Have You Noticed
That ‘pedantic’ is a pedantic word,
and that in today’s black swan world,
recourse to call something ‘esoteric’
is as exotic as the quixotic is erotic?
That these days no one
ever wends round the bend
to vend their mendings,
not because they can’t,
but because ‘I Goodwilled it’
rolls off the tongue
and sounds so damn dynamic?
That we lost the vocative case
and O boy,
do we miss it?
That prescriptivists and normative linguists
are forever gagging on Hume’s fork
after swallowing it with their slice of humble pie,
washed down with a splash of febrile Fée Verte?
That some say a language ‘deteriorates’
when its lexicon gets richer?
“Teach me your mood, O patient stars!
Who climb each night the ancient sky,
Leaving on space no shade, no scars,
No trace of age, no fear to die.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
those stars of yours aren’t patient.
They’re always pulling at each other,
grappling with their sundry satellites,
comets, accreted astral alluvia, (etcetera)
wrinkling with their tug of war
space-time’s fabric as jostling knees
muss a once-smoothed bedsheet.
And they do leave scars on space;
shades so deep even light won’t escape.
But of course you can’t be blamed
if your gilded orrery didn’t account
for gravitic quirks of general relativity.
Trust me, you’re best not asking
anything from the likes of the stars.
Those supercilious celestial strumpets
send out snapshots of their shining selves
even eons after they’ve lapsed to darkness.
More than vain, they’re inconsiderate—
Bio: Jonathan Louis Duckworth is a current MFA student at Florida International University in Miami, where he works as a teaching assistant. He also serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His work appears in or is set to appear in Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, the Kudzu Review, and Sliver of Stone Magazine.
going supernova just when life’s evolving;
sending out waves of gamma radiation
to shuck the ozone from our firmament
and cull our oceans of whole genera.
Snap back down to Earth, O Poet,
to the Zen of shale and Tao of tar,
to fossils content to wait in static dark,
on the slim chance they’ll be unearthed—
untroubled that the hands that find them
may toss them into a concrete mixer,
never thinking to turn the stones over
and trace with their trembling fingers
a trilobite’s sedimentary daguerreotype,
or the lithographed latticework left
by a meganeura monyi’s wings at rest.