Atlas of Guam

Peter Milne Greiner

Atlas of Guam

Ordinary dream: is it time
to suspect this planet too is hollow and held

aloft by gods in beta or should I hold off
for another twenty-nine
thousand years

Spend the billowing

aurorae I want so badly in my lungs

Borrow against my better judgment until my blood hardens to raw
obsidian and only then breathe out my middens of simple tools

my thresholds
my hopeful sigils?

What abiogenesis will I set into motion writing
my name in piss on these flatlands?
Whose treasure hunter’s shovel is this?

Whose Marquesas
beyond the known equator where barley and cattle and platinum abound in nightlessness?
Whose land of unpainted caves?

Whose unisolated salt? Whose uncracked open firmament?
Every single absolute

location everywhere

awaits every single thing of which I can be reminded

I am looking down upon
my star

The star of Peter

A bowl of bronze flour clumping—clumping into verisimilitudinousnesses
Clumping scree stops the mouths of Solomon’s mines

Clumping cratershot litters the savannah-like halves of the Titanic

Clumping plateaus conceal vast cavern systems deep inside which the grim
reaper decorates his lair with clumps
of everyone’s eventual question
Clump lightning harshes in the supercells
Coins in the triremes sunken off Ibiza
Penalties for theft

My few vulnerable belongings

Ordinary anomaly: pewter ice or antimony ice is not ice but it covers

the southern pole like a bishop’s mantle

Imagine my astonishment
My invasive astonishment
Imagine a tree for every treesnake
A church for every mouse
A vector for every dance of St. Vitus

Picture a feral road to becoming wild
The underground sea glows green with human grief

Widespread calenture on the Untropic of Sagi

Capital cities—memorial bridges—municipal parking—fountains—the fountains—the arches—the stadiums—the waterfronts—winter—old streets—the sun—my appetite—trending piblokto— photographs of objects—the Great and Erasable Document—easy breezy low orbits—new familiar silences so there’s that aspect of the situation that’s happening right now actually

I automatically know where to start
In the river valleys where huckleberries release dopamine in the brains of deer
In this place of transference where I’m constantly improving the near future

what champ can I become of everything under the weird helium master plan?

I unconquer air’s encounter with the blood lifelong I’ve let live here

I love reason
You are reason’s most famous mystic

The time I’ve killed is clean fuel—guiding vision—slurry of chloroplast—the voices of my friends really salting my Carthage—damming my biggest rivers—flensing my eldritch whale populations—but their voices speak

truth in general

and bring events back from already having taken place

Their voices circuit through me exchanging purposes
and I comprehend what they are saying
It isn’t complicated

They are clear and they are bewitching

the things I know that flood this room

with their incommunicable zenlike arrhythmia


Peter Milne Greiner is a poet and science fiction writer currently teaching high school in New York City. His hybrid speculative collection Lost City Hydrothermal Field was published by The Operating System in 2017. His work has appeared in Stone Telling, Terraform, SciArt Magazine, and Big Echo: Critical SF, and in the forthcoming anthology Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight (University of Arizona Press 2019).

Editor’s Notes: Greiner’s poem follows Rodriguez’s, not only because of the dream-related openings, but also because of the contrast in the search for meaning. This is also decidely surreal and elusive, but yet a sense of poignancy is there. I picked one of the surreal images to represent the poem: Human lungs breathing in auroras.

[Aurora images captured at midnight on April 10, 2015, in Delta Junction, Alaska. The aurora was likely connected to a minor to moderate geomagnetic storm that began late on April 9, 2015. The storm was triggered by a coronal mass ejection – a giant cloud of solar material—that erupted from the sun on April 6, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings. (NASA Image Courtesy of Sebastian Saarloos)]

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