Back to the Future: A Sestina

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We here at SmokeLong don’t normally do poetry, as you know. And yet…when a Back to the Future poem slides under our noses on the very day that Marty goes back to the future, well….it’s like density…I mean, destiny.

Angie Mazakis was kind enough to share this amazing sestina with us so we could share it with you.

Enjoy, Hill Valley friends. Enjoy.

May the power of love be with you.

Back to the Future Sestina

for Ashley

And I feel so much depends on the weather~Stone Temple Pilots

Back in the deadpan town where I grew up, it appears
that I’m alone. No one actually is home, McFly.
I’m on the clock, hanging by the long hand,
old blues riff I’d known, irresolute as the sound of the future.
I am the second you, burning the Sports Almanac before the rain,
the first you, who we liked better, invisibly home, we trust. I feel

like I’m in an alternate 1985, in this paradox Hill Valley, feeling
lonely without the Doc, however unlikely he was a peer,
my notion of time capricious as all the versions of Lorraine.
This town is freely, fourth-dimensionally, aloofly
unchanged as a note from a friend in the past sent to the future,
all of time happening at once, contingent as a guitarist’s sliced hand.

Fix the miscalculations, Calvin, connect the cables by hand
at the last minute, the time continuum continuing till all our life feels
like an old taped-together letter, whole though darkened at each suture.
I need 1.21 gigawatts of power to surge till a few years disappear,
pulsing into my flux capacitor, each incongruous moment flying
at eighty-eight miles per hour through my brain,

as chaotic as future cars flying through the rain,
dangerous as a time machine fallen into the wrong hands,
precarious as a 1955 with two teenaged, yet-unborn Marty McFlys.
I’m trying not to run into my other self– our unfinished, portions feeling
our way in time around each other, a dance around my past peers,
slowly, under the sea, a life-preserving vest to save myself from a future

I can’t see. Each day I retrieve just the dust jacket of the future.
You want it to depend upon all sentences starting with “Biff”. Lorraine
saying, “Biff, why don’t you take a long walk off a short pier?”
And George, divergent, aesopian, saying “Biff get your damn hands
off her.” We make others resilient by mistake. Don’t you ever feel
you’re always leaving just when you’ve arrived? You’d say you did in 1955, fly-

by-night I found my way back to the beginning. Time flies
when you’re pummeling through several years at once toward a fitful future.
Each of us has nearly unraveled the fabric of destiny with desire, but you can feel
the density of it all gone back to fine. You’ve saved Marty Jr.; Griff is arraigned.
After the TKO, there’s George looking incredulously at his own hand.
I’m here in my hometown, had to leave the place I was before; it appeared

that I altered some significant event, without flying on a time-travelling train
to some future rumored prequel where I held the wrong lover’s disappearing hand.
No, I was just there to feel it in mine when his hand appeared again.

Angie Mazakis’s poems have appeared in The New Republic, Boston Review, Narrative Magazine, Best New Poets, New Ohio Review, Smartish Pace, Drunken Boat, and other journals. She has an MFA from George Mason University.