Avoiding the Void

Do we live in a 
savage world?
Most times it feels like
we do but
I don’t think it's true —
the world is simply
indifferent
to our feelings
and this fact
stings
like cruelty 
but indifference
is not the same as 
savagery.

The wide open
cosmos
simply does not
(or will not)
care
about any of our
feelings
and thus cannot
act
with intent to protect
or harm —
it is plainly and coldly
unperturbed
by our aching
condition.

But
if we can make ourselves
aware
of this stifling fact,
a tiny crack opens
to a rush of fresh air
to a clear breathing choice —
either we respond
to this tower of
indifference
with cynicism and
self-pity
or we tilt our
head upwards
fixing our gaze upon
the blank face
of this unfeeling void
and open our hearts to it
all the fucking
same.

This act of
sheer defiance
of insurrectional
optimism
of insubordinate
love —
this may be the greatest
act of strength
and beauty
of generosity
and grace
that we
poor dizzy primates
can ever hope to
perform.

daily dogfight

every creative act
is an act of war
we are in timeless
battle with the lesser
versions of ourselves
and in defeat we sit alone
in mumpish judgment
of the world
watching as it sinks
like a flaming ship
into the black
smoldering void
of our past
sucking us
slowly
down
with
it

but no
we can’t ever surrender
in our daily dogfight
with our deadened selves
even (especially) when we feel
dead-ended ourselves
we’ve got to
we get to
wrestle back control over
this precious flame
this fickle delicious flame
the one that lights up
just enough fog
on the slippery path ahead
so that our greater selves
can take another
brave
step
forward

Biopihilia

Moving through the city
though I’ve spent
my whole life
leaping skirting and sprinting
up around and through
these tangled forests of
steel glass and tubes —
an incessant ringing
has been alarming
inside me
muffled and buried and
sunk deep inside
my chest
distant
like a faraway
fire
persistent —
a reminder
of how I really
don't belong
here.

The story of humanity
is the story of
migration
from the wood to
the hood
all of it
in a geological
blink
lurching us forward
yet leaving our hearts
in limbo
halfway between
the Eastside
and Eden.

Which goes some ways
I guess
to explaining this
dull persistent 
ache
this desperate
longing for the 
unmade
this violent urge
to abandon my car in traffic
and flee —
back to the hinterlands
to feed off the
unsullied soil
to consume
nature
without commercial
interruption.

That is of course
until I spent my
first night
under these laughing stars
beside this cackling flame
I built proudly with
my own city-softened hands
that is until
I rest my head on this
cold hard ground
I can hear the strange
awful sounds
of the ancient forest
moving in
closer
closer
closer
to swallow me
whole.

That is when
the night finally
gives way
and morning the sun
stikes me
clear as day —
becoming one with
nature 
really means becoming
prey.

Thoughts, Prayers, and Thoughts About Prayers

It’s been years since
I killed my god.
It wasn’t a sudden or violent
death —
more like a long negotiated
euthanasia,
gently putting to rest
the band of barking dogmas
inducted into the soft, supple skull
of my younger self.
And in exchange,
a slow awakening to a wider,
brighter, beckoning 
unknown.
And so now —
I cannot honestly recall
the last time
I closed my eyes
and said a prayer,
my automatic eye-roll
tagging this act as
some sort of sad song
for the scared.

But today —
I paid this idea a revisit
and like a bolt
from heaven
it struck me that
praying need not be
a religious practice at all,
it does not even depend on
the existence of a subject 
(you need not pray to anyone)
for at its soft, hopeful center,
a prayer is not an encounter with
an external being
as much as a reckoning
with oneself.
The act of praying asks
something of us
alone
as we present ourselves 
naked and vulnerable,
devoid of pretense or irony,
rendering each of us
raw, essential
before the sweet mercy of 
whatever may rise alongside
tomorrow’s sun.

So hell —
let us pray indeed,
for when we do 
we are offering up our
purest selves
to the unknown,
and most times 
that is all the answer
we need.

curiosity

almost a decade ago
a robot named
Curiosity hurtled
105 million miles
through the empty cold
darkness of space.
180 days of tumbling
before touching down
through a billowing cloud
of rusty dust
upon the surface of
Mars
so that we could all
finally get
a closer look at
its dry red dirt.
it so happens that
every time she collects
a sample of this fine
celestial powder
maneuvering her
short metal scoop
ever so gingerly across
the surface
she does a little
mechanical shimmy 
which causes a
sonic pitch of varying
frequencies —
each sound vibrating
across the body of her sleek
aluminum frame.
so what?
so then —
exactly a year later
after her very first
loop around our sun
the world’s finest
minds gathered around
a cafeteria table
(here on earth)
to calculate precisely
how to maneuver her
little scoop
into just the right density
of Martian samples,
so that she'd buzz the
happy birthday song.
they even baked her a
spherical cake
(red velvet i hope)
to honor the first
musical notes to
ever slice the silent
atmosphere
of another world.
yes —
this all may seem silly
or perhaps even sad
but to me
it baffles my little
earth-bound brain
to think of how we built
a little six-wheeled robot
called her Curiosity
flung her across the cosmos
just because we could
because her name
is an idea forever braided
into our helices —
and then,
just because we could
we taught her how
to sing.

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