Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jack Scott writes

One Black Swan (pt 10)

April twenty eighth, my birthday,
a frayed bookmark between blinks.
My present was another arrowhead
found on the ground close to, not in the cliff.
Similar, generic, not identical,
lacking the feeling of the character I’d call archetypical,
meaning way back near the beginning of the assembly line.
Their parent stones were from different quarries,
their sculpting by unrelated hands.                          
How did it get there, where was it from?
I keep asking questions; that’s what I do.

This one didn’t count as the second one;
I didn’t find it in the wall itself,
but feel persistent need to validate the first
to a, so far, nonexistent jury of my so-called peers.
Should I show it without comment,
to someone with a more experienced eye,
let them tell me what they think it might be?
I hadn’t done that yet because I was afraid.
Is that paranoia; is there good reason for it?
In my constant inner dialogue I am Devil’s advocate,
and the devil, increasingly with time.
What is this compulsion to authenticate to myself
what’s in my hand as well as in my mind,
obviously as real as the hand that holds it?
The problem seems to be that leaking vessel, memory,
a phantom gland unequal to the past it was party to;
on the scales of time the past sheds weight             
when pitted against the hefty present.
This is potential fear, not a real problem yet.          
My secrecy was not born of pride,
but of a need for dignity, validation of myself -
in the face of NO.      
I must not lose my faith in myself.
I know where I got it!

There’s a theory in genealogy that a family rumor,
 if persistent, may well be true.                   
While unraveling that ball of yarns one is confronted with
enough knots and snarls and tangles
to make a rumor of that rumor.                   
One’s family tree can’t be defined by simply tracing 
limbs and branches as far up and out as will bear our weight.
There’s more of it than meets the eye,
Figuratively - in silhouette against the sky,
or, actually - on paper.
Another tree supports it, its mirror image equal:
the rest of it, beneath the surface where lie our buried roots,
as untraceable as connection to collective consciousness.
What are the boundaries of this extended family?        
What is the size of it, its diversity, its population?          
How far back in this paleonarcheology
was my arrowhead embedded?                                                       
How deep is it possible to dig to disinter it?                       
At the end of reason, I am now arriving where I had to go.
There’s hearsay in the dynasty of legendary places  
kept alive through stubborn measures in so-called fiction
where everything now happens fast or faster                                   
to accommodate the modern pace and taste.
Still expelled from textbooks,                                     
Myths of Creation and their Geographies
linger, patiently alive and well, in a vast archive     
entempled somewhere between Science, the Fiction of
and Fiction, the Science of.                
The names of Atlantis and Lemuria and other legendary places
are battleships sunk in the wars of continents,
remain familiar millennia since they were last seen.
If they did exist, evolution, which we know and say we trust,
surely went before and continued after them on firmer ground.
Conflicting views abound
when they’re allowed in open conversation.
Scientists claim the upper hand as always,
citing lack of fossil evidence as if it proves their case
beyond a doubt.

Aye, there’s the rub - beyond a doubt -
deftly overlooked in the face of inconsistency,
hidden in the closet, forgotten in the file,
conveniently neglected whenever challenging consensus
(another rub), another sleight of hands
is ignored within and by that gated enclave. 
Consensus is less measured by conformance with known science,
than approval by its members in a vote.
The will of the majority is taken to be truth,
then cast in bronze of doctrine, policy and dogma      
straining vocabulary beyond the bounds of dictionary            
since the minority also voted for their truth.
How can you vote on fact - for it or against,
whether known or not?
Consensus is no proof of anything.

We’ve got a puzzle we’re unlikely to assemble.                 
Some pieces will not ever fit; 
others will remain forever missing.           
Some keys we seek lie locked, buried beyond our time here
beneath thousands of yards of bottom
under hundreds of yards of water
a thousand miles off any recent shore,                          
fossils, profoundly lost because never found
hidden beneath an abysmal former shoreline.
This is a society of what we know.
I would be more comfortable
in a culture based on what we don’t know
because in any serious investigation
we ground on a bedrock of mystery.

Sometimes extrapolation is just a cheap cigar
or spots we see before our eyes when getting up too quickly.
Core-boring sampling is throwing darts
at unseen targets in the dark.
Those monkeys typing Hamlet
should take up pointillism when they’re done
connecting the pin prick dots to just as likely form a Mona Lisa
as an abstract X-ray of the earth.
Being right about a wrong idea based on insufficient evidence
is arrogant and dangerous.
Once a scientist - or anyone - knows he’s right
his mind closes like a sphincter.  

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