The path to truth is more often paved with questions than answers.

The Constancy of Change

Copyright, 2002

Maybe it is the bulb itself that needs to be replaced.
Or, maybe it needs a new starter.
Whatever the cause,
It is flickering again,
That kitchen cylinder of Noble Gas.

And, my wife --- she much prefers
Not to have the light at all.
The on-again, off-again
Bothers her that much.
In truth, visitors are the same,
Commenting with a wince:
“Did you notice there’s something wrong with your light?”

Well, I kind of like some variability in this indoor world,
This universe of manufactured items,
Rolled off the assembly line
Somewhere --- I don’t know where,
Bronxville, Brussels, or Bombay,
Who can tell?
Is something so wrong with a light
That glows with a twilight dimness
Humming, droning, for lazy minutes,
Then flashes white hot brilliance --- and
Then finds contentment yet again with a dull orange glow?

Yes, I suppose it shall have to be replaced.
Ending its life in a landfill somewhere far from home
Or maybe in my own back yard.
But meanwhile, I wonder why no-one but me
Ever seems to wonder why it brightens now?
What causes it to flicker so?
Cosmic rays? Voltage fluctuations?
And, in either case, isn’t this sparkly tiny tube
Quite a rather remarkable little instrument indeed?
Registering either:
The Big Bang that began it all
Summarizing the million little habits of my fellow citizens
As they turn on and off their electric shavers, hair dryers, and stovetops?

It shall have to be replaced, of course, but meanwhile:
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

The Magic of Numbers

My mother:

In baseball (9 players per side; 9 innings long; 3 outs per side per inning)
They retire numbers for
Someone special.

The phone company --
I'm not so sure.

"Reach out and touch someone."
They used to say,

As though they:

As though they cared,
About someone other than those billion little pictures of Washington, Lincoln and Grant
That flow from
Wallet to


Now, there's a neat trick
Allowing us to communicate
(At the speed of light = 186, 000 miles per second; which despite their ads, they did not invent)
(as though that is not in everyone's interest, for all to communicate)
And pay the price.

216-733-1751 jumps yet again into my head,
Is reassigned to a stranger.
The notion that my mom is dead...

Maybe, I should call her.
She died a year and a half ago.
But, hey, you never know, as the lottery ad proclaims.
What with technology these days.
Maybe DSL means "Dialing Sacred Lives."


"Delaying Special Losses."
Who knows?

Would there be a recorded annoucement?
"We're sorry. The person that you tried to reach is:
The number has been retired."


Just a long, low, incessant ring of infinite duration.
Silence amplified by (a scientifically engineered) sound into a lonlier tone.


Would some bleached blonde 25.3 year old divorcee with 2.21 kids answer?

I'd say:
"Uh, Hi. You don't know me, but ...
Well, I thought I'd call; let you know that my mom used to have phone number.
And, earlier it was mom and dad's and before that even, it was my number too."

And, what would we talk about then?
(Assuming she didn't call 911 on her cell-phone)
The flow of electrons, human life, and money, perhaps.
The high cost* of telephone service.
*(Does it make you wonder when all the phone commercials are about how cheap they are?)

What would we talk about while her kids whined about breakfast in the background?
Lucky charms, maybe, or Count Chocula.
I loved sugar too when young, in all its fine forms.
(A teaspoon of sugar has more calories than you can imagine.)
I Manipulated
Mom (you have 1 and only 1 mother but 2 grandmothers and billions of grand-fish anscestors)
Into letting me ruin my teeth.
Wasn't I the smart one?
I haven't had a new dental problem for a long, long time.
But the old ones (year > 40) recur and recur.

I pick up the phone
(engineered according to the numbers)
Hear that reassuring hum,
(the frequency is scientifically set)
And then return it, gently, gently,
To the cradle.
By human touch alone.

I don't calculate
The dollar cost of this small act
Although undoubtedly I should.
I just return it, gently, gently
To the cradle.
By human touch alone.


Is a dream
Is a dream
More than merely the sweet but senseless scream
Of the heat-oppressed brain
From the drip drop drain
Of chemical overflow -- I don't know --
Random neurons on the go go go?

Is a dream
Is a dream
Maybe something more
Something from the core's core
The inner inner being's being's store
That is the outer out of all of it and all
Closing the circle
From the very very small
To the universe's universe and all?

Is a dream
Is a dream
Progress Reports from worlds we somewhere create
Building those great green meadows
Those roiling purple oceans and the wild fanged beasts
Orgies and ogres and fencing and feasts
Shadow worlds where we fly and die and love and hate.
Somewhere across the galaxy a house stands
High on a rocky crest above the blue-green sands
And all the twists and turns of that strange place
Are but reflections of the flickers on our lids and face

Is a dream
Is a dream
A searching striving blindly groping for the One Great Light
The true Truth that will astound us; lay us flat
Knockout punch us with the crystal clear of its utter it-ness
So we lay paralyzed, helpless, beached in awe
Our whole life strange, deranged, and rearranged
Making sudden sense so simply put
Like a wild child's smile
But only flashing for awhile...
On waking, the lamp extinguishes the Light
As artificial praise will do the wild child.

Is a dream
Is a dream
Just the dumping of the shredder basket by the night crew
Our mighty triumphs of the day and defeats
Little more than last month's memos
No-one any longer cares; yet no-one dares deny
The overwhelming importance of tomorrow's report
Destined to be edited and commented upon and committeed
Re-issued, dated, filed, archived, and all copies shredded.
So too, so too, the very paper fabric of our lives

Is a dream
Is a dream
Maybe -- Perhaps -- could it be a trifle more
A beacon lighthouse glowing guide to misty shore
Wshere you and I and all of us could be
Put right our jade and sapphire spaceship earth at last
Scoff the troubles of a silly selfish past
Our eyes wink open and awake we'd finally see:
Shimmering, vibrant, the radiant rainbow of reality.

Jenna the Star-traveler

Our lonely bikes adjoin in a well-swept garage;
The day is sky blue sun and bright;
But where --
Where is my bike riding partner?
Not there.
I stare
At the wind rushing through her hair
But, ah, it's only empty air --
A day-dream of the jet-stream.

And there in the corner, the big blue ball
I won for her at the fair
But where --
But where is my kick-ball partner?
Not there.
I stare.
At her spinning, watching and catching -- yea!
But, ah, it's only empty air --
A day-dream of the jet-stream.

I wander in the woods; there in the bog
Out jumps Mister Enormous Green Frog!
But where --
Where is my frog-catching partner?
Not there.
I stare.
At the quick-darting hands so deft...
But then I see it's only empty air --
A day-dream of the jet-stream.

Out in the lake, I bathe in bright li