If The Launch Pad Is Aligned

#Space#Poetry by Rob Bass, MFAW ’09
If the launch pad is aligned, then we’ll always be able to find it.
If the engines are kind, then we’ll have no problems in the world achieving escape velocity.
If we achieve escape velocity, then we can either slingshot halfway around the world or fire so fast so far into space that we never ever come back.
If we fire so fast so far into space, then we’ll have to fill our craft with food and fuel, or really the ways to generate both all along the way.
If our spirits flag and our bodies grow tired, then we have to remember that we had no choice and after all those decades of hyperbolic prophetic fiction, we really are humanity’s last hope.
If we travel long enough and far enough away from our star, then all it will take is enough years to pass and one really massive data surge to help us forget who we were, where we came from, and maybe that’s all right just as long as we keep going.
If so many years pass, generations grown and blown back, then these fresh wild-eyed nomad great-great-great-grandchildren might see new home at last on their monitor screens and not even recognize it.
If some want to stay and some still want to soar forever tumbling through the stars, then they’ll have to call on all their decades of intercompartmental peace to negotiate a fair and equitable division of resources.
If the ones on the ground miss the moment when their departing craft becomes just another bright light twinkling in the sky, then that’s perfectly understandable because the tears in their eyes keep making everything warble and shimmer.
If their children’s children begin to doubt the story of where they came from, then maybe stop whispering the truth in their ears because it’s only a coping mechanism to keep their hearts held together against the weight of the interstellar majesty their grandparents forsook.
If there’s a paradigm down-shift or any sort of data revolution one hundred years later, then this new seed colony might soon believe with all its heart that it’s been in this place for always, and really when you get right down to it, there’s not so much wrong with that, whatever they need to believe.
If the ones who kept going never find a home, then at some point they’re going to realize that they’ve been right here growing and living in it all along.
If they maintain the spirit and unrelenting ramble of their ancestors, then maybe the most important thing to them will become the development of faster-than-light-drive engines followed by faster-than-faster-than-light-drive engines and so on, the exponents perpetually narrowing the distance to infinite velocity like a bounded curve forever approaching the x-axis but never quite managing to close the gap, only in the other direction.
If they figure out a sustainable way to actually get going that fast, then at some point their velocity is bound to outpace the expansion wave of The Big Bang and maybe they’ll punch right through the still-inflating bubble of known physical space without even realizing, without any kind of physics-rooted last-minute moral quandary or grand debate among the populace about all the implications or anything.
If they never even notice how they’ve entirely departed from their home dimensions, then it’s probably because at this point they’ve evolved into upper-shift light beings who actually haven’t been bound by antiquated concepts like linear space or time for quite a while now and so in a really almost scientifically provable way in terms of mathematical equations, they’ve always been right where they are now, racing away from our sight and our minds faster than the speed of thought, forever in search of some elusive fleeting truth in motion, outracing circular fallacies and weaving them into new chains of logic manifolds in their wake, bleeding tachyons as waste product, falling stars to justify these new equations sent hurtling backwards through all the years, meteors somersaulting into meteorites burning and tumbling down the clear night sky, inspiring the dreamers to imagine themselves into rocket scientists in the first place, to make all of their dreams come true, if they can just get that old launch pad aligned.

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