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Featured Writer

Brian Clements


The transition could begin with some small seed in one location of our universe, in the same way that, on our frozen windowpane, small dust grains helped seed the formation of ice crystals. It would then propagate throughout space at the speed of light. We wouldn’t know what hit us.

–Lawrence Krauss, “The End of the Universe as We Know It”

Manakin 1277.27 by Roger Camp

The figure of the Earth is not quite a sphere but an ellipsoid, flattened some at the poles and bulging a bit around the equator like a tomato, which, seen from the outside, betrays no hint to anyone who never has cut or torn or splatted open a tomato of its gelid interior and seeds, which, left to sit too long, can sprout inside the tomato and erupt through the outer skin like Towers of Babel rising from the surface of the planet, the way NASA theorizes it might be possible to build a space elevator lifting 60,000 miles into space, beyond geosynchronous orbit, to a satellite station or launch station for missions to Mars, a smaller ellipsoid that bulges a bit more than Earth and is redder and in that sense more tomato-like but also rougher and in that sense less tomato-like than Earth, but like Earth betrays no hint to anyone who never has cut or torn or splatted open a planet of its interior, which could be molten, or rocky, or even watery, except that we know it must be mostly a metallic paste because it has almost no magnetic field, which rises from the flow of molten material beneath the crust of Venus or Earth or millions of other planets floating right now in the body of the galaxy, which flings its arms at half a million miles an hour around its supermassive central black hole, Sagittarius A, which we cannot see and which could be just about anything, for all we know, a sphere, or a storm, or a bodyless thing more like a digital recording of a song in which a falcon flies for millions of years around the surface of a circular mirror. That’s all…. Just a song….


About the writer:
Brian Clements is an American poet who is the author or editor of fifteen collections of poetry, including the anthology  An Introduction to the Prose Poem, volumes of poetry from Quale Press, Texas Review Press, and Meritage Press, and of some unique and compelling projects online.

Image: Manakin 1277.27 by Roger Camp (contemporary). Fine art photograph. No technical information specified. 2021. By permission. Roger Camp is the author of three photography books including the award-winning Butterflies in Flight, Thames & Hudson, 2002 and Heat, Charta, Milano, 2008. His documentary photography has been awarded the prestigious Leica Medal of Photography. His photographs are represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, NYC. His work has appeared in The New England Review, Southwest Review, Chicago Review and the New York Quarterly. More of his work may be seen at

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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