Lux et Veritas —for Yvonne The light from all the stars we see goes on to other galaxies although those stars are dead. Where on earth does it end? In non- existent time? Does light lose speed like cars in neutral? Is “fading light” anomalous? Not quite. In empty space light waves maintain their speed until they interact with us or meet other resistance. Light does not distain a vacuum, but glass or water ebbs its flow, and Bose Einstein Condensate can slow it to one mile per hour. Black holes swallow light forever. All Nature does its bit. So where the hell does that leave you and me? The truth of light confounds eternally. B & B Let Basquiat & Banksy paint away, no cityscape untouched, four-handed art on walls and bridges, cement or brick—array of Day-Glo, long-tailed rats; vandals, one part anonymous, one not. Subversive rap or hip-hop punk, epigrams, graffiti dark— satiric cryptic criminals so apt to cop your politics or style. No narc could get to Basquiat sauf Basquiat lui-même, while Banksy lives to twirl the torch—encore!— in English Undergrounds or worldwide streets. Can’t stem the urge, he’s there for us, fifteen minutes more of . . . what? Expressive stuff! Astounding play! More is thy due than more than all can pay. Scathe To suffer mediocrity is worse than living large, than having everything or having nil—no art or manner, curse or cause that makes the morning sing, survives the day, consumes the month and year until, with decades down, you ascertain what failure is. Or triumph. Then what? The sere approach of death, with naught to gain or lose. The golden mean is meaningless. The gall of life is not to live. Paralysis of compromise or couch constructs a wall between uncertain death, uncertain bliss. The mediocre soul does not tempt Fate, and thus condemns itself—to wait. And wait. Balm No unguents, ointments, oils or creams. No salves or lotions, viscous simples. Hold the myrrh and frankincense, and hold the gold and laves. Let Nature breathe upon your skin. Demur in all things possible. Physicians’ drugs and medicines are Hippocratic lies akin to those of missionary thugs who’d break your arm as soon as bend it. Sighs and tears do not aid healing. Faith alone might work as well. Placebos litter all the world like cancer in the marrow bone. What then? Become your body’s crystal ball. We grow to age, and age to cloud our skin with wrinkles, scabs and moles. And heartfelt sin.
Claude Clayton Smith, professor emeritus of English at Ohio Northern University, is the author of eight books and co-editor/translator of four others. His own work has been translated into five languages, including Russian and Chinese. For further information, see his website.