We used our texting machines
to look up the definition of soul
in the middle of class―
thumb-joints at work
above the stitched paper
of actual books in which
we’d been reading
about a Prophetess
one of the human cave-bound Time Machines…
She had travelled a long way through the four dimensions
to be with us.
From someone’s mouth to someone’s ear.
to tablet, papyrus, parchment, paper, the liquid crystal light
of our computer screens―
Liquid crystal light they’d really
called it that,
at Marconi Wireless.
“See if you can hear anything,
Mr. Kemp!” Marconi had cried, the day they sailed the letter S
across the sea―I loved
the synesthesia of that, See if you can hear, they’d coaxed some radio waves to propel the alphabet
through the air―
Was that Marconi wishing
he was a liquid crystal light and not a
break of bones
that had to fear the future―
A human-headed bird, the Egyptians said.
A butterfly, an innermost.
I was afraid to enter: wewantyoursoul.com the students
laughed and laughed―
soul-adorning, soul-afflicting, soul-amazing―
They really called it that, the ropes they wound
round oil skin
to keep out sea and storm, our sailing men―
who sent the cheeriest message you could imagine
to usher in
the Telegraphic Age: Thanks
The soul, it was an ellipse in white, it fizzed,
their chaplains said, with God’s
“breath of life”―
So they could travel
through length and width and depth and time and
man a ship―
in a small room
would tap out a message―
to a far man on a far shore, and they
would understand one another…
He shared all roads and he braved all seas with me,
all threats of the waves and skies is what the Hero says
of his dead father―but it sounded like soul to me.
of the ship of flesh I had to ride, where “I”
was a third thing in the closed grip
of the body’s vise―
Marconi, he thought he’d hear
the agony of Christ
with a sensitive dial to help him sieve.
for eli lama sabachthani no song lost―
no impress of tongue and teeth that made a sound, ever lost―
if you had a receiver―
a virgin say, in a mountain crag, or a brain-bot
from the nano-future, did it
You’d have a house
for a god’s mouth
and it would message you
Rescued from what is what I’m trying to mean.
Rescued from what you have to fear the future
more than you used to which sounded like the soul
waving a series of flags at me―
We wanted arrival to be instant
because we didn’t want to be separate
from what we loved.
Wireless, weightless and omniscient is how we
refined our machines―
We had a dream
that we could smash the bans
of matter and time and
still be alive―
Was that the soul, wishing
we would invent the body
out of existence,
so many of us now
enthralled by doom…
The students peer so deep into their hand-held screens they
look like Diviners.
a scrying Sybil at the world’s
scribbled-on leaves thrown out of their caves
and into the wind―
The only part of the Epic
I make them read, just after
the crew is borne ashore, but before
the walk amongst the dead―
The part between.
Where there’s a body, agonized by light.
And someone lost.
And a query―