As I try to orient myself to the new political realities before us, I find myself diving beneath the waves of political analysis and commentary to deeper levels. I have finished J. D. Vance’s powerful memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, which speaks of the displaced and often traumatized mountain people who live in my beloved Appalachians. I am also reading Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in their Own Land, an empathetic study of the Right-wing culture of southern Louisiana, both of which I strongly recommend to you.
But then I find myself going deeper, down to the nearly archetypal images that move like tectonic plates beneath the episodes and events that frighten and disorient us in these times. This was an election of images at the tectonic level. These we can only approach in dreaming and in poetry or song. Two weeks ago it was the robin and today the Black Hole. Your reflections in response are always appreciated.
The astrophysicists proclaim
Black Holes Exist.
I believe them.
Yes, within my mind I see them
Black against the Black of space.
But now I ask
What are they?
Are they Everything that looks like
Are they Nothing that is also
Are they the narcissistic ego
of a cosmic body
swallowing the praise of every star?
I think I’ve seen them walking on Fifth Avenue
and preening in their offices
swallowing the little lights around them
sucking in their hopes of everlasting fame
leaving nothing in their wake
readying their vacuumed contents for a vast explosion
littering the universe with burning gas
the trumpet of collapse.