Sunday, April 11, 2021

Mystery of the Day



At the edge of the forest, a man

erects a twenty-foot antenna,

unfolds table and chair, and plies

a boxy electronic device.


Surely, he’s contacting species

millions of light years from here—

creatures long gone extinct

that will receive his message

long after Earth is a cinder.


Living the science fiction life

suits thickset white-beaded fellows

bored with retirement in towns

too dull to compete with the blaze

of the post-atomic night sky.


What if I ask this man to explain

his battery-powered hobby?

Would I learn it’s something mundane,

like ham radio? Or broadcasting

mambos and sambas for bears?


No, I watch from a distance

and wonder what he’s telling

some green or gray-toned life-forms

about our winsome little habits.


Maybe he’s hoping warp drives

will enable them to conquer

this planet and impose a fresh

culture on our depleted race.


The April wind rattles the forest.

A red-tailed hawk soars overhead.

Soon new leaves will speak aloud,

muffling the sincerest attempts

to enact alternative worlds.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Framed and Finished



Profoundly stippled by rain,

the view from the rail coach window

corrugates against my face.


In the foreground, a red tractor,

a man in yellow shirt and blue cap

maneuvering before a structure


composed of simple geometries—

single story, range of tall windows.

Beyond and overlooking the scene,


a power pole is a crucifixion

with a bulky corpse slung on it

that’s probably a transformer.


A day so simply presented

but crudely textured by weather

offers little compensation


before the train lurches forward,

slicking on wet rails toward New York

where skyscrapers bristle with anger


and the greatest sums of money

change hands without a whimper.

I have errands in the city;


but rather than visit the stock exchange

with its ravishing visions of wealth,

I would like to steer that red tractor


beyond the frame of this window.

As the rain continues painting

with its blunt acidic brush strokes,


I would step indoors and wring myself

dry in a heated warehouse full

of unknown materials plotting.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Snow Runes



Strewn in the road, many strips of snow a couple of feet long, three inches wide. Laid in varied positions, some touching others, some parallel. Some cross at right or acute angles. Obviously, these are runes. As a literary scholar, it’s my job to read them. They are probably a celestial comment on the theology we’ve taken for granted for too long. Time to revise our thinking and ourselves. Time to rename our gods. Time to learn to sleep flat on our backs so we can see the roof and ceiling lift to expose us to the stars. Who laid down these runes? I check a runic dictionary and learn that some of these are characteristic, others not. Perhaps a combination of runic characters with Morse Code idiolect.  The first sentence extends from one power pole to the next, a hundred steps away. Using my innate gift for unknown languages, I determine that it reads, “Thus be the great cabal assembled among the crosswinds.” This is the first and only sentence so far. I gaze down the road but detect only a few more scattered runes, too far apart for syntax. I realize that these neat strips fell from the power lines, proving that an ancient electrical spirit is at work. Perhaps more information will occur overnight. Maybe the vibration of passing spaceships I sometimes hear deep in the small hours will shake more rune-strips from the lines, imparting a generous wisdom.