black outlines waver in the field, behind grayish smoke
that rises thinly from aluminum stacks.
clear evening, blue morphing into orange
with hope that winter is tired and bored.
from the cement patio barefoot
I see billions of stars through a child’s eyes.
I see Pluto on the edge of what I know
desolate, rocky, lifeless surface,
swimming within the Kuiper asteroid belt.
biding time through each orbit.
from distorted images and
artist’s renditions –
horizons blaze with
distant moons cast
I see the sun’s surface
throwing energy and particles
through the emptiness.
Jupiter hangs onto the Moon.
Cassiopeia follows the Big Dipper.
sleep becomes peaceful knowing
Orion the Hunter has sword ready.
I walk from the field of native grasses
into the mature red pine forest.
shadows engulf my body
overtaking my own shadow
limbs become lost
direction becomes meaningless.
solitude granted within green
draped skeleton confines.
far from concrete buildings, flesh
and man versus machine.
Yet I see salvation in the
gathering light and the full winter
moon dipping into the water.
I long to see and feel the red planet’s surface.
dry river beds falling through white gloved hands.
I have seen photos of Mons Olympus.
in dreams I scale its north face
mile by mile over blood tinged rock
fine dust like snow
on Mount Everest pushed faster, more violently
with each step further from the known
closer to the void within
closer to the origin.
on big lake shores
miles from artificial illumination
red and white lights float
above and beyond the surface.
we watch the show for hours
entertaining ourselves with
theories and conspiracies.
what would you do if they landed here?
until we can no longer differentiate
one light or object from another
becoming one mass we cannot name.
under black hole-poked sky we
stumble back to cabin seven on the hill.
trains snake through the yard
steam rises into the frigid
air engulfing each yellow light.
tall and on guard
along each side of the tracks
like Terra Cotta soldiers
or ten-thousand beings
emerging from the earth.
what is the result of each fragment
colliding and merging?
is the event the opposite
of the big bang where everything flew apart?
if elements crash on themselves
would we even know
the constituent parts’ appearance
before we came into being?
are we then free to choose
what pieces to keep and what to discard?
does each fragment stitched together
become the being before fracturing
or through limitless combinations
do we morph like falling snowflakes?
I long to scatter with each grain of sand
lifted by the northerly wind and carried
to the places I have never seen
to the far reaches within dreams.
beyond the night
the city of industry
filled with concrete and steel
false prophets and promises,
a world of elements comes into focus
as the dark veil is removed and in the
first moment acceptance is the only decision
before the creatures turn back into the shadows.
I run after them into brush
and thorns leaving the empty field.
their shadows are fast and sleek
moving through trees and over rivers
with each turn they grow
consuming light and other shadows
the source becomes clouded, abstract
eyes become useless, black.
I follow from a growing distance
until I realize I am chasing myself.
beyond the empty field what is left?
beyond each level already achieved
how many remain in this life
before I am able to return home?
I see the stars twinkle on the inky
water and I am tired.
how much further?
how many experiences to fill an unknown quota?
if this ended now have I walked far
enough along the path to warrant another chance
beyond this existence, this reality that I have
just begun to question, pull aside, and look
for the being within the machine,
for the reasons for the purpose?
each morning I look beyond city lights
where only machines can peer
into each star and imagine what
fills the space between here and
the moon between the sun
and objects further from view.
what forces are at play?
do we exist on a microscopic scale
where the dark matter is
the sub-conscious and our thoughts
make connections and stream through
the sub-atomic levels burrowing
deeper until we find the
if I chose this life what
effort will it take to choose the next version –
assuming the tasks I failed to complete
require the unique web of thought, the map
I have created to walk this path,
will I be given another chance?
if I am permitted to stand before the
glassmaker with sincerity and honesty
I hope I am judged by the distance travelled
from each falter and not the accumulated number.
I desire to become
a far-flung comet with unknown origin
unknown reasons or trajectory.
a dying sun its only remaining path speeding toward supernova;
the initial super-heated matter, liquid, in transition.
in dreams I see a black hole devoid of tactile matter
fluid structure adapts to the environment it creates,
the universal collector of fragments
anonymous, unnamed, only known through
action, the sublime destructive results
we see light years and eons afterwards.
if this life was given to me to what deity
must I beg and pray?
and if that deity grants my desire
do I take the gift blindly or further
question the next reality and the hidden
motivations behind this exchange?
will we ever know that the path
travelled is correct?
will we ever know that these travels
are of our own choosing?
will we ever know if our existence is indebted to another
and the price weighing around our necks?
do deities hide in shadows only
to reveal themselves on the day
payment is due and there is no
reprieve for everyone has someone to pay?
beyond four walls I hear machines
in constant motion never stopping
never resting never feeling never questioning
the reasons for their constant movement.
the machines efficiently complete their task –
for a moment what is inside and outside
reach a balance and by some hand not bound
here the path the machines would
have taken in retreat from the human space
becomes engulfed in light and the landscape
collapses and merges into itself to become an empty field
and because the machines are not enlightened in
the language and thoughts we use they start on the
first plane or the first life to provide some sort
of connected reference and they pass the first test
and move quickly toward consciousness.
machines on Mars search for signs of past life
for signs pointing to future colonization
another home we are racing toward
even as the collapse looms beyond sight.
irony drips from bared teeth from lubricated steel
when machine looks for biologics looks for water.
we wait in silence
to the questions we ask.
what if something is found lurking in
extreme shadows behind razor red rocks?
or deep beneath the barren surface
in frozen ancient lakes?
do we celebrate our triumph in discovery
or do we celebrate with humility the game
we have been playing, the pieces we were given
and the rules we did not know?
if life thrived here, where has it gone?
are some of us descendants from the ashes and particulates?
are my bones made from red rock and green skin?
have these eyes seen Martian sunsets and sunrises?
what we hear and see fuels the mind
eager with anticipation and filled with empty
fields and the innate knowledge of how
to build and seed – traits lost to the winds
that blow here, to the storms we conjure through
oppression and innovations with technological
advancements applied to each day
further distancing the mind from itself.
reaching beyond this fragile place
stretching the limits of what we know
into the fabric and web of the unknown
with the excitement of children
the return to science
the return to innocence.
a child of 6 dreams and watches snow fall
the child plays baseball and bikes to the park.
beyond the child another world plays out
beyond the white picket fence and manicured lawn
and the goal slowly becomes protection and
the black veil so desperately thrown over eyes
when that world crashes and scatters
a tremendous debris field.
thoughts turn inward from long summer days
to black holes, time, and fire
as the world’s fingers reach and grasp the mind
pry open closed eyes
reality of something else comes into focus and
deep penetration takes over the night.
winter snowball wars, forts built near the street
become the quiet, intense, and fascinating nuclear winter.
further into solitude the child leaves the normal
known path to explore an alternate way to process
and interpret the world just coming into view
emerging over the horizon.
that horizon filled with silent snow and ash
as the dreams become reality.
regardless of what others say
regardless of what others see.
through my breath Rigel and Betelgeuse
glimmer and reappear as black crystal.
the sun is hours away leaving time
for reflection of my first meeting with
Orion and the text book explanations
of each star and distances difficult to
fathom when driving home through
the winter evening.
beyond the space each day
lives within the world wanders
some eyes open
unaware of nature’s energy,
unaware of earth’s memory
the lives we live
shatter and fracture.
left as individual entities
gathering in communities
for something we faintly believe.
singular focus to understand what is beyond
here soaked in questions arising from previous
answers and questions tossed away to be found again
and the hopes pinned on the circular machine
buried deep within the earth that this
will explain what is out there.
to paint a picture of origin
of purpose and intent.
are we prepared for the opposite
to the answers that we do not know
for the remote possibilities for the
presence of a presence far beyond?
are there answers we do not want to find
deep secrets hidden in text books and the
theoretical possibility that this
is a game, the hobby of a grand presence
we only see immersed in darkness
and enlightened minds.
through madness and in
each grain of sand.
do we even know the questions to ask
in the current archaic languages?
what chance do we have when our message
becomes lost in scientific translation?
if the data tells a different story
what do we tell our children
born and raised under the auspices of genius
when reality says we are dust and fragmented energy?
have we pondered enough through data, calculations
formulas, theorems, and complex experiments
with machines and devices and models
or simply through thought experiments
that these actions are predetermined and it is us
who lie at a distance waiting discovery
while being analyzed through the air
we cannot see, feel, or taste?
I think and remember these fragments
while watching the sun rise over the harbor.
the slow warming
of cold arctic streets left
pools of recent snow behind.
I wait for you to arrive from
beyond these self-imposed borders
the exile I have chosen.
early spring river bulges,
fed by melt high in the mountains.
chunks of sleek blue tinged
ice sink and reappear.
I reach toward one and my naked
fingers slip, splash in the cold water.
I reach for another with increased determination
and violently miss.
my body sinks until I hit a sandbar
piercing the surface.
the moment slows
sound rushes away
three jets quietly cross the crystal blue sky.
the silence disarming, the vastness calming.
I plea with an unseen unknown deity or being –
swept within I stop struggling.
a quarter moon sleepily follows the sun
toward the horizon when a raven squawk
breaks my daze and I look away from the sky
toward the lit trees, the rock encrusted
shoreline, toward… you.
you that heard my call that
did not ignore my plight and I
know you from somewhere a distant
memory from an ancient world
and I know your hand in love.
how, where did you arrive from?
I heard a wisp, a shadow and
thought the raven wing graced the air
my skin, perhaps that is you
you the red or black raven.
now dreams come into focus.
beyond the touch of warm fingers
sandaled feet walk across the shifting
desert dunes away from
the one recurring dream emerging quickly
from a distance that heightens fear
finds beings shivering in dark as
white snow falls and the water we drink
freezes fish and milkweed.
I feel the heat of flames roaring
release of energy and fuel welcomed with clasped hands.
the black cloud emerges from the west
and in this pre-life before your return
and years before I remembered our past together
I ran to the only place I knew.
The only place I can hide and hope I survive.
I ran and jumped from the red cliffs
into the river and I awoke in your arms
dry, clothed and somewhere I did not know.
hard rain wakens the figure face down
mud covered soaked shredded clothing
devoid of buildings and people
left within the empty field
with no memory of the previous self.
he rises and listens to nothing
silence permeates the landscape
and he vows to move beyond this emptiness.
decisions made in haste, made in anger
made in the moment of disregard for
the past, the future, and the sphere
time flows within bring pain, confusion,
tears of frustration and the innate
questioning of self and a desperate search
for reasons, for the answers to questions
emerging from the dark recesses we ignore.
I lay awake with eyes closed
and listen to rain beyond
my knowledge crash a winter
windows subtle spring knock.
I choose not to answer and hope
the chaotic transition passes quickly.
jet-stream has draped further south
high pressure has moved east
brown dormant grass begins to reach
through thinning ice.
I found myself
living beyond what I knew.
from the past until this moment
absent of future experiences.
beyond the warm black earth
falling through fingers
clenched into fists pungent
aroma fills the transparent box I am
locked within under sunlight
streaming from hole pocked ceiling.
every day’s test to survive
the rising rocky water
far out to sea and the shoreline
absent of lighthouses
and the rain pours from clouds
I cannot see and the ravens,
my last totem and thread,
have fled north leaving behind
the thunder and lightening
and distant memories.
I reach for any movement
grasping water in desperation
with hopes to drown to escape
open mouth gurgles and chokes.
the suppressed awareness thrown away
in panic surfaces pushing beyond the
layers and boundaries through the teeth
and the resulting light reveals nothing.
clouds, rain, waves – gone.
glass box shattered and the fragments blown out to sea.
naked body twisting listlessly
upon jagged rocks.
fading silhouette the full moon is gone.
who will pass by in the empty night?
who will waken the spirit
within the broken body?
who will mourn the passing of the soul
and who will remember tomorrow?
in another life I only remember now
we danced for the faceless gods
we sought their grace and trust
our love hidden from their
watchful eyes, heavens wrath
a mere breath away.
beyond here we live harmoniously.
whisked there by raven wings
you brought upon your return,
awakened each morning by their presence
upon the ground and sky,
the enormous wing spans shadow
across our faces as we lie together
drifting further from view.
you are here now in spite
of physical distance I feel your
arms around me and your breath upon my neck.
the same calm sweeps over as the
orange city still sleeps
closed windows a void within the
system and some waver with golden yellow
and the streetlights cast short shadows.
rest finally comes to quiet the racing mind
extreme thoughts uncontrolled the mind desires
to be held tightly
the only sound your breath and heart.
beyond this experience, which I
will add to the collected fragments
I keep, I hope to find myself
and the structure and core long forgotten.
I hope to gather enough
to build a bridge across the swift river.
I hope to bridge enough
of this gap to understand
humanity and the part I must play.
how many acts before an intermission?
the broken spirit wandering dry riverbeds
only stops when the sun abandons the day for night.
with some semblance of awareness remaining
each bird song is taken within.
dust choked throat speaks words I cannot
comprehend – mumbling or a dead ancient tongue
of prophets and gods –
we walk westerly toward the disappearing delta.
over time I feel we are not alone
and your voice becomes more clear.
flash of white breath, bright summer sun
the angel wings shelter dilated pupils.
and the wind from the west
throws sand and pebbles at
our exposed bodies as what we
came here with no longer matters.
what we leave with
we will not know.
artificial lights have no place here.
beneath glass I watch stars move,
others come into focus as enough
time passed for their light to reach here.
I wonder if that wavering blue light
emerged from a star still burning
still warming another planet
or if its life has ended
and I must chronicle its death
as the last witness to its life.
I see you sleeping and
quietly remember beyond
the confluence of time and arbitrary
measurements to the river dotted
with whitecaps underneath blazing sun
and faded blue.
hand in hand we watch nothing but turbulent water
and hear nothing but three jets overhead
cross toward the mountains before
disappearing and the silence returns.
what brought us here to this moment?
I realize while contemplating the classic
elements of water, air, fire, and earth
we are drawn to what feeds the spirit.
I glance at you and vow to remember you
on the other side of the canyon
on the other side of what we see
of what we hope to see.
I promise you to love you
and hold you when we jump
to dry you when we awaken in
The Border Kingdom.