how thick is the crust of the Earth?
how thin of an apple is red?
it’s surprising to find
such simple questions behind
the cobwebs that clutter my head
how many heartbeats since my birth?
how many more breaths ’til I’m dead?
and just how many times
will I close both of my eyes
rejecting such questions of dread?
Written: December 20, 2016
Dedicated to Carl Sagan, who died on this day in 1996.
underneath the Flag of Earth
you lay with me, oh mine
an oscillating electric fan
cooling skin, easing mind
and as we kiss, those colors wave
representing what we are—above
you: ray of sunshine / me: placid sea
moonbeams cast shadows of love
but now the Flag of Earth is still
no more humid undulations
the fan is somewhere in the closet
it’s almost Christmas vacation
you’re no longer here—to have, to hold
and those colors? they seem faded, greyed
so I’ll lay here lost in symbolism
reevaluating brighter days
Written: December 9, 2016
Yesterday, while sitting on a park bench near Stony Brook station, I met a man almost twice my age with a large dog. We soon started chatting about dogs and other things. Naturally, the conversation turned cosmic in a matter of minutes. When he was younger and in college he used to show his friends the moon, planets, and even other galaxies with his telescope—just like I do with my friends and family. After some time he asked me what I thought about the Flat Earth theory. Assuming we were on the same page, I told him I thought it was no doubt bogus. We’ve known better since the 1500s, right?
Our conversation only grew more interesting when he went on to question the existence of gravity, the historical accuracy of the Apollo moon landings, the authenticity of any celestial images published by NASA (or any other space agency), and the true size and distance of both the sun and the moon. He didn’t claim to know anything for certain, but instead recommended that I follow a YouTube blogger whom he surely contracted these backwards ideas from.
This man was well spoken, super laid back, and as friendly as can be. We had a lot in common, but the one thing we consistently disagreed upon was reality. He seemed to have somehow been convinced by an anti-intellectual evangelist not only that the Earth may be flat, but also that we may be living in some sort of elaborate worldwide Truman Show.
Questioning everything with an open mind and interrogating nature is not only healthy for us as individuals but also necessary for the progress of our technological species. But common sense tells us next to nothing about our place in space, about the shape of our world, or about who we are or how we got here. Instead, we use the scientific method as a flashlight to reveal hidden and sometimes startling truths. No matter how uncomfortable these truths may be, we should never turn our eyes away from what we illuminate (or even worse—turn off our only reliable source of light altogether).
If I learned anything from this random encounter with a total stranger it’s that being a good, kindhearted person does in no way immune you from those trying to infect your mind with absurdities.
Be careful out there.
the Earth’s little quirks
are what I like about her
(not so much her quakes)
Sometimes, lots of atoms assemble into thinking, feeling, watery entities. Then, later, after constantly obtaining, manipulating, and discarding matter/energy to grow, develop (and sometimes replicate), these squishy thinkers drift back to their original, free form. Free from the chains of emotion. Free from the pain of existence. Unimaginably free.
The atoms of which we are built, in the long run, will scatter evenly across the biosphere of the Earth once again. Even if you are buried underground, deep time will nonchalantly grind you back into your constituent ingredients and mix you back into the great organic soup which saturates the crust of our world. We, in our delusions of grandeur, are only minor footnotes in the epic journey of the atoms.
“When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.
And the time will come when you see we’re all one and life flows on within you and without you.”
-George Harrison (The Beatles)
throw a monkey wrench
into mother nature’s soup
does it taste better?
how precious is Life?
(must we search sea, sky to know?)
can’t we see ourselves?
I woke up from a mid-days nap not with a thought, but an understanding. I am not a soul encapsulated in a body, but rather a functioning system with some measure of control. Control over whether I raise my fist to fight or poise my pen to write.
Life is precious.
Written: 4-20-2014 (Easter Sunday)
Walking through the Arnold Arboretum