The Light Whizzes Past


poem by Don Pomerantz


So I was looking at this blue jay as it flew by across
a snowy landscape and realized that even though light
is like really really fast still it takes time for the photons bouncing
off the bird’s wings and tail and body and beak and little tiny legs
to travel through the humid air past the few dried dead leaves left
on the dormant oak tree past the paint-chipped grey barn where
the finest cigar wrapping tobacco in the world used to be hung
though it’s not anymore and then past the new-looking house
on the edge of the development and past where my favorite black
and white cow used to hang out though I never knew its name
always there on the roadside on the road to the amusement park
that is now but didn’t used to be a Six Flags

and then the light whizzes past
the bridge of my nose but then of course it has to go through my cornea
and vitreous humor and lens and aqueous humor and hit the cones
on my retina and then the biochemical electrical stuff through the optic nerve
and then a bunch of synaptical crossings and chemical leaps and bounds
and then finally, phew, there’s this image of a bluejay in my head

and feelings and memories
well up, but that’s another story, and what I’m getting at here
is what I’m looking at is actually the past and since everything we see is like
that it’s all the same we never ever see the real present nothing never ever
and smell and sound, well forget them they’re like in the horse and buggy race
down Main St. on the 4th of July compared to the spaceship of light

so here’s me and you
and all the scientists wondering if time travel is possible- and not only
here we have been doing it all along without knowing it in our little mind bubbles
we call the present embedded in the past but we’re like in this Isaac Asimov story
only real and we keep altering the past like about six billion of us at once
and flapping our little butterfly effect wings pushing out all these little waves
of alteration toward the future up and down and up and down and up and over
and over so no wonder things seem a little confused at times and we feel a little lost
and behind and out of touch and out of sync and dizzy

and even when we touch things
by the time the nerve endings in our hands in our face even in our lips jangle
and get the signal up to mix with those light signals from the past going ka ching
ka ching in our minds the electrons in what we touch have gone around the protons
and neutrons like way so many times the microcosms have moved on
and we’re touching the past and sometimes pushing on it and sometimes we think
we’re pulling it towards us and

so just understand that if I seem to be kissing you a little too hard
or pulling you too close squeezing you and driving so deeply inside you even
as you drive deeply inside me and don’t go getting technical on me here
it’s just that I need to get my present as close as I can to your actual for real
one hundred percent present so that I can really know you now and
let you know me here

so that there is nothing between us absolutely nothing between
us nothing not even light and as your electrons begin to drift out of orbit then start
to spin around my nuclei and as my electrons drift then spin around your protons
and neutrons we really finally make it into the present and finally, finally you are
in the present of my mind of my body of me and I’m in the present
of your mind of your body of you and I hear your thoughts, I hear you
I hear you thinking and I hear you think, “and now, and now, and now the future,
the future is ours, it’s ours,  it’s everyone’s, it’s everyone and it’s ours.”