Pluto, Or Bust
The edge of the edge of the edge . . .
After Pluto, then what?
More nothing. Ruin engaged
with the absolutes of nothingness.
Dark bodies of the void.
Tumbling ice. Imaginary fragments.
A ballet of rubble.
The first astronaut to Pluto said
what what what.
He saw the star was a sun
and said what.
He scanned Charon, muttering what.
He surveyed the starscape, longing
for home in the primordial whatness.
Pluto, which was, but now isn’t, a planet.
Like the tenth planet. Like Planet X.
Like a rogue planet discovered by accident.
By the Hardy Boys.
By wistful intuition.
Pluto, last stop on the Interstellar Express.
A buggy blot on a lens or a mirror.
A snowball thrown by a once-playful god,
a god grown vindictive and angry
among the excesses of pure abandon.
The Big Bang was simply a drawer
being slowly pulled open.
Space didn’t expand, the rooms got smaller.
Quasars are actually restaurants on fire.
Galaxies, we’ve discovered, are really
bathroom lights left on all night long.
What you think of as vast distances
are an optical illusion, the vacuous void
in fact a church hall for hire.
Those aren’t planets you’re seeing either,
they’re Christmas baubles,
the sun a cigarette end
glowing in an overfilled ashtray.
A friend says the stars are sticks burning,
but I have to disagree:
stars are pimples on the cheeks of God.
As for how the cosmos ends,
think of an adolescent sulk,
an initial enthusiasm petering out
like a fad or ardour.
“And at night I love to listen to the stars. It is like
five hundred million little bells.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
More stars than toads or moths or damselflies.
More stars than knots or wedding rings or roses.
From under my pillow I can hear the stars reflect
upon the hideous triumphs of function and form.
They influence my moods and fads in furniture.
The tears of the stars are what water our vegetable gardens.
Black stars. Furnaces of indigo. Of indefinite colour.
Stars that creak in the wind. That create weather.
Fallen stars I collect like acorns or raspberries.
Aloof stars, haughty and remaining at a distance.
Copper stars on silver wires, suspended from the impossible.
Flowers of wordless fragrances gathered at the river’s bend.
Little explosions taking forever to divulge their secrets
to the sleepy child, the fox, the worm, the hare.
A star-quelled night in a curious village.
I’m awake and listening to stories of epic proportions.
Tales of gods and animals, of eternal love and despair.
Saints wailing on a lush sward in Capricorn.
Souls in Aquarius singing an epoch-long mal aria.
Faraway suns, their arms burdened with purple planets.
Bright wells serving the will of the people, the strangest people,
who are very like us, and very much different,
who wish upon stars, studying their bones, and who wonder –
outlandish questions for which no answers exist.
Countless sums beyond number.
Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ (Silenced Press), ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If’ (Pski’s Porch), ‘Hearsay’ (The Poet’s Haven).