Kant’s Universal History

I come now to that part of my theory which gives its greatest charm, by the sublime idea
which it presents of the plan of the creation.
– Immanuel Kant, Universal Natural History and the Theory of the Heavens

This Earth slows for me, or it slows altogether.
And they hand me a prize from Berlin.
Sat in a gold adorned room, crossed the courtyard
passed the fountain, should be proud –

but the retardation of the Earth, it’s merely the Earth doing this.
Some unseen force of God.
Not me.

Just like this Milky Way that I am staring at tonight
through my telescope. Once these astronomers thought
these spots of light filled all the heavens
and the heaven of heavens without order and
without intention. But here
through this telescope
I can see.

Through this eye,
my camera obscura.

It must be our brains.
These marvellous brains
that have constructed
space and time.

But I cannot explain these processes.
How this data arranges.
Gives order to the chaos.

I Cant.

(The name
I
changed
and hid).

And so begins

my silent decade.

* * * * *

Jess Taylor is the founder of The Emerging Writers Reading Series (http://ewreading.wordpress.com). She is also a fiction and non-fiction writer, a poet, an artist, and a musician. After growing up in the remote and often forgotten town of Palgrave, Ontario, she has moved to Toronto, Ontario. She is currently attending the University of Toronto for their English in the Field of Creative Writing MA Program. To read, watch, and see more of Jess Taylor, check out www.jesstaywriter.com.

This is her first contribution to Snake-Oil Cure.

Astral Heeds

he moon gazed down upon
All the seas and lands,
Began to weep, but ceased
And only smirked:

“Let the seven billion vermin
Perish by the sewer
They have unleashed”

“And the animals will go”
So the stars rejoined, “also”,

“Too bad. Sacrifices sometimes
Must be made,
For the greater good
Of the universe and all”
Was the moon’s pert reply.

“Yes,” the stars enthused,
“We can say (with Ezra)
That the terrorists are the antenna
Of what remains,
Of what once was deemed
Human kind;
They’ve smelt the future
And their reactions
Are keen, and quite fine,
Spots of exploding honesty
Amidst the suckling plasma
Of lies, and cowardice, and other pus.”

“But then,” the moon returned,
“Or rather, maybe not the entire
Seven billion should be wasted,
Just that scurf
That floats upon the top,
Say, a good quarter billion or so,
Those chattering
In their cups,
Every one of ’em
A squatting atheistic sigh
Of empathy
And gloating knowledge
Of themselves,

To have been born
Just now, and here,
The zenith of emboweled enraptured
Freedom
And truth
And development,
Excepting what’s to come –
Whole administrations of voracious
Opening
Like distended arseholes, unending
Rows, stacks, networks of ’em,
Quivering, expectant, suffocating
Miasmas of More, stuffed
Full and wandering round
Shopping malls of integration
And adaptation
And targeted
Insatiable, instantaneous, universal, plunged
In expert certainty
That the world is educating
Into rightness, at the end, at long last.”

Then the moon and stars
Dropped their colloquy
And wandered back
To their pending orbits
And forgot
The blue sphere floating
In its own emptiness,
Still evolving
Amidst a history
That has stopped.

But the earth itself
Had heard their despise
And through the ether
Began its own plaintive hiss:

“The future
Is just more
Technology
Human rights
And complacency
Satisfaction
And dignity
For these lice

That continually
Self-fumigate
But never die,
Keep twisting and gnawing
Crawling and burning
Perpetuating
Their orgies of triviality
And worthless
Whining
Equality,
As they move towards
Their singularity
Of democratic
Addiction;
While their weight
(Since I bear ’em)
Has definitely declined
With less women
And few men
Although their numbers
Are a total disorder;
It seems the whole race
Is absolving
From anything
That once drove it
To be something
And easeful Nothing
Is baying
Ushering in
A celebration
Of self-congratulation; –
For, these animals
(With their “dignity” and “rights”)
Are having an ascension
And are becoming
Billions of celebrities
Circulating round
The circumference of machines
Which entertain
And drip-feed
And determine
What they may be,
The final dissolution
Into that contusion
Of contempt
Which always threatened

To devour;
But now, or soon
Is made manifest
By the universal resolution
And acclamation
Of all their developed
Nations.”

And here, the earth paused,
But its caw had been heard
And as it resumed
The entire heavenly host
Joined in chorus; the sun
The moon, the stars
And every other planet
All festering, barked:

“Let’s return
To the spectacle
Of relentless
Equivalence,
Of beings vying
To display
Their infinite respect
For each others
Beingness,
A comedy,
Since, from their very own
Latest philosophy
None of ’em possess
Any reality,
All being just a flux
Of amorphous death,
A shrug, or kink
In the infinite
Spuming waves
Of atomic nothingness.

And yet they insist
And squawk and cry
On their very own
Infinite worth,
And that their rights
Are also infinite;
Infinite to consume
(As far as banality may)

All that they can
Within their ever expanding
Precious life spans.

It’s enough to make
A rabid dog
Vomit up
Enough ludicrousness
And disgust
To feed a thousand
Swifts
For a thousand suns.”

And then they ended,
And those sounds trailed off
Into the spaces
Of the unending silences
Undetectable
By any radiation
Or sensory speculations.

* * * * *

Steven Jacks is a Brisbane-based writer now lost to the Chinese economy.

*

This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

A Brief History of the Universe

Darragh McManus’ poem “A Brief History of the Universe”, read by Snake-Oil Cure‘s editor DLR.

Click through to read the poem for yourself! (more…)