So what will happen between this unusually warm November and an unspecified but nearing future when it will have warmed however many degrees Celsius above this present stretching global mean / asking for a friend
I feel tense give me a / tense such as actions that will be completed before some other event in the future / plot a line: A (present)—B (future) / and place the future perfect somewhere between those points / but who knows what ontological status B has now is the problem
If we don’t know where we are going how will we know when we’ve gone too far / #capitalism / to make our future perfect there must be a deadline we work towards / now to then / the breach coming between we choose I choose you I choose all of you let’s do this now and then
Say: we will always have been living in the future like this / say: we will have always been pondering the course of history unfolding / say: our descendants will have always been thinking / what were they thinking / when thinking about us in all those thoughtful days to come / but
There is no future imperfect in English / there is no tense in which what is to come is not deadline but / state of continuity / I want to state some continuity / look at the climate and say / my grammar did this to me / my grammar and / my economy
Stephen Collis is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (Talon Books 2008), Once in Blockadia (Talon Books 2016) and Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (Talon Books 2018). Current research on the climate emergency and human and other displacements is involved in two in-process projects: Future Imperfect (poetry) and A Sestina for Max Sebald (prose). He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.
I'm a writer & teacher in Lawrence, Kansas who actually believes the scientists. I wrote a book of poems called Of Some Sky that seems to have something to do with all this.