Have you started yet? Does the rhythm of the night-train first wake you —and then…——……—……——……—……——……— lull you back to sleep?
I have woken more than once, coldly, to stare out the window,
trying to catch a glimpse of the train as it slowly drags its way
past small houses …——… family farms with big …—… barns
and depots …——…. that may have once served more purpose.
I never saw the train, as its light always washed out all other contrast.
Let this be a moral teaching.
The bed, higher than I thought beds ought to be, as I still think,
in fact, so snugly made that to slip out and follow the train was
beyond unbelievable, rivaled the impossible,
but firmly remained my wish. As I read Huck Finn,
I could not help but think of myself running towards some
unknown, yet familiar land.
The Midwest has left me behind, seeking out its own Manifest Destiny.
What does it mean when the land itself suddenly shifts beneath our feet? We may only travel in arcs anymore, and it has become hard not to think of all motion in three dimensions at all times. Newton’s First be damned, there are no straight lines in my geo-metry. The globe revokes Euclid.
…………————…———…——…— Falling off into the distance, the train’s beat becomes more penetrating than it was when it were close. There are some things whose certain power only lay at a distance from us, a law not of inverse proportionality, but of direct. We say that F is as D. If we choose to obey such laws, as we sometime ought to, sometime only because, if we were to, we shall find ourselves drawn with such acceleration towards another that our collision would be soonest from that infinitely far away. Which is beautiful. We do not expect this,
as we ought not to. Still, those trains whose routes and destinations seem furthest removed curve quickest and speed along surely toward the most unfamiliar as it is the unknown that must be conquered. What is closest slowly closes in.
Maybe what is closest senses our own familiar hesitation and mimics. Sighting light on the tracks we choose to fall asleep again …—……………………
5th relation, few givens.
Let there be a time AB,
finite in length, though ambiguous in total.
Constructing circles BAC and ABC, we have
defined an area, a Venn diagram, of intersecting
plane figures, whose area measurements we have
yet to name in full. Now, given AB, BAC, and ABC,
we see that there is the possibility to construct:
Lines AC and BC, which define a transcendent
triangle (TT) ABC. Why exclude the other half?
We know but the half of this our story.
Now, TT is equal on all sides, one simply
delineating time, while the other two —
they exist outside it but within us.
TT is not truly equal, each transcendent side
operating outside the line of time which shall
increase indefinitely, making circles into conics
which regularly increase but beget irregularity.
We see now ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola.
How, if it does, TT still remain? When does
transition occur, and what are the consequences?
If transcendence operates on Y axis, is it then the
memory of time, traversed from either A or B?
No longer simply equilateral, memory is elongated,
forming isosceles memories whose mere equality
reflects elongation, distillation, and parallelization
at the limit of shared, skewed, and now distinct
life lines which ruptures the relation. But if we can,
and we may indeed, go beyond all limits, our
transcendent triangle shall be reached again.
This is pure idealization, a conscious map of
all possible identities unfolding through time
and the subconscious. The fifth relation may
be a state of death, some final moment before
departure. Perhaps all time contracts or outwardly
expands, and in either case we come to see
the nature of our histories; dense figures with so
many line tracings, erasures, and echoes of the
past communications, revealing a pattern not unlike
that one we glimpsed long ago, implicit in the
simple sketch on the chalkboard.
Sing for me the universe and I will,
I will make motion once more relevant
for us. I have but a few perfect acts in
my life and you are not perfect either.
Traded in my euchre cards for a pack
of cigarettes, and moved beyond the
ease of being happy, got tired of all
the order, and did not so much start thinking
thinking about the time that we went
to the beach and found the seashells
and I inherited those crisp books of
nature whose pages I rarely cracked
open but whose aesthetic left their
in on life as I had revealed to me
my passive fears and wishes of the century ahead
and my active engagement with the history of mankind
and its generous cruelty.
The birds have changed and I have not been paying
too much attention to the new songs, but they are
good laments. I must begin to copy their tune and weep
as I stand under the next eclipse, the one that will fall
across our nation when I am 25. In Kentucky, standing
there alone, a new nation for me will be born out of
darkness. I will hold a seashell to my ear and hear the far away
ocean clambering up onto the shore, calling me back East, reaching out across many miles to touch the moon as it races toward the shore.
The song you sing and this clamor of the ocean and the moon
will be a funeral march for a quarter century spent, and wedding
bells for another three, a marriage to the new world that is awaiting,
the new world that we have also inherited, littered with new resources,
new possibilities, and the same possibility of destruction that has and will,
must, always remain. The Birds and Seashells of North America will make
a resurgence, and they will come pouring out of my heart and I will be home again.
The two minute nap
of the sun on Cadiz Road
37. 0564 N, 87.8813 W
August 21st, 2017.
Connor Callahan is a graduate of St. John’s College and resides in Colora, MD.