Soon after, a most startling experiment proved successful! Scientists had stopped a young mouse’s heart for a full twenty-four hours before resuming her regularly scheduled programming. Journalists from every ilk gathered to question the rodent. She was silent. A summit of communication specialists created confusing configurations of levers and colorful sensory receptors, Rube Goldberg talking machines, to no avail, in an attempt to push the mouse into sharing her secrets. The mouse said nothing, ran squeakily on a well-oiled wheel. That was the year all health-related research ceased and scientists—from animal-assisted therapists to urologists—put down their stethoscopes and turned from their clinical trials to focus their every brainwave on the brainwaves of the mouse. That was the year we came very close to forming a mouse-loving nation, the year more humans than ever died from dreaded diseases of which there once had been cures. That was the year we had been closest to and farthest from nowhere.
It was the year all celebs and superstars fizzled,
The year they lived on Pizzle Stix,
The year they traveled on the River Styx.
Martine Bellen's THIS AMAZING CAGE OF LIGHT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS is forthcoming in September and also on September 13 at Flushing Town Hall (Flushing, Queens), there will be a performance of MOON IN THE MIRROR: a monodrama opera (text: Zhang Er andMartine Bellen/music Stephen Dembski). For Bellen's other YEAR OF poem, click here