Showing posts with label black hole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black hole. Show all posts


NaPoWriMo - 2017 - April 22nd - Alice through the mirror-plane

This is, of course, a sonnet -- although I've sneaked an extra rhyme into the penultimate couplet.  The prompt here was for a mirror poem and like every other living human, I love the tone of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...

(Does Liddell rhyme with fiddle?  Probably not, but there's the competing constraint of the text making some sort of sense...)

Alice through the mirror-plane

A rabbit and an anti-rabbit, go
around the tree and down the wormhole.  Where
can such a transformation lead? Please show
your working as you think it through.  I share
your nervousness around the silvered glass
and note what care we're taking with the frame.
We pause and whiskered heads are asked to pass
their eyes across each step as we arrange

the kit.  We all wear white gloves on our shift
and antique pocket watches we have found
provide a way to check your drift.  Keep cool!
You're near normal, still grounded in old-school
reality—you'll find we never fiddle
our safety checks: we all recall Miss Liddell.


NaPoWriMo - 2017 - April 17th - Of tea and politics

The challenge here was a poem about a closed door.  I've taken that figuratively again.  The real door in this poem is glass and the characters can easily see what's behind it.  What's unknown is the door of the future, but it's slowly creaking open on disturbing possibilities...

There is obviously nothing.  Nothing whatsoever.  In today's world that makes me feel like this.

Move on citizens.  Nothing to see here.

Of tea and politics

They have now hanged the suspect spy
just outside the door.  He's swinging
from the cast iron sign
shaped like a teapot.  It creaks alarmingly.
This afternoon is waxing quite complex.
The police chief's voice still thunders from the kitchen.
He's on to topics wide as loyalty, respect for law,
and macaroons, and fear.  I beckon the waitress near
and ask:
Could I just have another scone?
The afternoon moves on towards an evening,
which no-one present dares to guess.
The hanged man stills.
I shall bury him, he was my servant.


NoPoWriMo - 2017- April 5th - Our correspondent interviews the famously private poet

Our correspondent interviews the famously private poet

Question: You have before said, which is to say
that people quote you expressing the idea
and you've elaborated on other occasions
that this idea, or conception, I should say

has seemed to have a life, a meaning beyond
its origin.  Would you comment on that?  But first...
Question: In your work, as received by the audience
there often seems to be an almost pause

a moment of collection before expression
where as a reader one is forced to look
for alternative interpretation.  How
do you imagine all that we imagine

sitting as we are so... figuratively
remote from you there with the pen...?  Which makes
me recall!  I have to ask, when ideas strike
-- sorry, this is a different question --

as an idea is dawning in your mind,
what do you gasp of it at first?  A shadow
a mere imagining with every part
to be filled in, or is it more Athena

all springing fully formed with rhymes and scansion
already there in place?  But I see we're out
of time and I wanted to ask about your book!
Never mind, I have enjoyed, it's been my privilege.


Going forward

I had an evening out with some people I used to work with...

...who are all still mostly more embroiled with large corporations than I am... I promised one of them I would post this.

Going forward

The corporation cannot plan
its way out of a paper bag
whichnoteis not to say
it doesn't have extensive PowerPoints
to socialise the vision
for the new, division-wide, bag-exit mission
get buy-in from the stakeholders at levels
from CFO to tea lady
and distribute cheap beer and pizza
at revels
that celebrate the dragging of one thousand hapless
employees, kicking and screaming,
into progress, status, overview, coordination,
planning, steering, post-mortem, and kick-off, meetings
at cost of fifty thousand person-hours
or half a million dollars [OpEx]
which is money so well spent
for staying in a paper bag.  Meanwhile

Team Lunchpackwho were spun,
you will recall, from Project Dune and tasked
with building an organisation-wide
flexible container collocation strategy
have been thinking outside the box,
and now are standing
a touch despondently
outside a cardboard shipping carton,
and wondering where everybody went.


Numbers station

A Numbers Station is a Cold War artefact.  A weird short-wave radio station that transmits nothing but some distinctive sounds (often low quality music) punctuated by uninterpretable sequences of spoken numbers.

Clearly the whole point is that it won't mean anything, except to the very few lucky people who've been given the key.  It's a cheap and very private way of sending simple messages to Your Man in Halifax.  Nowadays one just emails; via encrypted channels, of course.

None of which stops the numbers stations from having a cult following, a bizarre style of their very own, and hoard of conspiracy theorists who stalk them.

Pulsars are relatively mundane in comparison.  They're neutron stars: single atomic nuclei the size of small industrial cities; the remnants of dead stars that weren't quite large enough to form black holes; spinning spheres with surfaces moving at sizeable fractions of the speed of light; powerful radio beacons "chirping" so precisely they were originally labelled "LGM" for "Little Green Men"—which they aren't, of course.

So nothing to write home about, really.

Numbers station

A song of distant, static-abraded numbers
the mechanism unwindsmonotonic and discrete.
It had an edge once, but not now
so neat as the mind recalls it.  There's a gap...

...around the days she faked, in faking lived
and now has left behind.  Don't think about the boy
and forget the laughter pastedcrudelybetween the mind
and the point, too far to guess, where a neutron star spun...

...down, the definitive direction: empires, cricket balls,
angels tumble from the blue, and in doing so
draw nearer.  The man reached for her once; unknowing,
implored some sweaty comfort for the fall... pass the time, she builds a short-wave radio
from wreckage in the tracking station.
She turns the dial to sample languages; shrapnel
of news and song; the soul of the pulsar chirps...

...for a moment, and a tiny, tinny voice chants:
two, seven, five
two, seven, five
zero, zero, zero.
She grabs the code pad...

...which isn't there.
Something has ended,
she doesn't know what
those days are over.


Down time

Black Holes - Monsters in Space
A black hole: far, far away...

It's Christmas time and there's no need...

So here it is, merry...

So, this is Christmas, and what do I think...?

Well I don't think I need formal religion to make me gather my loved ones together and hand out presents.  Midwinter is upon us and ice-giants roam the borders, muttering behind rime-encrusted beards about climate change and the rising price of air-con.

Why wouldn't you get everybody around the fire to sing and laugh and eat and drink?

To explain the same thing in a different way: a singularity lurks at the end of December, a zero-sized, zero-temperature point of infinite density, with Janus packed into it—like one of those joke canisters of spring-loaded snake.  Except it's an ancient god of narrow doors, instead of the snake; and we have to pass through to reach the verdant, sun-lit pastures of 2016.

So hold your drink in both hands, strap your mince pie into the padded receptacle, specially built into your acceleration couch, and hold your breath as I gun the engine and point the pointy end of life straight at that tiny point of rapidly approaching darkness, because here we go again...

Best Wishes Everybody!  I'll see you all, safe on the other side.

An ancient Aztec calendar:
long, long ago...
Down time

And I travelled in a bald and freak October
—the rubbing of the wind and the chafing of the skin—
where clothes supposed to keep the warmth
got soaked around my wrists and ankles.

And I have travelled via plaintive, sleek November.
I fell cold upon the empty hill, with eyes
drawn to the gaps between the stars—
even such hollow space can't chill me now.

And I did travel, solitary, through December;
deliberately I spiralled round and down—
there's a nothing-point at the centre of the maze,
an absolutist's zero, the boundary of days

—and in the ice-crystal, breath-held silence,
I waited for the calendar to turn.