Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jack Scott writes

One Black Swan (pt 8)

When I was young my mother gave me
a World Book encyclopedia,
cross-referencing spiderweb of irresisitibility.
A fuse was lit.                    
I followed all the road signs, ending where I’d started out, 
all this amounting to an extremely liberal education.
Recently, the spider on acid, busier than before, and slyer     
has spun another labyrinth in a neighboring dimension. 
Having been forewarned, nonetheless, here I go again.

Between field trips I sought out “experts,”
relentlessly and guardedly, wherever I could find them:
authors, teachers, their books and some of their classes.
It’s sometimes easier to ask, “Can you please help me?”        
than wandering alone through dense pages in the dark
seeking light enough to read by.
When so approached and stroked, most people are obliging
even or especially when they don’t know what they are saying.
My enquiries were well clothed in robes of rationality
draped with discretion,
cloaking what would be to them absurdity or madness. 
 I dared not show the arrowhead dangling ‘round my neck    
tell them where I got it .                 
I couldn’t show my hand, the equivalent of presenting
a charred silhouette of Jesus in a piece of toast.

We know enough at any time to print temporary books,
touting that the latest is bound to be the best
while typing up the next edition,     
aware that this year’s will be obsolete in one or two.
Avant garde, the cutting edge:        
think razor and what a razor’s for;    
the beard keeps right on growing.
Nothing ‘s static; nothing will stay still.
Exasperatingly, it’s often more rewarding
to listen for the messages of things themselves
when they seem to speak directly to us                    
than to deal with their interpreters.
People pose the problems, the experts and authorities,
and then become them.                                                  
Caveats are extraneous when the statement’s ex cathedra.
A universe of distinction lies between the unexplainable
and the merely unexplained,
although some insist they are the same.
Controversy reigns on earth; the universe is indifferent.
It’s been said by someone within the scientific clan
that we know exactly four percent of what we can.    
What arrogance to teach what you haven’t learned.
Sciences and -ologies advertise their progress,
their "most important product," in rendering the opaque clear,
but their pseudo-certainty still boils down to mystery.          
Sorry, I have grown sour from too many lemons.
Cynical? Who, me?

Answers don’t stay put;
like waves, they’re overridden by the next.              
Questions follow answers more surely
than answers follow questions.
Many messages, presumed, are read before the envelope is slit.
Fossil footprints in the mud become too often
premature extrapolations;
one flat stone is not a path.    
It’s not sand’s destiny to remain within an hourglass.

My quest for knowledge arises from my need;
it’s not a game I play.           
If I renounced humility while wresting iffy answers    
from the permanence of questions
flaws would swarm like flies from the fraudulence of hubris.
I do not claim significance from my discovery;
it may be that it discovered me.
I can’t say that I felt guided by prescience or déjà vu,                
I was in the midst of a different ordinary day.
Lest I complain about the burden, let me say this to me:            
“Don’t go to the Nobel Prize; let it come to you.”

I sought solution
through linear and analytic methods                              
as student and in solitude,                        
all stonewalled at the same dead ends.        
I’ve run out of experts in person and on paper.
I didn’t know enough to trust what I find in books.
I needed an interpreter, a translator.
I now know enough to not trust them.
At this point I don’t believe there’s anyone
who can enlighten me.

Returning to the cliffs for years with loyal frequency               
keeping up my vigil, manning my station,
I know that every day my odds of unearthing a second one
are exactly as for the first,
which keeps me even with the universe.
I’m strongly drawn to coming back;
I’d been from the beginning, irresistibly.
There is something here for me that I feel only here -
a life-form like an aura, persisting after all this time         
warding off distinct display or explicit recognition.         
All this and the arrowhead.

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