket of stars overhead, slowly unweaves into sunrise – a perpetual gear of a clock’s wind.

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Time’s Proverb to a Random Nebula Refuse and believe. Your fate, you cannot escape. Belief is futile.

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Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Standing once erect in our glorious reign, we now fade into the Heavens, more and more, with each passing year, hour, day, second. Hush, can’t you hear it? The silent whisper, of absolute silence. The clock’s slowing tick, and faded tock, intertwining. Swept under Time’s rug, hidden so, to avoid revelation that our illusion of choice, keeps us complacent. Behind a door we cannot see, eye pressed to keyhole, the answer will always be. A pattern in the grain, if we could only read, the mind’s humility is stained, over cosmic seas, we will always be. For we have sailed this horizon, witnessed its retraction, marveled its expansion. Time and time again, we are reset – rewound, by a lighthouse’s beacon.

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Beyond the Edge

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The Edge of the Universe