NOTES ON EVENT HORIZON        

This was a dedication of my first volume of poems to my old friends the Van Ettens. Peetie had for many years been taken up with sewing, and certainly poetry bears striking similarities. I thought of the Van Ettens as arising here and there like stars or sequins in the fabric of my explanations, or maybe being sucked down into the black hole of my illogic. Although fumbling is a word that might suggest itself to bystanders as an alternative vision of creation, I would hope that my needling comes to a point now and then, or at least appears to. A crochet is a knitting needle. A crochet is also a whimsey, a perverse fancy, and a crotchet in music is a quarter note, named for the one hook on its staff. Peter had mentioned to me that a fried of his had needed to have his liver replaced, even though he had stopped drinking a decade before. We pay for our debauchery, sooner or later, whether or not we repent. The drunkard’s path is a traditional quilting pattern, Cathy points out.

This caution reminded me of a story the nuns used to tell of a saint who, on the way to rescue a woman from drowning, made a hasty genuflection in the nave. Despite his perfect and charitable life, that little error cost him three hundred years in hell. I was particularly impressed that the nuns had such privileged information, and could only guess at it source. The only sane response to such treats may be to party outside their logical set, and keep on sinning, or drinking, weaving our drunken patterns into starts despite the lurking inevitability of our and their undoing.

An event horizon is the seemingly innocuous surface of a black hole. Like many works of art, it takes an infinite amount of time for a person to approach such events, although the process is reputed to seem quick enough to a casual observer. (Again, one wonders at those who have surmised so much.) Once entered, such horizons can never be left, as the saint must atone almost eternally for his haste, although three centuries is miniscule in the litany of hell’s prevalent remunerations. I suppose three hundred years in hell is a small price to pay for my transgressions