The Infinite

by SARAH V. SCHWEIG

 

 

A man is reading THE INFINITE in the city of trash
where a mute clown, from a velvet valise, unfolds herself
to the reluctant applause of a gathering crowd. 

In the crumbling amphitheater, we find ourselves,
as we find themselves in our meager lives sometimes,
suddenly and without purpose.

On point, the clown spins herself twice around.
The amphitheater, site of a resistance once, contains us now. 
All revolutions are over in the city of clowns,

where a man is reading THE INFINITE.
THE INFINITE will tell you nothing about how to live
in the world of trash, where pirate restaurants thrive

and tourists gawk at the old sites of resistance.
From this spinning point, in this accidental amphitheater,
all life seems a meager motley performance. So what. 

The old men of the city of trash were boys once.
Together, they learned violence, the spinning point
of revolutions. Now, toward the accidental world,

I practice my own kind of resistance, 
while a man is reading THE INFINITE. To the applause
of a growing crowd, the ballerina clown spins twice 

around. Her performance will tell us nothing,
but people will record her performance in their lit devices
and dispatch it to cities of indifference, through the cloud.

Scientists have discovered a planet much like ours,
but we’ll never reach it. So what. We gather together
for a moment in the city of clowns, without resistance. 

My lover closes THE INFINITE and begins
to regard the performance he previously resisted. 
The ballerina clown has selected two men from the audience. 

They were boys once, the two strangers,
standing on stage, awaiting her mimed instructions. 
She switches the phonograph and carries on her dance.

We have forgotten our lives and devices
as the sun shines down from its place in the infinite,
and we sweat in our condition without resistance. 

I take my lover’s calloused hand. In his other,
he clutches THE INFINITE. On stage, the clown
is delivering instructions to the participants.

Obedient, the strangers stand, facing, linking arms,
as the ballerina clown, facing the crowd and linked men, 
takes a few exaggerated steps back, in anticipation 

of some coming action, music blaring. Thus, 
in the spinning middle of our passing lives, 
we lose ourselves in the nothing that's about to happen.