TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
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04.17.05, Sunday night
Sometimes I am negative. Especially when I have to wait. A scowling black hole that slurps up light indiscriminately. Starlight, lamplight, sealight, birdlight, peoplelight: stolen by the cranky gravitational relic of a collapsed star, itself dying an incredibly slow death as it dims into obscurity.
According to an online source of dubious accuracy, the death of a large black hole (loosely defined as having a mass greater than that of a small mountain) can take 10 raised to the 61st power times the age of the Universe. This black hole, with her poor mathematical skills, cannot calculate what that means. She only understands that it will take a very long time to reach the date of one's expiration.
What is needed in this case is a special bird, a bird which sings with an ineffably stunning voice and, better yet, sings an ineffably stunning story that takes a minute or a century to descant completely. This bird is a courageous bird, among the first to evolve, daring or incredibly foolish enough to approach an event horizon, a bird that would risk the high probability of becoming compressed into an unimaginably tiny, infinitely dense region called a singularity.
I once heard that bird in a bedroom on 18th St., on a lumpy mattress underneath long curtains of gold-shot carmine gauze lifting and falling like the eyelashes of a sleeper in deep REM as a fan whirled in the dark, while outside a fountain tinkled and big dogs barked. With a curiously hand-shaped wing and an ineffably stunning voice, this special bird dared to cup the hip of a collapsed star and name it Widowmaker.
Can a dying star recuperate? And if so, can a minute or a century endure enough for a star to recuperate its powers and transmit the light so dazzlingly compressed beneath its surface? . . .
Or: when a black hole dies, what is left in its wake?