Title: Coiled Rope Haikus
Subtitle: inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Newton’s Sleep”
Notes: Fifth Estate #385, Fall, 2011
SKU: FE-0385-00001311-0018-00001391




flat gray surfaces

curved metal architecture a cold sphere in space

the earth died screaming

epidemics, plagues

starvation, dead ground

above, we orbit

clean children, good water

Caucasian intellectuals

the holograms of

vermont skies or florida

glades o’er white steeples

til one day the burned

wretched woman, with long fits

on her charred african body

the children saw her

first. for a moment, she slipped

into sight, then away.

soon we all saw them:

the dark sick masses, innocent

in their moribund ghosthood.


then more: bison & rocks,

mountains & mud, tribes from before

the industrial age, sleek and strange

the children accepted it, then the women and some men

and the scientists, and the psychologists last of all.

still the chief architect would not see

when the architect’s blind daughter went up

in the mountain, he found her: first a rock, then nothing.

when he reached the summit, the wind blew fresh and cool

among wild spruce and hemlock and fir.

she sat with her dead grandmother, then took his hand

and walked down the mountain, & he knew

the dream and life were the same, each

as inescapable as the other.