"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Steam Punk

Warning:  Don't read this note if you want to guess what the poem is about from reading it---

Steam Punk seems to becoming a popular genre of fiction today.  I see "steam punk" and the continued love for the Victorian era as a wish to regain something lost. The great experiment of the modern age was not the beautiful new world science envisioned. Science hoped to conquer time travel, poverty, energy and every pain or inconvenience in life. Instead science seemed to be another way to have larger Holocausts and Hiroshimas. In some ways, Postmodernism feels like a constant revisiting of old calculations to find what we've missed-- where we went wrong. My theory is that we missed each other; missed seeing people as the first most important thing. This letter is an allegory for that missed relationship. Here I compare the explosive death of a loving relationship between a beautiful Victorian woman with her inventor-fianc√© as an allegory about the nuclear holocaust. 

Dear Steam Punk,
You were breathtaking, a star in your universe
the genius who knew his own duty:
To take science, beauty and justice,
solder them together into a new universe. 
We were going to make it.

I held your dream in gloved hands in the
tea stained light of the afternoon sun.  I too,
in that slanting half light full of a promise,
thought you had a made all things new--
a world where the laws of man were honorable
and the laws of physics were meant to be humbled
under the leathers of our good intentions.

We admired it too long, I guess, under the open
window.  Who knew the weight would break just then,
and the casing come crashing down?  Who could
have told us the world would slip out of my fingers,
drop two stories down, and disappear into the black
hole of a common gutter?  We couldn't know who found
it and altered our victory for dark purposes while
we fought each other over bruised fingers?
Who knew I leave through the door of your curses,
and you, romantic to the end, would burn my letters on
the coals of our most recent love?

A century we've run in place, recalculating
each tick.  Watching the replay on years beginning
with nineteen.  Reliving the horrors our hopes produced
on the back of our eyelids-- every blink
a yellow light surrounded by red.  I still see that
infernal cloud.  I can admit, alone to myself, we misfired.  
I was sure beauty and science were the gods who would
prove perfection came from muscled minds
and creative technology.  How was I to know
that we lost the world the moment we forgot
each other?  When my hand left yours
to see in a better light?

1 comment:

  1. polly, this blows me away... Wow. Talk about tackling a weight subject and mastering it...


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