Friday, November 2, 2018

"An Inch of Time" by John C. Mannone

An Inch of Time
John C. Mannone

Imagine a special kind of rocket,
not like a Saturn G5 or a Titan III
or even the Enterprise threading
a loom of space between the stars
and seams of time, where black holes
warp the space-time fabric: fold
when & where into each other,
exchanging time for space inside
the rims of event horizons. There,
sew through the years, backward
or forward, fly through intersec~
~tions of yesterday and tomorrow—
there are no stop signs there.
Bebop to a 50’s diner. Check out
the curbside menu. Choose Tuesday’s
special by backing out of Friday.
Change your mind at any time.

Relive history until you run out
of place—geography is merely
a state of time. Imagine dissecting
a grasshopper in biology lab.
A hapless scalpel could resurrect it,
but cut its future or have it hop
into the past. Slip through a black
hole vortex until its tidal forces
unstitch you apart, leaving your feet
in the future, your heart in the now,
your head yesteryears. You’re no
prisoner of time, but space marches
on to an infinitesimal point
cloaked in nonexistence. Escape
requires a special kind of rocket,
but in any event, one that can be
warped from time to time.

Poet’s Notes:  When I teach astronomy to non-science majors, I like to think outside the box to help mitigate the students’ preconceived horrors. In addition to poetry, I use metaphor, pathetic fallacy, and other poetic devices. I also allude to popular past and present TV science fiction programs and movies that embrace some level of science. Humor, when mixed with serious subject matter, helps relax the students.  The title came from a fortune cookie.

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