Event Horizon

By Peter Halstead

In this galaxy you'll find
yourselves sporadically entwined
like sequined nubbles in a sweater
whose clumsy hidden threader
subliminally ricochets
its weaving drunk crochets
until the fumbling is over,
the needlepoint as good as sober.


My friend Peetie Van Etten had for many years been taken up with sewing, and certainly poetry bears striking similarities. I thought of the Van Ettens as arising here and there like stars or sequins in the fabric of my explanations, or maybe being sucked down into the black hole of my illogic. Although fumbling is a word that might suggest itself to bystanders as an alternative creation, I would hope that my needling comes to a point now and then, or at least appears to. A crochet in French is a knitting needle. A crotchet is also a whimsy, a perverse fancy, and a crotchet in music is a quarter note, named for the one hook on its staff.
Peter Van Etten had mentioned to me that a friend of his had needed to have his liver replaced, even though he had stopped drinking a decade before. We pay for our debauchery, sooner or later, whether or not we repent, he felt. The drunkard’s path is a traditional quilting pattern, my wife Cathy points out.
This caution reminded me of a story the nuns used to tell of a saint who, on the way to rescuing a woman from drowning, made a hasty genuflection in the church’s nave. Despite his perfect and charitable life, that little error cost him three hundred years in hell. I was particularly impressed that the nuns had such privileged information and could only guess at its source. The only sane response to such threats may be to party outside their logical set and keep on sinning, or drinking, weaving our drunken patterns into stars despite the lurking inevitability of our and their undoing.
An event horizon is the seemingly innocuous surface of a black hole. Like many works of art, it takes an infinite amount of time for a person to approach such events, although the process is reputed to seem quick enough to a casual observer. (Again, one wonders at those who have surmised so much.)
Cathy says it’s like the surface tension of a water drop, where you have to break through that suspension in order to get to the water beneath.