Joshua Ware & Crystal S. Gibbins
The New Nature
O brownfields, the welter of your particle love overflows our lungs, breathes us into radiant
clouds of tiny toxins: imperceptible fidelity. Or. An acrid mouth, here; a rusted hand, there.
O brownfields, you are the new aesthetic of beauty: splinterdreams in paperbeds unsleeping our
bodies below ground. A deeper ditch now for luxury: a plentiful marshscape of synthetic
watersheds populated with mechanized egrets.
O brownfields, unearth the earth evermore.
Before protozoa, before poets: continents shed sediments, capes toss in the sea, stones migrate
upward, out of waves. Divided kingdoms are met with caress and incursion.
Cycle: behemoths cruise through commerce, freighters loaded with lobsters and plastic nets.
Waves, giants from the deep, can wreck these arks of global trade. Or. Ships travel
between storms, riding drafts, and disappearing beyond the crests.
Slag: drag the world’s floor with grappling hooks; everything ancillary catches on.
A fissure splits the ridgeline, spills fiber optics across its saddleback, waylays the old aesthetics
of beauty. Wildflowers replicate binary code: the welter of hybridity; a schism digitizes
distance. The horizon swallows curlews and swallows sing swallow-songs. Synthetic swallows
sing swallow-songs, swallowing song-singing swallows, singing songs so long.
Catacombs: dawn sets the silent planet spinning, the weight that orders clocks. Or. Mechanical
clocks shuttle us in tandem toward industrial flats, onto subway platforms, into drains and
gullets that swallow us whole.
Labyrinth: more snail shell than mountain terrain.
A light switch for the whole country: straight through the city, out the other side, fireflies
ignite, extinguish, ignite again, extinguish again and again.
Abstract hyphenation: silver flanks of salmon trail mono-
filament into deep runnel.
Flint-cuts: purse seiners with conical purse-
like nets bulldoze seabeds,
catch sea-life and bycatch;
we see millions of metric tonnara.
Jellyfish: flowers drift in seaburial;
if silenced, their shape dis-
Color and texture: hypertrophic growths of asphalt
expand their eight-lane waist-
lines to scrap nests, berms,
and parking lots where deflated
condoms mark our territories.
Acedia: This shaking underneath means
we are on a bridge.
“There is in woods and waters a certain enticement and flattery, together with a failure to yield to
present satisfaction. This disappointment is felt in every landscape.”
to the sky
“To be imprisoned in an animal body is regarded as damnation…The mute wildness in the
animal’s gaze bears witness to the horror which is feared by humans in such metamorphoses.”
to a boy
from the sky.
“In society there is no longer any sphere in which domination can profess its contradistinctions,
as it does in art; there is no longer any means of duplication by which the distortion might be
expressed…Today language calculates, designates, betrays, initiates death; it does not express.”
“If we had eyes to see it, a bit of stone from the city wall would certify us of the necessity that
man must exist, as readily as the city…We talk of deviations from natural life, as if artificial life
were not also natural.”
Trees, the imperfect men, penetrate our body and gauge the distance between landscape and
landscape: the difference between observers. Jilted by flowers, we turn to electricity for comfort,
held together by a closed system. Or. We dissipate entropically: the mechanics of disorder.
What if we were to call these rusted bodies nature?
What if we were to call these imperfect men culture?
“They say that by electro-magnetism, your salad shall be grown from the sea.” O particlely-
charged appetizer, you call yourself nothing when you call yourself natural. We call you what
we call you when, calling, we call you something other than what you never call yourself. This
is not a calling. Or. This is a calling.
Whisper this to the sea: “O turned by tide, seagrass and kelphead electrify our insides: an
undoing of language by wavelets.”
“Man carries the world in his head”:
Patterns of sound
echoes from the ocean
through our body.
These languages repeat
repeat in lunar motion.
Words sift through
but repeat rotten.
Our body coursing
the ocean of echoes
Patterns, perhaps, perform hydroelectrically for both water and language. Perform for the world
in our head, unhinged.
The world in our head dissolves into an artificial sunrise, more beautiful than the sunrise itself.
This is what we call a more perfect version of nature. This is what we call the new nature.
Joshua Ware is the co-author of I, NE: Iterations of the Junco (Small Fires Press), as well as the author of A Series of Ad Hoc Permutations (Scantily Clad Press) and the forthcoming Excavations (Further Adventures Press, 2009). His work has appeared or will appear in many journals, such as EOAGH, Laurel Review, New American Writing, and Quarterly West.
Crystal S. Gibbins poems recently appeared in Literary Bohemian, Sage Trail, and Yellow Medicine Review. She is pursuing her PhD in poetry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also serves on the editorial staff
for Prairie Schooner.