This is Not the Beginning

~ in the manner of a Craig Santos Perez "recycling;" 
    and after “Aristotle” by Billy Collins

Almost everything has perhaps happened.
This is where we’re stuck, searching for
that original light, how it’s gone from the eye of the fish that wriggled onto land,
the words from a lost eden indecipherable from textspeak on a screen.
Think of Aristotle’s idea of beauty, his first principles of order and symmetry,
a dancer dead center on a stage performing;
multiplied as virtual, through millions of screens.
Is this the beginning of the proverbial end?
As first-person narrators introducing ourselves,
sometimes we’ll talk of chosen rather than biological family.
A child whistles an old movie tune in the alley, not knowing 
       where he first heard it.
Ultramarathoners are studying the terrain and weather,
pulling long swigs from gallon-sized BPA-free water bottles.
This is still early on, years before the very last final thunderclap; no 
       rescue ship, no rosy-fingered dawn.
Skateboarders congregate below the expressway to admire
murals a la Banksy on gray concrete
though they didn't learn figure drawing with charcoal sticks.
They'll try a new flip, kickflip, impossible.
This is an opening perhaps, a move:
something that proceeds, refreshingly, without cold calculation?
This is the part 
where the wheels of gas-guzzling vehicles begin to turn up in empty lots,
where quiet electric cars and hybrid vans whiz through the streets
before or after the bridges’ brittle collapse.
This is the in-between.
That thing once called complication is better
addressed as liminal space. Not simple, but not untenable.
Overnight, more new cities emerge out of the fog, 
populated by migrants from all of earth’s quarters—
a billion visa stamps, a billion “real IDs.”
Distrust still patrols the terminals in a nondescript uniform
         with sagging hems.
He waves a metal detector. 
He opens knapsacks, turns luggage inside out, asks whether 
         there’s curry or dried fish.
This is the part where the plot could still be if not reversed,
then  jettisoned in some audacious, unexpected direction.

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