For Stephen Hawking
As you approach the event horizon, star child,
at the edge of the known universe you face a carousel of dark energy
devouring all light
spinning you down & in
where the information that once was your world
is smeared like Vaseline
over a cracked lens
at the far limits of thought.
How can you concentrate,
focus your intent long enough to defy
crushing you in its lawless jaws
dragging you down its hungry gullet?
How can you gather enough strength
to resolve the paradox
as your body dis i n t e g r a t e s
like an astronaut too long in space—
bones hollow as a bird's
heart shrinking without gravity?
Obsessed as you are
with the last equation
holding onto the "dream"
as night and day blur into half-sleep
suspended and wired for half-life
in a wheelchair spaceship
you must have considered
that those who stand on your shoulders
may one day bury your equations
in a painted wooden boat
moored in the sand
where all horizons are defeated
Perhaps long forgotten by those who memorialized you
the robotic arm of an alien desert rover
will turn you over in your tomb to identify the unfabled king
dug up in the search for lost treasure
from a dead world called earth.
Perhaps the information that is "you" will be lifted from a vortex
where brane and antibrane collide or sampled from a slab of limestone
washed out of eroded mountains down into a sacred valley
in the shadow of great pyramids and you will emerge from a culture dish
like Athena from the head of Zeus, cloned without disease,
or maybe found
in the bottom of a crater,
fused by the heat of some exploding meteor
into a glob of glass like a paperweight
some grad student in astrophysics will publish a thesis
on the discovery of your ghost,
the luminous smudge found
in the blink of Hubble's eye,
still chasing Zeno's half of half
into the widening maw,
your celebrated stubborn streak
an uncorrected flaw distorting
The answer can only be found
in other worlds,
where another "you" lives in wholeness
to compensate for the injustice of imperfect nature in this one.
There must be worlds entangled that make more sense
than this rolling blue panorama of paradox & illusion
with cruel laws of slow entropic decay
where each waking is another excruciating
resurrection against all odds
after your execution.
Falling into a blackhole, you learn to ask only for one more day
to puzzle over the parts
and piece it all together into this grand design,
this divine plan that will rescue you from total oblivion.
It is hard to see from here,
when even your sense of humor is lost
stripped of every human nuance
of spontaneous combustion
by the humorless pitch of a cyborg,
you plod unerringly
toward an unified theory of
and the Big Bang
seeking the far end of the universe
where you might travel back to the beginning—
a new beginning with strong legs
with which to move about the world
and strong arms with which to embrace it.
Even as extreme nature annihilates you
your thoughts are entangled bits of broken links
scattered across sectors of some universal hard-drive,
part of some total picture, unknown to us,
but glimpsed by you.
Your name should be remembered
your story is a constellation in the night sky
told and retold as the promise of breakthrough,
a final proof,
to conserve this basic truth:
we were never created or destroyed,
Perhaps the best we can do
is offer a better incomplete description
as the elephant continues to expand
its inflation becoming more & more unknowable
like the contents of a wild mind
evading the touch of a thousand blind & jealous hands
feeling for the whole but grasping only fragments.
From the last observatory on earth
as a faster-than-light spaceship
catches up with the past,
moving closer to the first condition
but no matter what you know
it means nothing without proof.
There are bushwhackers in every quadrant
looking to draw on you
to make a name with their own proofs,
disproving the proofs with new evidence,
finding new particles more mind than matter.
All the while you are falling into this blackhole,
being pulled into an unforgiving singularity,
the information that is "you" blurred
down the long corridor
to a white room
where David Bowman sits alone.
"It's about time," he says,
soft electric eyes
through which he sees
this other world—
a world where light disgorges
from a white hole
at the other end
of the darkness imagined
by Arthur C. Clarke.
"Listen," he says.
And you hear
a reedy sound like music from a pipe organ
coming from a candy-striped big top tent
with bright pennants snapping in the wind.
Inside are three rings.
You go to the center ring and mount a black stallion,
his flared nostrils snorting inner fire,
one ruby eye burning outward
one turquoise eye turned inward.
And you ride bareback through a revolving door
of white light where the sound of the multiverse
comes to you as a marching band in a cosmic parade
in all your dimensions.
Celebrants dance naked with Wiccan abandon around a bonfire
twirling torches like batons in the light of the full moon
dancing in your honor, dancing round and round
tossing laurel at your feet,
making offerings of tobacco to the four directions.
they pull you off the horse in jubilation
and lift you up,
run through the streets
carrying you on their bare shoulders
for they remember how you flew through the fire,
never losing reason in faith, faith in reason.
This new language you made possible
they forge into a gold medal
you wear around your neck, starchild,
for you are the unconquered Olympian
and the gods