A man is in a sphere

A man is in a sphere
all he knows is
what hits the outer membrane
–a series of taps,
bright lights,
red, green, sepia
seeping through

a great shaking
and rumbling pervades,
some rhythmic,
some not

from these scraps
an omniverse
known only
to himself

emerges, like some
great and vast
butterfly, floating
above a sleeping figure.

The fire walkers

The unsuccessful fire walker
steps carefully, judging each footfall
in advance, hitching a shoulder just so
in case elevating a piece of
the body will make the foot weigh less,
stepping forward as fast as possible
so the white-hot coals will have
less time to sear flesh from bone
before starting on the other foot,
tense with reflex, toes gripping
not earth but fire, the screams rending the air
well before the pit’s end.

The successful fire walker
does not.

So long ago

A poem written six years ago.

So long ago,
I got to know him well,
Always reaching, always looking
For a reason to keep living,

Even knowing
How alone we all are,
How he lived inside his head
Where no one could see the struggles,
No one could know how wrong they got it,
How, even he, in the end,
Gave up hoping for it
To change somehow,
Went from telling us how
To simply asking why.

Well, it’s a fair question, that.
Only, there can never be
An answer, no matter
How hard we stare
At the universe, demanding.

The universe only stares back,
Blankly.

Why had God forsaken him?

Why had he been so deluded
To think it would be different

From fear,
From loneliness,
From deception,
From illusion,
From cheap deliverance,
From intoxication,
From imagination?

Sitting and listening
To the sirens at night,
I imagine a million of them,
An endless stream of Jesuses
Asking the same question.

Why

Life in the coronaverse

On the coldest day of winter
In the year of ‘47
I came to Earth squealing
Already suspicious of so abrupt
A beginning

Naked and poorly formed
Smeared with placental essence
Squinting and stammering
Unwilling and unable to
Participate but certain it was
A requirement

Not so different, it seems,
After all the years of days on end
From the rest of it
And those moments of delusion
When I was convinced I swam well
While nearly drowning
In the swell of living

Seven decades and change have passed,
And now, in this venomous year
Of maladies viral and visceral
Someone, like some great umbilical impulse,
Has left food at my doorstep
As I sit kicking the walls, dreaming
Of a light at the tunnel’s end

How to dance

Always the world tilts dangerously
toward the brink, begging only
a finger’s nudge
–all it would take—
deftly moving aside
at the last moment
like a taiji master

a dance so subtle it fools
no one and everyone alike

the world does not end
does not even refuse to end
but continues out of indifference

–Wait – you say – it ended for me
and perhaps you – and I say
no, we are still here
even as we dispute the very
fact of existence, proof, you see,
of our errors