models of the solar system



Resonance- its a rare and beautiful thing…for years I’ve been in love with a poem by a classmate from Andrei Codrescu’s poetry class- back when he played puppet-master and I was tied to Anne Sexton….oooh! the fire there!

I only remembered parts of it- which I quickly jotted down so I wouldn’t forget- and pieced into the beginning of my portfolio.

Carolyn Chun sent me the whole poem this evening, and what is beautiful must be shared, so here it is in all its glory…


models of the solar system

from her cordoned window,
a girl observed in the night sky a lunar eclipse,
a round shadow cast by a round planet.

begin. premise: perfection. to this end symmetry
of form, elegance of rhythm. centrality of perception.
concentric spheres: earth inside the sphere containing
the orbit of the moon, inside the sphere containing
the orbit of Mercury, then Venus, the sun, Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn, all inside the sphere containing the
fixed stars. beyond the stars heaven, purgatory, hell,
eternity pulled taut in every direction (breathe into it).

what’s the expiration date on this? better use up the
ground beef before it goes bad. the Vidalias
in the bottom drawer have begun to rot—why
did we get so many? why did you leave? strange—

again. premise: perfection. to this end alignment
of observation with intuition. Copernicus’ heliocentric
model, in which circular orbits are unchanging, moving
forward and backwards in time to encompass eternity with
each gently sweeping revolution of round shouldered planet.

how long can I believe in the perfect circles?
roundfaced moon, center of a Black-Eyed Susan,
zero’s empty circle, ripe orange circle—expiring
in the crisper. wasn’t infinity better to hold on to?
the circle drawn in the sand? the circular stones
falling from hands? and you, my prodigal circle.

again. premise: perfection. to this end simplicity of
practice. Keppler’s elliptical orbits describe the winding
solar system.

but what has been always and will be always are
clear—the fixed orbits, from periapsis to apoapsis,
eyes meeting and then moving away. what has the
ability to hold you except the universe? what is your
trajectory besides momentum? what keeps you
burning—do you know I am sometimes awake all night?

again. premise: perfection. to this end completeness
of thought. Einstein’s general relativity bending of
spacetime. the flavor of unification, the taste of food
consumed in a dream. what can we do? how can we
know this is true? the universe, we are told, is
expanding at an increasing rate into dark cold unknown.
that beautiful sea. that endless night. unquenched drowning.

-Carolyn Chun


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