These aliens, these made-up worlds
of ours, are ways of making
We see beauty and think
Man's measure grips the world,
chokes meaning from it.
But you can't escape cages by studying their bars.
Laws prison licence
in slow spaces, snagged time.
So the best of science or of crafty fictive lies
presses us into true darkness,
away from the lamppost.
Beware of the snaky swoop of integrals.
Math's mad arabesques can conceal far
more than they reveal.
It's strangeness we must seek, not
more urns so Greek,
with their Pythagorean certainties.
We must live in the jagged outlands,
knowing truth may not fit snugly,
can be ugly,
and all our own.
Dropped the key again!
Would happen in the middle of the goddamn night!
While I rummage in murk for a brassy key,
the joke's not so ironic any more.
I do search under the lamppost
because it's brighter there.
A spreading umbrella glow
of all we're apt to know,
a cozy spot to crawl sea-creature slow,
wanting eternal night to end.