concerning the motions gyroscopic
from the beginning, rebecca bates presides from a chair placed close to the foxes and facing them, so that all may
see and hear what she has done. now here is a hollow brass top, now here the gyrostat. even if the earth were
liquid inside, it spins so rapidly, it spins a rigid body in regard to such a slow phenomenon: the precession of equal
day and equal night; the congregation of the equi-foxes.
she raises her right hand in benediction:
i observe that there are two types of bodies i observe a dust trap i observe the
dust built as a fox is built—a vast disc, a vast dust and gas, vast and a core
of millions—i observe a young star i am circled by a disc in rotations, the disc
distributed, a dust disc vast falling toward a center of foxes evenly distributed—
the foxes, i observe them, the fox bodies and the dust are a comet factory the
tails emit a light i observe a light i observe the density of a light as it bears
down upon the foxes the fox bodies orbit in a dust disc and i am but a lordly,
whereas the moon at its brightest is a jaw breaker and we want to bite down and a molar chips off and
falls toward the earth and whereas the tooth as it falls curves as the earth curves as the earth falls away
from the tooth curving (what roundness means is that the earth curves away horizontally). the tooth then
falls forever with the earth too falling forever as the tooth curves whereas this means that the system
never changes and the tooth calls this orbit whereas gravity smoothes our chipped tooth chunk into a
tooth moon, which reflects light adequately enough to be mistaken for venus, then in one million years
a tiny space-faring race visits and says this man-made satellite is wholly calcium—resolved that it’s one
universe, and we’ve explained it all.
He Performs Great Signs
Big Tex of the burning jaw.
Big Tex, the monument aflame.
Big Tex is a man and he rides dirty.
He once owned a very small horse
—or, not so small, but small for him.
He wears them Levi's like he's only got one life to live.
Tiny folks at the feet of Big Tex,
touching the boot of Big Tex,
taking the dirt near his heels, saying,
"Would that I could be a mighty fella too."
Big Tex with a chest so huge and proud,
and ain't he the prairie giant?
Ain't he got arms so long he
cradled a whole herd through a dead night?
Big Tex with tents all around
and the staring people
and the pigs with ribbons stirring.
Ain't he Big Tex of the late-night patrol,
guarding the fences?
Who rode small horses and bared steel fangs at the coyotes?
Big Tex takes the tallest women at the fair for himself.
In his mouth, steel on steel grinding,
steel molars, steel gnashing.
Big Tex has an ember in his teeth.
Big Tex blows black clouds, and the tiny folks say,
"His breath is so angry!
Big Tex, give us not this plague!"
And the chambray and the gingham consumed.
And the Levi's burning, falling away.
Tiny folks grab at denim ash.
The hat an inferno, the body devoured.
Big Tex of the metal skeleton.
Rebecca Bates's poetry and other writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from Gigantic, the Believer, NYLON, The New Inquiry, and elsewhere. She will also appear in the inaugural edition of Best American Experimental Writing. She is an assistant editor at Architectural Digest. She tweets at @rebecca_bates.