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At X Marks the Spot

by Tim Laffey


a creek side bluff
a local clock and discovered in it
a logic not acted upon not used
a middle-aged star
a slim but critical range of options
a variable layer a ring around ourselves
active verbs
after all is not an ounce
ago safe inside ruled regularities


animalcules have skin in our game
arising from matter arising
as each act of this script arises
at all of its previous forms building upon
at each developmental step to
at x marks the spot a matrix of
average height weight blue something
back on the farm four billion rocky years
blow for blow precision gravity
bound to that distant generation
breathe in this made air
briefly form then lapse
carry meaning clumped to cells
chance and necessity build mind
child grown comes into mind
colonized by the trillion single cellulars an
enigmatic distinctive part of


darkness wraps around
dependant on magic and to think it
describes it hints there is more to come out
different space different time to be
done and dormant trees grown atop
each of us each in each
elegant athletic strategic i in use by
embryo larva pupa imago
each spun out existing separately in
each instance


exploring as the world requires of one-
eyed balding men common aim
flourished last summer to common depth
followed the inner workings
found for this phyla
for we live in the particular near this
fusion sphere we orbit watch it slide across
general for any overarching truth a
generation anew to receive and
glad of it
here then had meaning within that
here now her him this that
how improbable they each are yet
i am a summation of these patterns
i prefer the particular still
i think of fairy tales
i’m concerned with an old matter
ideas span that old dissolve
if not then how does it
if no why are fields of it found
if time matters then for a precedent yes
if yes if description spans this
immeasurably vast passage this
implicit in the egg and carried by the caterpillar


in distinct ecological niches each phase
in from the warm stone some
in perfect ranks of descriptive logic
in some hidden engineering tome
in the nymph as it emerges from for an
infinity of it nothing was here then
informational hormones and harmonics
instantaneously the changeable is frets
into a new form not evident
involved is fact truth and truth fact
is bent as coded acids dictate
is more than that from which
it has distinct reality and
its dormancy so shattered hidden in
its own older forms


joining cutting editing all that
kept in the chrysalis and triumphantly
knitted by quarks in quantum foam
knowing but not vassal to emotion
larger than the set of all things
last time dear one
let’s have another look let’s
lifting carrying straining aligning
live this day dog to this cat
look deeper inside and see
love in the actual bound to this sun
made of matter


magic structure codes a
matrix of differentiated cells through all
metamorphic developments in insects
middle class married a third time
midway last century born into this
my half-wild blue-eyed cat world
northernish winter’s snowball
now gone and now parsecs from my start
out of what heat does time make stuff happen
out of which blue does it jump
on it place an x now
on where to point the finger
on revealed wires or the sleight of hand
of matter and aware of mind
of message knowing some science
of shape on all sides edges
of points of fact
of touch taste smell sight sound
on this living planet here
our specific victory


our isolate selves chance outcome after
prolonged performance of complex adaptive
purges at these edges awake at
polished brown kitchen table watching
principles of emergent
properties hold sway as the new
purrs in the heart of mathematics does
pushing placing snapping
quite specific to our working well
rational yet not real unless a hand
reformed at each stage gets jiggered right
required for lives that are writ real
returned to this place in sunset time
rolling down behind a twigged screen of budding trees
rolling west central plains of illinois
seems swollen soon magenta then gone
seen in every flower once


shaped organelles construct us
should we be aristotelian satisfied
sitting now locked in so reliably recurring
so that which we are splendid to speak of
some lace of force and form
some of which twisted strands are
space and time i sit at this table
specializing in the approach to
stain a slide and label it
step by step physically
strip it common life common drama
stranger things in store odder
struck sword against sword
subject to experience and acting in what
surrounds us
symbiotic mitochondria humming in
these joined cells in
this holometabolous is
that all atoms must read and follow
that control the molt


that it happens suggests life found
that the principle of the butterfly is
that this way was efficient but
that there is always more
the machines they must make
the many billionth plus or minus sunsets
the new cellular walls fueling
the thickening trunk adding
the uniquely rich gift of contending with
their others in this multiverse of self
their various designs and
they each found a way

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Laffey

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