DON'T GET ME WRONG: in praise of George Starbuck and his poem "Of Late".

AuthorHaxton, Brooks

My younger colleague told me, when I praised the poem of a dead white man, that this was microaggression. I tried to explain that the poem protested aggression too, during the war in Vietnam. By bashing McNamara, then the Secretary of Defense, the poem advocated peace. My colleague said he advocated peace by bashing me. Differences in scale and point of view may be deceptive. Gamma rays, for example, with a wavelength of one micromicron, leave an infinitesimal fleck in photographs of space where a star far larger than most exploded lightyears from the Milky Way. The Milky Way from out there is another fleck, adrift in the limitless dark with galaxies flung in all directions, each at its core having crushed into a pinhole several million times the mass of the sun. When power bears down, things get full of themselves sometimes and send out bad vibes everywhere. One gamma burst nearby, according to professors in Kansas, killed most living things on Earth. But that was before what we call consciousness, when living things were small, and nobody cared. Lately, hydrogen bombs make bad vibes too, and the atoms...

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