Seven impossible things – rob mclennan

Seven impossible things – rob mclennan

                    I did not know
             when I began I’d fill these poems
             with so much information
                     Heather Christle, Heliopause


Any time I open a new novel, I start by reading the final line on the final page. Only then can I start at the beginning.


She rolls her eyes. She tells me that this has much to do with my fear of the unknown. You need to know how it ends, she says, otherwise you refuse to engage with the process. You have to know everything that happens before it actually does.

But reading the final sentence doesn’t reveal anything about how the book might end. It only tells you the ending. It says nothing about what that might mean.


Fear. She claims I’m ruled by it. You barely leave the house in the morning until you know what we’re having for dinner. You refuse to be spontaneous.


What exactly is fear? Fear is about being unprepared.

I never craved the ending. I want to understand the ending, and how it occurs. I want to understand how we arrive.


What Obi-Wan Kenobi said in Star Wars (1977), suggesting his years of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

It was only the passage of time that allowed his return.


Thousands of times over are people killed by guns than, say, Ebola. Ebola was quickly registered as a crisis. We can’t talk about guns.


Lately I’ve been thinking about the Greeks. They had a system for everything. How the Ancient Greeks annually banished a resident selected through community vote. Whomever was selected would be banished for a period of ten years, after which they were, if they wished, welcome to return.

Ten years: he could be dead by then.


They say light travels at a particular speed. The speed of light.

A fixed point. How the temperature of any room is not necessarily ‘room temperature.’

There is the optical trick of seeing the same light-object in multiple points in space simultaneously. There is the knowledge that all we see in the Heavens are stars and galaxies tens of thousands of years dead and disappeared by the time we even notice.


I am talking about how the sun always sets. How the sun also rises.

This is something we take for granted. How did we get here?


After all this time, my mother still dead. How is this possible.


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