ArtIST conference enlightens campus with poetry

Poetry lovers from across the country converged in Golden to present poems to the Mines community as part of the inaugural Art in Science and Technology (ArtiST) literary journal competition. Presentations varied tremendously, from intense and uncensored desire, to funny and ironic. Professional speakers presented pieces from a variety of sources including the five university journals Ink (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), Signatures (Rochester Institute of Technology), Erato (Georgia Tech), Rune (MIT) and High Grade (CSM).

The following is a piece entitled “Consider the Barn Owl.” It was presented by special guest Phil Rodenbeck from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and is a metaphor representing drones. It is meant to be read through twice.

“Consider the barn owl on a coming summer night:

The hack-shack frays of fencepost unnaturally protruding from the dirt and lemongrass patches, bone-dry lust, standing still, leaning out from a low fog—phosphorescent in the lower sun and so dividing, that one time becomes two, one place is cut in half, the churning gas lamp mist below and the motionless night on high—at the frayed edges of the cattle ranch where the willow-bobs have grown too long and the rancher boys have been content in untidiness make the perfect perch. The Watcher watches, always. She discerns the smallest movements of grass, those unstirred by the prairie breeze, logging them in her memory for further analysis and comparison, because she survives by quantifying the unnatural. And those in the phosphor, looking up, the field mouse and the garden snake, they can see nothing—women alone in their illuminated homes staring out the picture window for noises in the dark. But the barn owl moves silently. Atop her splintered obelisk, above the lowly souls of night, an invisible lighthouse guiding toward the shallows or the barn maw, a ghost-faced satellite, a small deity, she watches as something comes beyond the gates, rustling the grass, her restless eyes trace its movement into the quiet temple, the stable where she keeps her molting brood and where the horses of the rancher snort, knowing well what happens in the dark, as the last ribbons of light make yellow their plum-sized pupas and sinter in the fog about their ankles where they stomp anxiously. Soon, very soon, there’s blood on the straw. The horse cries quiver and fade, and everything that’s left is silence. When morning comes round, a man on the street will exclaim his wonderment that cave-dwellers can be bombed from flying drones.”

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