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History Lesson

Solar System

So, the solar system, the whole of it as we
Know it, with the by now familiar planets
Orbiting steadily around the sun--this
Was actually a wholesale delusion first
Fostered by my grandmother. That's my
Grandmother on my mother's side--my
Other grandmother was . . . a god-fearing
Seamstress! But Nana, as she was called, the
Creator of firmaments, was stern, serving
Flat-bottomed cookies on a silver tray.
Though I always thought she was kidding,
Secretly. Pretending to be stern because--
It was more amusing that way to dominate.

She first drew the solar system on a napkin,
Like a plan for a paper mobile, to hang over
The cribs of speculating babies . . . The
Crudely drawn, but tight, schematic rigging,
Was infallible in her hands. The power of
An image shows in how much thematic
Retroactive history it can collect to it's side.
Like within it's nebula. It was during her reign
That the solar system, per se, burst into minds
Everywhere. Up and down the block, and
Fanning out from Catalpa Road . . . the solar
System leapt into being! Like everyone had
Actually seen it. Like the Fourth of July--the
Fireworks display in your own backyard.

Everybody thinking of the analogies then.
How we are revolving, but around a center--
How the fleet postman embodies a time-old
Messenger of the Gods. In the new collective
Memory! She put us back in the running, in
A universe, and one much quainter than
Suspected. With the planets and the sun as
A new source for thinking. Ah, Mercury!
Emblazoned on their coats! How much they'd
All heard and read about this from the past.
Parts of a model kit, now finally assembled.

Here is where the blue sky came into focus.
The genuine color of teacups. Oval teacups.
One of which I have on a high shelf in my
Office. With other family artifacts like the
Globe-lamp of the green planet . . . Earth.
The red dust accumulating on the books--
The work goes on, filling in grandmother's
Aerial view. No more three-storied universe.
End of all educated baggage. End of guilt!
No place for the kingdom of heaven but here.

People have their preferences, about the solar
System, attaching different personalities to
The atmosphere of, say, Saturn or Venus. Once
There, it's wide open to creative thinking.
Main thing is the stability of the system as a
Whole. With an occasional cloaked comet
Coming by like a travelling dignitary. Science
Fiction writers flourished during her reign.
Routing the establishment with prophecies.
My grandmother, Nana, creator of firmaments,
She brought about the general accessibility.
By putting it down, the image, on a napkin.
Now do you understand? Thinking began to
Haul in the old creation. Technology sprang
Into being, brashly, without apologies . . .

Experience says: first come the bulldozers,
Digging out the plaza, then the dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs are retroactively attached. I think,
There is a past, but it just happened. In it's
Entirety. Creation itself inserted into thought.
What? It's like this: Creation can't happen
In the past because you have to have a complete
Creation to have a past. Most prosaic truth.
The idea that enters when creation is done.
Time is running backwards. Space--opening up.
Every teeming microcosm. The solar system
Inside the atom. The salt crystals spilled . . .
The revelation of where we are,
your head in your hands.

And when Nana, creator of firmaments, died,
My mother made it seem like it was the rest of
Us, who died. Onward to a greater reality went
The austere server of tea and cookies. She left
Us down here in the land of funny shadows.
And now we live in her solar system--which
Cannot be altered, of course, for it's creator
Is out of reach. Creators are uniformly out
Of reach, once they've accomplished it. Ah
Yes. And here, I reach my true podium voice.

We live in a world of second-hand devices,
Environments you might say. Once removed,
And many times unfinished, kind of sketchy
Home improvements. Creation systems . . .
If you can get to the current executive level,
Identify someone who is in charge of some
Area, and they are still alive, you can swerve
Them, influence them, have a royal party.
Become contemporary. Talk to teenagers--
Who are hurtling into lives you
can hardly imagine.

Edward Williams c 2001
Rochester, New York

History Lessons 1 - 2 - 3 - 4  Afterlife Hotel