Thursday, September 26, 2019

Solutions for the End of the World 3

This is the third section of a seven-part poem called
Solutions for the End of the World.

This time Maria Prophetissa ruminates on seeing the feathered eel in her solution, and then remembers a time when she was a child, knowing that giant eel was out there somewhere…all the while, Goya keeps mocking the poem…

Alchemists doing their thing...
Section 1 can be found here.

Section 2 can be found here.

3.   The Alchemist Tries to Understand What She Sees…And Then Remembers…

Maria stares at the shadow in the vessel,
                                             sucks in a breath, startled. What is this?
     Catastrophically widespread die-offs of many creatures could be inevitable
                      if human activities continue to lead to more acid oceans…

                        Is this what it’s like to have a heart without
                                                                        a future, insoluble?

                        No future and so past erased, insoluble?

                        The wind, the sun, the rain, insoluble?
                                                                                                         Goya laughs:
        “Increasing temperature frequently improves the solubility of a solute.
                        A paradox. What did she expect?”

Maria Prophetissa, Daughter of Plato, wanders
                        out of the Alexandrian Gate of The Sun, down
                                    to the harbor, image of the Eel inside her eyes,

          Melting permafrost from global heating has made it easier for locals to
            retrieve the remains of woolly mammoths…and sell them on to China,
                              where the ivory is fashioned into jewelry…

She sees the Pharos lighthouse across the harbor.
                                                As a girl, she stood on this same strand, focused
            on the sea –
                        how the sea-breeze lifted the boiled sun off blown sand –
            and knew that something would eventually rise out of the green expanse
 because that expanse was too great for there not to be something as vast beneath –

                        the shadow of the sea –

                                                and she would rise to greet it, terrified… 

       In the past year, an area the size of 500,000 soccer fields has been destroyed
                             in the Amazon. Nearly half a billion trees torn down…

                        She knows the shadow of the sea is the sea;
                                            and that the sea’s shadow
             is the shadow of the sea in the eye staring into the face of the sea –

             fish among ruins, cycle of desire, anemones enfolding tiny darting
                          creatures into its body deep in the sea’s rubble.
                        The calls of fishermen merge with the call of gulls.

            (The gulls, the black-backed gulls…cursed with one drop of blood
                                                                                    on their beak –
                        first taste of life and so, first taste of death –
                   blood burned onto all their beaks by the sea’s shadow,
                                                                                       insoluble. Siren-red,
                        a red scream, mirrors the gull’s appetite, how they
                                     lift the shell into the clear blue, drop it against rocks,
                        offerings to the sea-shadow,
                           extensions of the shadow of the sea, insoluble.)

            Goya shakes his head:
                                    “This part of the poem is shit! An alchemist
                        who sees the great Eel devouring the world in the future?
                        A character who has the long view? Are you saying you
                                                   have the long view?”

                                                                                                She draws
            the sign of Mercury in the sand, envelops that sign
                                                with a circle that is the sign of the Feathered Eel, eating
                           its own tail,
                                                and waits for it to rise from the sea.

                                                More than 200 reindeer have
                        died of starvation on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard,
                             with scientists blaming their deaths on climate change.

                                                                         Goya laughs again:
             “This is absurd, magical thinking,
                                    invoking imaginary beasts to understand the true beast,
            the beast right in front of you…”

                                      Tomorrow’s world will not just be hungrier:
                        it will increasingly face undernutrition. More carbon dioxide
                                            means harvests with lower protein…

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