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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Prose Poem: 472 words
Footnotes: 93 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

The God Particle


And again I heard a heavenly voice speaking to me: Proclaim and write thus.
—Hildegard of Bingen, AD 1152 [1]
I heard what was said of the universe,
Heard it and heard of several thousand years;
It is middling well as far as it goes...but is that all?

—Walt Whitman, 1855 CE [2]
I think we have it.
—Rolf-Dieter Heuer, 2012 ?? [3]
 

On the north wind side of the highway, lashed to the first post of the guardrail, a cracked plastic vase, weeping frozen flowers. Last week, mum tissues of blue and white. This week, dead rose red, ghosts of yellow daffodils. And always the cross, old, wooden, rugged. A particular remnant of someone’s lost world Big-Banged into oblivion, expanding into the everydayness of cars speeding by, drivers oblivious to weeks, months, seasons, the eternal care and feeding of this rag-tag garden of many-colored sorrows.

Well, if that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s

§

The band’s packed up, the bar is closed. Still your body curves into mine. Our lips drain the dregs of each other’s vintage. We drift above the trafficked streets, a meteoric riff across the staves of blues in the night, gliding locomotive-like between the sheets of a million billion years, engendering generations, the stuff that dreams are made of. Don’t we think we have, don’t we know we have, every blessed moment in this moment, if only we just drop another nickel in and keep on dancing.

So, let’s break out the booze and have

§

Adam names the final animal just at the crack of the first bolt of lightning. Sweet Jesus you took your time, gripes Noah, stampeding the newest mass of fauna into the Large Hadron Collider, no two by two, no time this time. But haste makes want not waste in this universe, though trilobites, dinosaurs, mastodons scatter. No matter. Molasses sky about to burst, Higgs boson monsoons eternal, six thousand gods bowling protons again. Perhaps this time they’ll sift an Eve from the debris. A woman’s touch would certainly brighten up this hell hole of a jungle.

And suddenly a ball

§

You slam on the brakes, holy shit, you’re spinning, out of control, black ice, what’s a kid doing playing on the side of the highway in this weather, this time of night, Oh Jesus, steer into the spin, steer out of the spin, Please God let me miss the kid, a glow-in-the-dark world or something very much like it bounces off your windshield, your whole life doesn’t flash before your eyes, only that night and that song and your own kids and her, and, just before you hit that first post, you hear yourself singing Is that all there

But wait a minute, wait just a million billion fertile milliseconds

§

Now, let’s take it from the top:

 

 

Notes:

1. In Hildegard von Bingen’s Mystical Visions: Translated from Scivias; translator, Bruce Hozeski (Bear & Company, 1986), page 4.

2. From Section 41 of “Song of Myself” in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Poem was first published without sections as the first of twelve untitled poems in the original (1855) edition of Leaves of Grass.

3. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), quoted in “I Think We Have It”: Is the Higgs Boson a Disappointment? by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New York Times (5 July 2012).

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 2, March 2020

is the author of the poetry collection At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, November 2018). His second book, The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder, will be released early in 2020. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; and the Wichita Broadside Project. His work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology award; he was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry; and he read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and the Chikaskia Literary Festival in 2018 and 2019.

Dean has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, and serves as Event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

 
 
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