Fri. May 24th, 2024

“Today’s the Day”

Poetry by Renee Y. Brown

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(September 22, 2011)

by Renee Y. Brown

Young man
Have you heard?
Today is the day that changes everything –
You can’t break the laws of physics
They say
Nothing can go faster than light –
Dr. Einstein was adamant about that.


Today a bunch of physicists
In Switzerland,
But from many nations
Working together,
Despite alternating waves
Of political and economic
They had clocked
A sub-atomic particle, nearly massless
But there, nevertheless
Zooming faster
Right on past
That old clunker
The speed of light –
Now that’s supposed to be
As impossible as
Impossible can be.


But neutrinos
Apparently don’t care
About breaking the ultimate speed limit
Lucky for them
There is no
Universal highway patrol
To give them a ticket.


Of course it won’t be accepted as uncontestable fact
Until other physicists duplicate the math
Down to one-60 billionths of a second –
But I’m not as picky as that.
My money goes
On the neutrinos;
If they’re faster than light,
They’re already where they’re supposed to be –
That’s good enough for me.


But if the most absolute
Of the entire universe
Upon which rests
All in existence
Isn’t quite so absolute –
What does that say
About our reality?


I believe one could conjecture
Postulate the possibility
Extrapolate to the conclusion
That nothing
Is impossible –
Even you


Today is the day that changes everything
Young man
All human knowledge –
From lighting a fire
To particle colliders
From individual consciousness
To how we perceive
Comes into question;
And the purely imaginary
Becomes surely
A possibility.


If nothing is impossible
Is anything
Truly insane?
If everything is possible
How can
The mind be
To the brain?


Look at me,
Young man.
Tell me what you see.
My hair is called ‘white’
But yours is
Platinum blond.
The difference is age
And gender.
That’s an unbreakable law, too
But is it a rule
Of reality
Or just society?
The neutrinos tell me
“Question reality
Screw society.”
I think I’m with the neutrinos
On that one.
After all
They broke the ultimate law,
Blew the biggest of rules
Gave the finger to Einstein
And made grown physicists
Put their chalk down and cry.
Those party-animal particles
Ain’t no fools.
They also told me
As they zipped by
“To hell with what everyone thinks
Everyone’s wrong;
They were wrong about us,
So you go right ahead
And fuck that young guy.”
Hey, I can’t apologize
For the language
Sub-atomic particles
When I
Blow the rules.


That’s not all I can blow,
Young man;
How about your mind
Or more?
Time travel may be possible
But it’s a bore,
I don’t care about the done dead past
When I can build a table-top particle accelerator
Create a wormhole or two
Explore alternate realities
Or make my own from scratch.
Maybe I’ll meet God,
Maybe I’ll be god
Or preferably
Spend a few eternities
With you.
I’d gladly design
A customized universe
To please your moods and desires
And fill it with stars to match your hair and eyes.
If you don’t think I can do it,
Just give me a try.


That my hair is white, and yours
Is only a perception
That we can question
And form our own
Hypothesis –
If Einstein could be off
About the ultimate law
In the universe
And throw into chaos
All the equations
Which explain the heavens
Then you and I,
Young man
Can be like neutrinos
And break all the rules
The laws, the commandments
And several taboos.
Age is a number
And now, even physicists know
Numbers ain’t necessarily
Like black holes can alter time and
Warp space
The distance between
Your age and mine
Can be breached
If you’re willing to take
That quantum multi-dimensional
Space-time continuum
Leap –
Be a neutrino
I promise you won’t regret
Making the trip and never stopping at all.
It’s not what you think; it’s what you should know –
You’re already there
Wherever you go.


Young man
Look at me now
Tell me, what do you see?
It’s not at all what you saw a few minutes ago.
Here as I speak, me to you
Us, everyone, everything
In the universe
All have neutrinos passing through –
Those quick little buggars are everywhere;
‘Who’s there?’


Young man,
Time is time
It comes and it goes, and maybe, it
If so –
Then one moment is forever, and forever is now
Young man, it’s time
Come to me.
You’re experiencing
What I told you –
Today is the day that changes


“The Gospel of Jon”
by Renee Y. Brown

Jon L.
You don’t exist now any more than you did then
But you’re still in me like an immaculate conception
I’ve been carrying for decades and it
Will never be born, or aborted.
My love was nailed to your cross, died for your sins
And hasn’t been resurrected yet.


Your holy ghost haunts all the rooms of my life
In a house built of flesh and bone, blood and tears.
Portraits of other men since you line the hallways
In frames hanging crooked, dusty from neglect.
Pictures are memories stored in old photographs of black-and-white,
Paper turning yellow and brown over the years,
And aging color snapshots, their once-bright hues blanched by time.
The farther ago the blurrier they get,
Counting backwards in time like history dated in B.C. years.
Names long forgotten but inscribed in a lost testament
Missing for eons
Though the archeological hunt goes on.
You, in contrast, are an icon of brilliant colors,
Detailed and exquisite
With emerald eyes,
Golden hair,
Halo still intact and radiant.
This hallowed visage
Set in a gilded frame glittering with jewels
Resplendent, illuminated by white light
I keep on display in the museum of my mind
Closed to the public,
A shrine that only I can enter.


Sometimes, in a delirium of devotion
I have visions of you —
Beside me, inside me,
On the wedding night that never was.
Your spirit fills me and I take the holy veil, vowing chastity and piety
To my incorporeal


I compose hymns not for choirs;
Just my solitary voice raised in exaltation
Proclaiming our inviolate love,
Consumed with a zealot’s passion for this religion
Of one,
For the One
Who brought me such an everlasting kind of life.


Jon L.
Your sacred image is seared upon the shroud of my flesh,
Your body as it was, perfect and hard, burned into mine
Full frontal iconography
On a relic no one seeks anymore.
You, the Alpha and the Omega
Of a life to be built upon your rock;
And you, the author of Revelations
That brought this world to apocalyptic destruction.
I believed
In the resurrection and the life,
But I was too early
For your first sermon;
I sat alone in the pews and waited
But you never came.
Your second sermon was preached to a full house;
Though I pounded on the doors
I couldn’t get in, and you never spoke there again.
You moved on to a place I could not go,
My name anathema
In your holy-of-holies.
Left behind, the lone worshipper,
I kept a candle lit upon the altar
In faith
Of your return.
Now my knees are scraped and bruised
From all that praying
And the church is falling into ruin,
Brick-by-brick crashing to the ground, becoming dust.


Now what I pray for is a different kind of miracle
And in this prayer
I put other faces over yours, and someone else’s voice speaks
The Holy Words;
Miraculously, he believes!
And I believe, too.
I lift the veil
A martyr no more
I give up my sainted crown; my devotion, piety and chasteness
Are not required
In this newly-consecrated place —
For I hereby establish the unorthodox church of
And sing the Halleluiah chorus with the one who is not you.


Jon L.
The debate continues on whether you were human or divine
But meanwhile,
Ardently, I pray for a Second Coming —
Not of you,
But of love.


“In Translation”

By Renee Y. Brown

“Blinding,” you say in British, “absolutely blinding.”
“And you,” I say, “are drop-dead gorgeous.”
You look at me like I just diagnosed you with a disease.
“Who, exactly,” you say, “is supposed to ‘drop dead,’ you, or I?”
Do we need subtitles to communicate?
Two lovers divided by a common language,
A language divided by two cultures, two continents, 235 years of separation and two wars for independence, both of which we won, or we’d still be you.
And I wouldn’t be who I am.
An American.
And we wouldn’t need translation.
“Well,” I start, “while ‘drop dead’ doesn’t sound so good
It’s not literal;
Like a lot of American or British phrases
It sounds horrible but means something wonderful.
‘Blinding’ is medieval torture, but in British it’s ‘fantastic,’ I know.
But ‘drop dead gorgeous’ is ‘blinding’ times a thousand.
If you correlate and reverse the meanings as in being blind is better than being dead;
Now there’s nothing wrong with being blind of course but there’s something really wrong with being dead,
Not that I have anything against dead people,
Some of my favorite people are dead people,
I just don’t want to join them real soon…
So ‘drop dead gorgeous’ is more intense than ‘blinding,’
Because while you say I look wonderful, good enough to strike you blind,
In American I say, ‘you’re so stunningly beautiful you’re drop dead gorgeous because just looking at you is gonna stop my heart and I’ll drop dead right here and now,’
Which is way more extreme than going blind.
Have you ever seen the true night sky,
From the top of the Rocky Mountains,
Or in the middle of the Mohave Desert,
Or deep into the vast wilderness of Texas Big Bend country,
Where the sky is not obscured
By civilization…
It’s the real night sky humans saw
Every night for one-hundred millenniums
Until a century ago?
A sky that’s clear and pure and so dark
That it’s blinding,
Full of stars from horizon to horizon without any darkness at all,
Only brilliant glittering white light –
That’s an American definition of ‘drop dead gorgeous,’ and I know it because I’ve seen it;
And you’re my definitive British ‘drop dead gorgeous,’ and I know that because I’ve seen you.”
Does my translation work at all
To cross the linguistic divide?
If it doesn’t, I can simplify;
No translation needed here –
I love you,

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3 thoughts on “Today’s the Day”
  1. Thank you, Grainne, for the outstanding page layout and all your hard work in formatting my poems and for the personal attention and assistance and advice and encouragement you give me as an author! I truly appreciate it!

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