Operating Dictates for a Particle Accelerator

       pulse light
starts there starts           getting smaller     All that you can’t remember,
Claire says.  ,   With two glass eyes           I’m wobbling down
  a walkway          inflecting aloha                                        no thumbtacks,
          attached     no pins,           To feel.          Good by.
among crimson and silver turnstiles,     all the folks          In orange,
               Silvery hats and thermal     The madmen mad getting
madder     daisies all done          Again          me strolling, me fuming,
slipping,   the stream frozen. the matter of face. the quasars
     huffing on.           In December   no summery mask,     No, just
the shimmering scene, the firmament.     a blackbird indicating, nods
           Maybe a change    dust of a brick  maybe
I remember,      I recall.      a cyclotron.          An ingenuous ramrod
     The flay of her hair               fall sinking          Rowboat
turning to winter,     rowboat, rowboat      Chatter of the breakage

iii.                              verb forms of a neutron bomb
starts sloe gin     over time                    Fermenting in the firmament
     red shifting with Claire     waking with Claire, betweening
and vaguing Claire          the embassies exchanging airs.          lily white,
     glittery photons          , spark                         at the bottom working
iamb          iamb iamb                    iamb                                        iamb
Claire    don’t care                    reminiscing          Tuscaloosa
in.           A corner of the soiree.                              , standing so bluntly
     you resemble no one,          Precisely, as if receding          over a hill,
you resembles everyone. corralling       , the bulky idea of the hill into.
              an encampment,                                                  a tiny cranium.
     And it’s                    as if,          Spying you                              through
          a whiskey on rocks.                    a mass hysteria
I struttle along,      Making          commonplace.          Ubnutterances,
     and guts                                        your house is blue with two glass eyes

iii.                              quantum entanglement
starts with a single shot.          fired                not the year of my     fathers.
          slow, death starts.     year my mother goes     terminal,
The vacuous scene          chattering,                         Like an elephant
      collapsing     the animals fuming,                              weird winged bugs
     The serious business of.    squishing them, they simply regroup.
And reappear.    , Claire.          I’m stumbling down the thoroughfare.
in a dark,  Pinching what few glittering photons,          I’m trolling.
murky and building up.     start at the bottom,                    working a way
Upwards     Evening,       like a tumbler.                    folding.  itself over
          Feeling contented all around.  squinting,          started clawing
with two glass eyes          feeling for thumbtacks.                    Among
the broad vagaries.                         among the wild visions,          Claire.
. I say I know you better,                            , than.   You could imagine,
     or some other,          but you sock me.          Hard. In the gut instead.

i.                              aimed by magnets
               starts redundant          Futile with a screwdriver, among the wrecks.
,  I am having a ball comma       Describe the house        comma paint
the doorjamb end-stop               these months     spent   a-chatter.
                the sidewalk spinal column                              of a mule that carries me.
Through the broad making-world.            one universe over,
We are inseparable.      And own many cats     the city.                             Large.
   like  viewing an egg,                        From the egg’s interior.
I go about the serious business   strolling,                                    The firmament
Claire.   your pocket watch,          A frayed yellow.                                    T-shirt.
on the narrative fringe.  of the narrative,                  the weightless photons
say       Holding hands                              One universe over. You do not forgive
   me.            ,  all that I can’t                              but Maybe a small change
maybe something less     than the sky,
             maybe something.                              More than the sky could conjure.

ii.                                    if this were a sonnet, I
                     start with all that you can’t remember.                  The gutters
Overloaded.      the funky trinkets,           Weird winged bugs
  on the sill.                  In the air,      When I go about the     business
, strolling home    Claire.                        riding the slipstream
sloe gin.            All drink and whiskey.      the old ferry, a rowboat
,            in my gut.                        smooth as a mirror          Every mad
Artifact     everyone I’ve ever met,                       resembling
Claire dissembling          My wintered axe.            start at the bottom
Work your way upwards.            like a signature saying I’ve been here,
      strolling past,            these fumes,                             on the air
smell like a letter.            All thermal               , all water     Quasars
   bleating,      blackbird saying,      The search light pauses     Pluck
The wings out one at a time.      Chicago and     blackbird, blackbird,
I unaware.    of ours, the               recombinant bodies of the gods.

i.                              focused by a lens
starts with the scene     starts.               December,          Smooth
as a mirror     Hard in the gut                         feels like a tumbler.
          Claire, inflecting               good, by.     walking.
Claire.          the scene of sparks.     among the while, the fission
   The house is blue.     with two glass eyes     among the firmament
no pins to pin you   No, thumbtacks to hold you          But photons and
          all the things that you can’t       .        Among the sloe gin,
your frayed yellow T-shirt. I returned          to you, but you wanting
In a corner of the soiree.  a corner of the prairie,     more than the sky
     This is where the elephant toppled.     when what you remember is
Collided, with               Often     under the webbed foot
               Of my imagining, you     are the entire throng.          Wearing
   your face,     Dust of a brick,     what’s left is               What when
the particle accelerator               paints its          disastered portrait

iv.                        scatter
many phrases starts with shatter.                                    , crossing
           the parking lot, my skin     pixilated in the sodium light,
harsh corundum               skin a vapor trail                    edging
      the slipstream.            Tidy up the floorboards.            the wiggling
infrastructure of a signature.                        says, I’ve been here
           before                    All airs as if a unified field.                  of
  night.      of     Claire.                  Collapse, arrangement
           of bones   where the elephant toppled.                  spells are cast,
Luster in clusters,                        stone I toss          Chicago,
the old ferry   through the house’s eye,  through the firmament     Light
     bulbs wilting,            carnations flickering,      Like a cyst the crick
dribbles outward                         toward   a shore     my lady trickles,
my lady pours          Give up give up,            my sweet canteen
Been taken to the forest.      Honey.                  Among the wild fission.

Jaswinder  Bolina, "Operating Dictates for a Particular Accelerator" from Carrier Wave.  Copyright © 2006 by Jaswinder  Bolina.  Reprinted by permission of Center for Literary Publishing.
Source: Carrier Wave (Center for Literary Publishing, 2006)
More Poems by Jaswinder Bolina