ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by John Marvin

Two Slits to the Measure
a Quantum Note Gets a Beat

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
                          Niels Bohr

wonderful wonderful Copenhagen
Heisenberg’s queen of the c
one can’t sail away
’s no away today
no today today and
and no facts per se
within the absolute within

“Let us go and make our visit.”
                       Albert Einstein

in zones of minor keys and fear
every lump will quickly disappear
will sluice through dual gates
and will splash and interfere
as waves whose signs upon a wall
will haunt a puzzled listener
who listens in the snow white coat


Schrödinger’s Cant    
       iħΨ = HΨ

Wave goodbye to local realism’s harmony
and armbands in the ecclesiastical wilderness
where thickets of ancient wisdom’s debris
clutter the shady downy dustbins
of a history long forgotten but a history that
haunts the shadowy frontiers of a quantum
world where hepcats jive riffs of blue note
changes without regard for admonitions.
As in a freight yard’s flutter and in
a seminar’s mutter sinking slowly in the west
a gestalt weapons ban inspires the music
of the spears to pierce the abode of a pacific pussy
who’ll never know whether if ever
the wave function has collapsed.

John Marvin is a teacher who retired and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo. He has poems in scores of journals, received 6 Pushcart nominations, and published literary criticism in Hypermedia Joyce Studies, James Joyce QuarterlyPennsylvania English, and Worcester Review. He has a chapter in the anthology Hypermedia Joyce, and his book, Nietzsche and Transmodernism: Art and Science Beyond the Modern in Joyce, Stevens, Pynchon, and Kubrick, awaits a publisher.

He seeks to marry the experimental, non-narrative with the lyric and traditional in the manner of Nietzsche’s marriage of Apollo and Dionysos. He generally avoids accessibility for its own sake, and the prosaic personal story with superimposed line breaks that is ubiquitous these days.


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