Inhabiting the realm of spirit
is less easy
than most think.
Weathering the storms of blood crashing
against the walls of elastic veins
that give with the flow and
hug with the ebb,
as flesh seeks to mirror the mind’s flights
of fancy, chasing
objects of desire in dreams and sidelong
reining in the roving eye,
the hand with a will of its own, reminding,
reminding the heart to remember
the upward glance and check
the downward slide.
What dignity is there in love,
when weighted by heavy
Of course, I cannot prove a word of this —
for the evidence is long since fallen
victim to conquest of truths
its distant cousin, or worse,
no relative at all.
Of course, I cannot heap up a mountain
of facts and figures
at our empirical idol’s feet and offer up
a smoking sacrifice
of eye-witnesses or reliable written
So I must trust, instead, to the resonance
of cellular memory
to bear witness to my findings, born
out of chance readings of varied texts
that are magically related
in fully unexpected ways.
I must fall back on our faded, jaded,
ragged-edged ability to believe, our stressed
willingness to suspend disbelief
just a moment
till my side is heard out.
The following is less the offspring
of invented theory
than discovery and hope.
Oh, but we have traveled long, each
of us on a separate,
disparate course that somehow
comes parallel to the other,
now and then.
Now and again, I wonder
if your feet have fallen half
as hard as mine
on the dry, cracked soil of the dead
I sometimes call my “bid for glory”
and then again, my “bane” or
Or if you are content
with anonymous comforts taken among
suburbanites and hidden
Oh, but we each have taken
alternative routes — you
with your demure town meetings, I
with my spontaneous protests —
but still we find ourselves
every couple of years or so — the chat
in a coffee house wedged into a strip mall,
the stray postcards blushing
of a latest adventure —
like loops in a chain link fence
placed around the perimeter of a once-
now gone to wild and woolly seed.
Again and again
I wonder if, and when, we’ll meet
Interesting things always happen, when I invest quality time in exploring the Web. I find all sorts of fascinating material to ponder. And Twitter has been a real boon, in that regard. My thought process would not be the same without it, it’s fair to say, since I’d have access to a lot fewer ideas that are normally well out of reach of my solitary life.
About a year ago, I was on Twitter and caught sight of a call for papers for a conference in Antwerp entitled “Perceiving at a Distance“.
It looked fascinating. They had a great website (perceiving.at – find it now at the Wayback Machine). And there was all sorts of intriguing thought-material to “chew” on in my spare time (commuting, washing dishes, waiting for SQL queries to resolve).
I’d already been working with some ideas around perception, proximity, and distance, myself, so naturally I was intrigued to discover that — indeed — there’s a whole flock of folks who are engaged in philosophies of perception. And there was a whole conference about Perceiving at a Distance. Woot!
It got me thinking some more. A lot more.
It seemed to “conceptually bolt on” to another object of my contemplation, which has practically haunted me, since I first realized it, a few years back. Namely:
In all the 150 trillion (give or take) neural synapses we have in our brains, there’s actually no direct connection between the axons (presynaptic terminals) and the dendrites (post-synaptic terminals). In fact, synapses by their very definition, are not direct connections, rather a sort of “chemical bridge” for data to cross. In the illustration above, you can see a very small gap between the two parts of the connecting neurons. It’s minuscule, but it’s there.
And now there was a conference of philosophy about perceiving at a distance.
It got me thinking…
And it got me writing.
There’s a book in the works about this — and there’s even more to it, than I initially thought.
Speak to me not
of lost chances
and dashed hopes.
on opportunities seen
too late, then
passed over in the rush for more blatant,
Sing to me no songs
over loves untended,
when the world smothered
the wayward sparks of your youth with the march
of police and dogs, and a series
of concurrent overdoses and
that robbed you of your palpable hope.
No, tell me no stories
of folly and failure, don’t describe
how it all might have been
speak to me of the hopes that once
were, and will be
all over again.
Tell me how your unslaked thirst
drove you on past mirages
to drink at the waiting oasis.
Dwell on the fact that opportunity
did knock, once upon a time.
And hold precious your fantasies
of what never was — sweeter, to be sure,
than what truly could have been.