“The Time Travel Tourism Bureau” by Chris Marchello

Chris Marchello


I’m afraid the posters exaggerate—
Yes, the Tethys Sea
and outlying archipelagos
of tender hellbeasts
is an option
for premium members,

but consider:
You’ve seen mosquitoes,
but have you ever ridden one?

There’s a certain swamp,
bubbling away at the end
of the Jurassic,
where the rhamporinchus dart,
where the flowers have not yet
evolved for the poets to sing of.

Picture now the grove,
humid, you and your
Other, lost in the way
you can never be
here on the world,
in this, the era of roses.

Everything will be unknown again.
inevitably, even language
will fail.

You will touch them,
for all that has happened
has not happened,
perhaps never may.
You will fall together,
plummeting piano keys
intruding on the guttural
hiss of the circling

You will watch it sail
crisp and crimson—
a whole shingle
of a sunset,

which you will be unable
to recollect,
but for the refamiliar
twist of your lover’s fingers
around yours.

And when the night falls
and the temptation rises,
please do remember—
every hour overtime
is an extra twenty grand.

After all, it’s not my fault
it takes ten thousand
plasma coils
just to sustain an afternoon.

from Rattle #71, Spring 2021
Tribute to Neurodiversity


Chris Marchello: “I am on the autism spectrum, specifically with an Asperger’s-type profile. My autism makes it stressful for me to socialize, so poetry and writing have always been ways to show people my inner life. I have a fascination with deep time and all things ancient, partly how the ancient is always present with us even if we don’t recognize it. These poems all attempt to bring the Mesozoic Era into the Anthropocene. My poetry is composed partly through stimming, which is repetitive behavior that autistic people engage in. When I hit on an idea, I feel a surge of energy, and a need to pace and flap my arms in order to work the idea out fully. For me, the act of writing is as much physical as it is mental.”

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