Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pitchblende Fundraiser Sestina #2: Sestina for Norman Feller, Who is Fake

Sestina for Norman Feller (who is fake)

December 31st, 1999, Norman Feller left the outside world
for an eleven-by-eleven foot bunker. His wife'd stopped asking why
months before. These were no mere predictions. Norman was certain of
his calculations. One million computers. Six billion humans. Carry the two.
It was mathematically impossible that, at midnight, all would not end,
leaving him sunless, surrounded by shelf after shelf of canned beans and Special K.

There were a handful of others, from Canada to Japan to the UK
who shared Norman's grim prognosis of the world.
Of course, all fellowship and correspondence had to end
the instant the bunker's door sealed him underground. Why
mourn the loss of friends who couldn't put two and two
together? Who couldn't see the ruinous meat we're all made of?

Of course all human-made machines are constructed entirely of
death-drives. Of course they're lying, pretending it's all OK,
pretending they don't judge as they process our one-way conversations and two-
timing transactions. All creations bear the mark of their world.
And creators only know how. We never get to ask why.
So Norman never asked. He just dug and stocked shelves end to end.

For fourteen years, Norman waited for the end of the end.
He surrounded himself with 1999 preserved in CD and DVD and copies of
copies of paper books. He learned Angela's Ashes by heart. Why
not recite lines to his pillow at night when the temperature dropped to 249.8˚K?
And what was night, anyway? And what was day? And what was a friend? The world
was gone! Now Norman decided. Of course, being alone 24/7 (arbitrary constructs) for too

long lengthens the face and narrows the mind. Norman stopped counting past two.
He stopped being able to tell end from beginning and beginning from end.
Eventually, he wondered what might remain of the old world.
Eventually he started considering the possibility of
his own over-reaction. Perhaps it was overkill, he granted. Perhaps $20K
and fifteen years was too much to spend on doomsday-insurance. Why

wait another instant? Even in safety, he wasn't safe. Why
pretend isolation makes a person any more immortal? He ran to
the bunker door. Swung it opened. Waited for the fallout zombies. He was OK.
He was in his backyard. He could see his house and the field behind it. It didn't end.
The sky still cradled pregnant clouds. He could still make words from what he thought of.
The Simpsons was still on the air. What a wonderful, safe, and stable world.

“OK,” he said. “I think I see why I made this mistake. I assumed my tiny two-
thousand mattered to the math of the world.” Outside is infinity. Every instant is its end.

Jade's notes:

I wrote this sestina for the fabulous Nicole Jeppsen, who requested a sestina that incorporated "11:11. Serendipity. Irony. Fortunate accidents. Deadly regrets. Misery. Art. Love."
I decided to write about Norman Feller, the guy who lived underground for 14 years because he was afraid of Y2K. Later on I found out that the story was totally fake, but most poetry is pretty lies anyway. I guess that's some kind of irony. (Font is small to preserve line breaks.) More Pitchblende fundraiser sestinas on the way!


Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

I have no words. Only love & gratitude. <3 <3

Chad Parenteau said...

I've been enjoying the sestinas a lot so far. Sadly, I did not notice the fundraiser until it was too late and hope it's still available for latecomers to purchase once it's done.