We complete our Holiday Sampler series with a pesky li’l sample from Acre’s first poetry offering—by T. R. Hummer—about which Derek Mong recently noted: “The pleasure of After the Afterlife is in watching a masterful American poet try to answer this most American of questions—who am I?—in various ways.”
T. R. Hummer: As should be clear to anyone reading my work, my earliest literary influence was George Langelaan’s short story “The Fly,” and my earliest musical one Lionel Hampton’s “Flyin’ Home.” In high school I read Lord of the Flies, and when, in 1978, I heard The Cramps recording “Human Fly,” my fate was sealed. All seriousness aside, a certain obsession with modalities of sentience collided in my head with a fascination with the difficulty of catching flies from the air barehanded (not to say with chopsticks), and the result is this poem, which I present here as representative of my book After the Afterlife:
As for the Housefly
Bashing its head against the kitchen window,
its sentience is a quasar, it has lived
Twenty fly years trying to understand transparency,
while for me, only half a day has passed
Since it blew in the back door as I was getting the mail.
But I hear the cosmos howling fiercely inside
Its minuscule cranium. Time is compressed in its soul
like neutrons in plasma. When I walk
Across the kitchen, I am continental drift, I move
my arms like a spiral galaxy. No wonder
It is frantic as I open the pane. How long must it take
for the air to cool and the sun to sink into
Its consciousness, how long for the speed of light to change?