Narrated by Robert Ronnow
—After the Wikipedia entry, “Omega”
Just watching raindrops slapping leaves
is better than anything requiring electricity
including fame and posterity. Monday
morning I walk over to the art museum,
stand before Homer. I’m imagining
life in ancient Greece, the land largely
deforested to build a navy, white as bone,
a tourist attraction. The sea too being
denuded of its fish, super-efficient fishery
fleets, and every human wanting a healthy
dose of omega 3. O my God, omega!
the 24th and last letter of his alphabet,
which means great and has a value of 800,
often used to denote the last, the end, the
ultimate limit of a set, as in I am the alpha
and the omega (which was omitted
from the oldest manuscripts). In physics,
ohm is a unit of electrical resistance,
in chemistry, oxygen-18, a stable isotope,
in statistical mechanics, it represents multiplicity
(the number of microstates) in a system.
In astronomy, the density of the universe
(density parameter), the ranking of a star’s
brightness in a constellation, and the orbital
elements: the longitude of the ascending node
and the designation of the argument
of periapsis of an orbit.
Also the solid angle or rate of precession
in a gyroscope. In particle physics,
omega baryons. In complex analysis,
the Omega constant, a solution to Lambert’s
W-function. In calculus, a variable
for a 2-dimensional region, usually
corresponding to the domain of a double
integral. In topos theory, the codomain
of the subobject classifier of an elementary
space. In combinatory logic,
the looping combinator. In group theory,
the omega and agemo subgroups of a p-group.
In Big O notation, the asymptotic behavior
of functions. Chaitin’s uncomputable constant.
Omega watches, badge of the Supreme Court,
last mission of the Space Shuttle program,
God of War, Heroes of Olympus, Pokemon’s
Omega Ruby, Sonic the Hedgehog’s E-123.
Symbol of resistance to the Vietnam War draft.
Year of date of death. Lowest-ranked wolf.
In molecular biology, a two-point crossover.
The lower case omega denotes the carbon atom
furthest from the carboxyl group of a fatty acid.
One of the RNA polymerase subunits.
The dihedral angle associated with the peptide group.
A measure of evolution at the protein level.
In dynamics, angular velocity or angular frequency.
In computational fluid dynamics, the specific
turbulence dissipation rate. In meteorology,
the Lagrangian time rate of change of pressure
for a parcel of air. Natural frequency
in circuit analysis and signal processing.
The omega meson.
NULL, a missing or inappropriate value.
The first transfinite ordinal number.
The first uncountable ordinal number.
The complex cube roots of 1.
The Wright Omega function. A general differential form.
The number of distinct prime divisors of n.
An arithmetic function. The self-application combinator.
The elasticity of financial options.
The tracking error of an investment manager.
In linguistics, the phonological word.
The archetype of a manuscript tradition.
In eschatology, the symbol for the end of everything.
The beginning of my first week without tv.
No more movies. If I have nothing to do
or I’m too bored to do anything, I’ll just sit still
see what happens. Be like weather.
Be under the weather, with the weather,
in weather. Watch weather from the window.
Wait for change, in me and the weather.
How will I change? This is life and not life.
In 15 years or so I’ll be gone from the earth,
bones whitening on some mountain
or rotting in the lowlands river or estuary I lived near,
flesh to sweat flesh with the population, dead.
This death consciousness of which should give
this life’s activities perspective, except for the red
sunset which remains untouched by atomic IQ;
and dead, laying open to the blue sky and dry leaves
one autumn like last autumn, or the autumn
I realized my insignificance.
BIO: Robert Ronnow’s most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at www.ronnowpoetry.com.