Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Among the Missing

We must trust, even when there is no body
to see, no tiniest trace of the others,
that we are all here, all reachable,
not one of us ever irrevocably lost.

Otherwise we each become a child who plays
hide and seek so cleverly that none can find him
and we think we'll just stay hidden,
but at last wonder where everyone's gone
(we want to brag about the cleverness).
By then the seekers, deciding there must be
holes in the universe, become persuaded
that one can be utterly lost.

Then (innocent yet of death) we fear
for the persistence of play, invent lies
and compulsions to prevent others
and ourselves from leaving, say
WE ARE ALL ONE, so that there will be
no leaving, or say WE ARE EACH
there is no one else to leave.

Thus has our play been protected
out of existence, leaving us stuck
with each other in the barriers of the game
(turbulences, distances, rocks, bodies, aeons)
to the point where, even if we recall
our separateness, we can no longer
reach out to one another.

Like wind over water, we are perceived
only in what we create. In the quick, rippling
cross-currents, all perceptions flow,
come in question like the changing faces
behind the face in the mirror.

No creation can hold its creator, not
soft eyes nor hard poetry; no perception
can replace knowing you are here
and knowing I know.

No commentary this time (except this one). This time I will have faith in my poem.

What is NOT Faith?

Faith is Everything

Remembering solves not knowing.
Those who cannot remember have beliefs.
This we call faith. Between knowing
and remembering is not knowing -- being
right there with it, but not knowing.
This, too, we call faith. And the
unknowing call knowing faith.
And below belief is mystery, where
one becomes the unknown, knowing only
that nothing can be known, which also
some call faith. Even waiting
to find out what one is waiting for
is called faith. And total unconsciousness
bespeaks vast faith. In the words
of a modern theologian, "I believe
I'll have another drink."

This poem summarizes ways we know. I've seen the word "faith" used to characterize all of them (and a few not mentioned in the poem). Even the absence of faith is a kind of faith or can be seen that way. (Ask any fan of existentialism.) I suppose this is the kind of profundity that equates to triviality. If you draw a circle, you have what's inside it and what's outside it. Any mode of being attributed to an identity has, we assume, outer limits and things beyond those limits, things that aren't it. Or, more simply, whatever I know is not all that can be known. And yet I act. Or don't act. Either action or non-action can be viewed as a manifestation of faith. Here's an example:

I drive my car down the street, looking at what's ahead, checking the rear-view mirror for what's behind, looking to both sides. I'm being careful. This knowing by looking is, in a sense, the opposite of faith. Or it could be called my faith in looking. But I never look up for approaching meteors (and seldom look up to watch out for safes dropped from upper-floor windows). Carelessness? Or playing the odds? Or what's the point, since I wouldn't have time to dodge a meteor? Or faith?

Or perhaps nothing is beyond me. Perhaps I am all that is, and what I know is all there is to be known. And if I say I know this to be true (and to whom would I say it?), that would sound very much like faith.

Getting back to the poem, remembering solves not knowing because knowing is simply knowing. One remembers by looking at something (a mental picture?) in order to "remind oneself" of what one doesn't know. Odd, since we must know what we are able to make a picture of. What complicated games we play.

What are some of the other ways we know things?

Knowing about them at a slight remove, not completely able to pervade what is to be known, not quite able to be it;

looking (a greater remove), by which is meant looking, hearing, tasting, etc.--perceiving in the usual ways;

feeling emotions about and projecting emotions toward and sensing emotional responses;

interacting via effort (as when, to refute doubts of reality, Samuel Johnson kicked a stone hard);

thinking and thinking and figuring away at things, as if somehow our words will eventually become the things we are thinking about;

symbolizing things and perceiving only the symbols (concentrated packages of thinking, really);

eating (a way of knowing or admiring something);

having sex with ("...and Adam knew Eve")--where it is purely a sexual exchange;

bowing in awe before the mystery of things (a despair of knowing);

waiting for an answer or just waiting, not knowing for what or even that one is waiting;

unconsciousness (a considerable effort not to know which leaves a kind of imprinted knowledge, a scar embedded in the hard-shelled resistance to knowing, a way of not-knowing pain, a memory not easily accessed or subject to reasoning).

These constitute a scale (with many intervening steps, no doubt), steps downward from knowing (or perhaps from an unknowing total capability for knowing, at each step downward using more mechanical means to know, a more condensed and limited approach to knowing. These ideas are not my own, but my take (I emphasize, MY take--my realizations on these matters may omit or distort the source of this scale) on the "Know to Mystery Scale" developed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s. (Note: That link might be difficult for those unfamiliar with the terminology. This scale is best explained in some of his lectures. Or, if you're ambitions, you can find all needed definitions by reading all the axioms that precede the one that contain this scale.)

I was looking one day at the various intricacies of "faith" and how that word seemed to fit with equal propriety any step on that scale. I found the scale useful. I could actually find my position on that scale with respect to specific attempts by me to know. And spotting that position, I could improve it. (Why is moving up it and "improvement"? Knowledge is thus acquired more rapidly, with both greater depth and detail and is more readily and effectively applied.)

Knowing at its theoretically highest level would be creating. One would create that which is to be known and thereby know it. At much lower levels, one knows what one considers is already there to be known by interacting with it. As one moves down these levels, increasingly one ceases to know and becomes what must be known and eventually what is unknowable (or moving in that direction). Have you ever tried to understand, for example, the thoughts or feelings of a rock? Or a person who has become an erratic object? Or someone in a coma? Or a psychiatrist?

My conclusion? Discussions of faith are less useful to me than discussions of knowing and how to know and how to know one knows.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Cynics say faith and religion
try to explain away the world's
chaos and mystery.
Sometimes it's the opposite:

They try to explain all the things we KNOW,
though we see no reason in this universe
why we SHOULD know.

A cynic is one who cannot face
how much he knows,
for it is mysterious to him that one can know --

and threatening,because he has done much
that he does not want to know,
nor know that it can be known.

Cynicism, then, is an attempt to explain away
what, despite the world's chaos, we know.
Why SHOULD there be a reason in this universe
for our knowing? Why should we expect
the playground to teach us the game we play?

Some religion is pretended knowledge.
Some religion is refusal to know.
Some religion is an excuse for knowing --
an apology to the physical universe
for patronizing a competitor.

Cynicism is embarrassment about knowing.

If you know and know that you know,
you can dispense with both excuses
and embarrassment.

The poem above suggests that faith can be many things, and that it is a vast oversimplification to label all faith a crutch, a way to avoid the so-called truths (the "nitty gritty" ones). There is a kind of faith that amounts to integrity, a willingness to recognize one's own knowledge. And most cynicism, I think, amounts to an inverted crutch (must be uncomfortable to rest one's arm pits on the small end).

After all, certain things associated with faith are far from comfortable for most people. For example, if we're immortal beings, what will we do with eternity? Even visions of harps and angels suggest ultimate boredom. And if blame and shame do not end with death, how will we bear those burdens?

Isn't it comfortable to think that we will not have to experience that ordeals we've left to our descendants (possibly nuclear wars, certainly huge indebtedness, perhaps a Brave New Medicated World, etc.)? Isn't it uncomfortable to think that we don't get out of it that easy? That we may be our descendants?

Which is the crutch and which is the obvious? I think the cynical ones know damned well that they've been around longer than one lifetime. Or at least they did as children, before they erected stone walls of arguments and evasions. Why else would they dodge so clumsily? For example, if you say that we are each immortal beings, the cynic will say that that's silly, because we all know that bodies die, an odd non-sequitur. I think the cynic hopes for an end, all debts paid forever, no need ever to take responsibility for past actions. And, as the poem says, I think the cynic proclaims the impossibility of knowing certain things because the cynic hopes never to be known by others.

Of course, some forms of religiosity are refinements of cynicism--of failed cynicism, a cynic covering his ass, just in case, or putting more impenetrable walls between himself and knowing or being known.Skepticism is a different critter. What one knows can and should be tested. But tested against what? What experts say? What "everybody knows"? Actually, I think there are better tests. For example, the day (age 12) when I, drug free, looking up through birch and tall pines at woolly summer clouds, found myself far above my body, filling up the sky, I knew something. Here's a poem I wrote about that:

Growing Pains

At a distance from the bustling cookout fire,
I, twelve, awkward, unpopular,
lay back on my jacket on pine needles
to look up through branches
along tapered birch-laced pines,
rising so swiftly I found myself

suddenly alone in the sky, filled up
with millions of minute rustlings of leaf, needle
and branch, each defining with each movement
new planes of perspective,

bending, supple as wind, to touch
the curvature of clouds. My body
tiny, but I am huge, overflowing
myself, floating there...

when a kid threw sand in my face!
I wept, turned away from him, hid my face.

Wait! Retake! Close-up! Slow motion!

Yes, floating there, I looked down
at the other small bodies scuttling
about the camp-fire and thought: They
could never understand THIS--
and had started to think: THAT thought
doesn't belong to the sky--

when a kid threw sand in a body's face--mine.
Anger and self-pity whooshed out like air
from a punctured balloon, as I was swallowed upb
y my growing body.

Turning from myself, I felt myself,
watching me, weep a few bitter tears
at my silly smallness,
floating there.

But whether that's "evidence" or can be communicated to others is another subject. What I will say is that at that time I not only knew something, but knew that I knew it. Later I learned of ways others could experience something similar (with considerable predictability--and without drugs or hypnosis). Obviously anyone else's reasoning about how such a thing cannot be or cannot be known will not impinge upon my certainty of my own experience. Unless I'm so suggestible that I can be persuaded that a hot stove is cold because someone has placed a label on it saying "COLD."

But what I mainly look at is workability: Does supposed knowledge, treated as knowledge, open my life up or close it down? Do I become a more able or a less able person, brighter or stupider, better able to align data and resolve confusions or less able, more useful to others or less useful, etc.?

But this, too is another subject, not the point of the poem. My poem is subtler than I am, and doesn't seek to insist on any particular knowledge, but merely to suggest that if there is any to be obtained, it will not be obtained via cynicism. It is true, I think, that some forms of faith (for example, acceptance of dogma with no willingness to relate it to one's own experience) are obstacles to knowing. It is also true, I think, that cynicism is a barrier to knowing. Both are vested interests, based on fear.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


O Ye Faithful

Only the faithful, who believe
in what they cannot see,
allow themselves the luxury of doubt.
The faithless cannot afford to doubt,
but must be rigid in their insistence
on not seeing what looms before them:

Behold the adulterer's faith
in spouse's stupidity, in the nonexistence
of a specific agonizing future, in somehow
being able to talk his/her way out of anything
or to wait out all questions in silence
until life moves on, all questions
forgotten. Behold the faith of politicians
in our apathy and forgetfulness, the faith
of conmen, admen and newspapers
in our credibility, the faith of deadbeats
(as they waste friend after friend)
that no matter how many of us they break,
another willing crutch will appear
to prop them up (until it, too,
snaps beneath their bulk
to be replaced by yet another).

A friend suggested that this poem should begin with "Behold the adulterer's faith," and probably she's correct, since that's showing what the first stanza, abstractly and somewhat obscurely generalizes about. And it's where the poem moves from purely oracular (and who wants to hang out in an incense-choked cavern with a hag who cuts open birds to search the guts for omens and talks like a zombie?) to something with an element of wit and irony. I think it's interesting to see how much faith the supposedly faithless have. Sometimes blind dumb faith is simply blind and dumb, like all the criminals who know they'll never get caught--even after being caught again and again.

But I've kept the first stanza because I like the point that there's another kind of faith, not at all blind, which gives one the certainty (and space) needed to tolerate doubt. The criminal's faith, if faith it is, is desperate. He puts himself in a position where he can't afford doubt. It's too expensive.

Really, faith is a word we use to describe someone who seems certain of things for which we, who call it faith, see no evidence. But such faith can range from an apathetic agreement with what one has been told or had impressed upon him to desperate grope for something to which one can cling--and to someone who is simply certain of what is obvious to him, an obviousness that escapes others.

If someone had extremely sensitive hearing and could hear melodies where for others there was only silence, those of us who could not hear the melodies he danced to would call his hearing faith until all our instruments agreed with him. The one-eyed man among the blind, if they had no concept of vision, might seem to them a man, not of vision, but of faith, if he went running ahead of them without due regard for obstacles.

But it's fun, when one knows, to doubt what one knows, to challenge it. Science (derived from a word meaning "to know"), when it IS science, relishes doubting itself. I have no doubt that you are here, reading this, but it is easy for me to doubt it. I can decide you're here. I can decide you're not.

For that matter, I can decide that I'M not here. (Or am I a question?) The more certain I am of who I am, the more I can play with who I am. The more able I am to be myself, the more easily I can be anyone or anything, like a child being Daddy. I suppose such things are not really what we usually think of as doubt. They are play, fictions, art (more rudely, lies). But where certainty is simply knowing what one knows (and what one doesn't know), doubt becomes play, fictions, art.

Knowing in the absence of evidence that others can perceive--so similar to what we call insanity (he KNOWS there are giant spiders coming down the wall others see has no giant spiders on it). One difference is that one who DOES know in the absence of such evidence is not obsessive about it, is able to take the viewpoint of others who do not know. He can choose viewpoints. And, if he is artist enough, he can get others to see what he sees. The great composers have all given us music that only they, at first, could hear.

Of course, if he's indiscreet, he may still find himself burdened with a "diagnosis." But only shrinks can fail to see the difference between one clinging to a viewpoint others do not share and unable to assume any other viewpoint, and a person who is able to assume agreed-upon viewpoints, but able to assume viewpoints that are his alone.

It's not the ability to create and experience and dwell in a world no one else can perceive that is madness. It's inability to share in the agreed-upon creation we call reality. And another sort of madness is the inability to create and experience and dwell in a world no one else can perceive. Such an ability is, I think, native to all beings, so those who judge the sanity of others based on departure from agreed-upon reality are, themselves, awfully scared of slipping into knowledge and finding themselves having to take responsibility for what they can create.

That's a complex statement. To simplify: There are the normal (the so-called sane), who are not in very good shape, having lost the child's ability to pretend and perhaps a great deal more and who cling to what everyone knows, the most boring sort of faith. There are those who, having been bruised by the reality that everyone knows and having harmed others in that reality, prefer not to confront that reality, prefer to pretend it's not there or dub-in something else, rooms crawling with giant spiders, for example. (His world will be full of exaggerated manifestations of whatever he is trying to evade in reality. Resistance is pressure against something that has no space to retreat into. It oozes back into the life of the one who pushes it away.)

And there are those who are truly sane, able to choose a viewpoint, certain enough of themselves not to need to cling to agreement, nor to need to fight agreement and cling to an alternative reality. Able to create.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What is Faith

[This is the first of a series of poems (and brief essays) on the concept: Faith.]

Someone Somewhere

Faith is the certainty,
even in the absence of perceivable life,
that there is someone there,
and not only someone,
but an infinite abundance of someone.

We dress up someone as Self, thinking,
how can one lose certainty
of self, but one can, as easily
as looking in the mirror.

Then we name it others,
until the day we extend a trembling candle,
whispering, "Is there anyone there?"

Then we call it God,
so that it has nothing to do
with us, and this works, except only God
is allowed to have certainty,

while faith has become our own
cancerous replica of certainty,
the machine's decision that machines
are not designed to operate smoothly
in the absence of the idea
of someone somewhere.

Commentary: This poem describes a reduction or decay of faith, not into cynicism, but into a mockery of itself, the way clumps of cancer cells sometimes take the shapes of the organs they destroy.

Faith, as seen in stanza one above, is a certainty. When one chooses to doubt this certainty (persuaded it is shaky? for a game?), the next step is to "solve" this doubt by putting faith in something more broadly agreed upon, more visible, like one's identity.

When that proves shaky too (and who has not at some point looked in the mirror and seen signs of mortality and weakness?), we put faith in others--for example, fall in love, and place our faith in a lover, one who will never fail us.

That failing, we put faith in something safe because it seems to us to be nothing at all (a God posited to be beyond anyone's experience). Probably we first try wooden and stone gods, looking for lastingness. Wood burns, stones shatter. But nothing can shatter what can't be experienced.

What we start with is hard to identify, but can be experienced, that infinity of presence. Whether it is called God or Self or true self or spirit or glumph, it is not only a presence, but an infinity of presence or an infinite capability in God or in ourselves of granting life. It is not a certainty one must cling to or protect. It is simply created and known (and creating is the surest knowing--the ability to create and uncreate).

Master Eckhart (best Googled as "Meister Eckhart"), a Catholic mystic, said (before the Inquisition gagged him) "The eye with which you see God is the eye with which God sees you." The faith I describe in the first stanza is, in a way, that eye. It isn't important whether that certainty is God's certainty of you or your certainty of God. They are one thing.

Or so postulates this poem.

It moves from God to God, where God begins as what is most intimately present to us (more so than the "self" we define by body, personality, attitudes, etc.), then moves to God as infinitely alien to us. It moves from faith as certainty to faith as desperate fear of having no certainty and of there being nothing it is possible to be certain of.

At the top, faith is not separable from knowledge by immediate experience, and is perhaps even communicable to others, simply by sharing that presence. It is as empirical as the expectation that a hammer blow to the finger will cause pain. At the bottom, faith becomes a footnote to one's life, an insistence on knowing what one has decided can't be known, a creed. It is this level of faith that we call different from or even incompatible with knowledge. It is when we view faith this way that we begin to classify religions as gnostic (based on the idea that one can come to know God or spiritual awareness) as opposed to faith-based.

At this level, having attributed to God all causality, all ability to create, we have defined ourselves as automatons. This is a "belief in" (I've never seen a good definition of "in" when used thus with "belief"--it makes me think we get into something, like a moving bundle of meat, in order to believe), a belief in God in the absence of God's having any presence in what we are. God's presence in what we are is a concept (in every religion, among some of its followers) that the Gospel of John expresses in "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." There are many other similar expressions, some from people who, apparently, do not mention God.

Personally, I do not look for a theology to believe in. Any theology can be a ladder to be climbed and discarded or an anchor to hold one fixed and down. (And also fun to banter about, mustn't omit that.) But I do find--and I've worked hard at this thing that now is almost second nature--that, increasingly, I'm aware of an infinite abundance of someone, and that, increasingly, it doesn't matter what I find this "in." When I admire our cat, I find it in her (and understand why Christopher Smart included perhaps the best cat poem ever written ("For Geoffrey, His Cat") in a long religious poem, "Jubilate Agno" (rejoice in the lamb). And when I admire any person, I find it, or any tree or nothing at all.

I do not call myself a mystic, because none of this seems mysterious to me. And because I see no importance in calling myself something. Not that I have no named religion, but it's the means I use to achieve the state, not a label for a set of beliefs.

My body is alone now, in a room, typing at a computer, with a faith that you are here, infinitely here with me, if not now...then now.

Friday, January 16, 2009


When I was little, and my Dad went to "the office", his presence in the house was strongest in the front closet, where, on the top shelf, like a row of conservative silent fathers, were hats, part of the uniform, like suits and ties, part, really, of the shape of a man's head in the 1930s and 40s, narrow-brimmed, felt, front-to-back dented. Fedoras, I guess, though I heard them called only "hats"--where did they go?

They vanished before anyone heard of global warming. Why? They were hardly unmanly. Even now they don't look quaint on Bogart or McMurray or Mitchum. I read recently that the first dictator of Paraguay ordered every man to wear a hat (this in the tropics) so that respect could be shown to ladies by doffing them. (What a good word, "doff"--from "do off". Why didn't it become mob slang: "Vinnie, that asshole needs to be doffed." We'd have the Mafia Don and the Mafia Doff.) So maybe rudeness or Women's Lib unhatted us.

But, by the way, how do we account for the passing of women's hats? They were never doffers, but always hatted, not just at banquets, but whenever they left the neighborhood (e.g., to "go downtown" to shop or see a doctor) and sometimes close to home, big-brimmed bonnets and tiny pill-boxes with bits of veil in front, all shapes and shades. These, too, are gone or worn to stand out, unusual.

But hats don't characterize Mom as they do Dad. Women were most often in and around the house, bare-headed. But men -- any day downtown, lunch hour, groups of suited men passing, heads brim-crossed and muffin-creased, silk bands out, leather sweat-bands in, hair or skin (fashion was kinder to bald men then) nestled in soft silky white inner lining, just enough brim to shade the eyes -- trimmed cowboy hats for crowded city life. If they'd lasted a few years longer, I'd have gotten my first one around age 17 (1959). Were they expensive? Did blue-collar men own at least one, for going to church? I'm so ignorant. When I was a kid, a man was someone who went to an office. But I think they all--even the tramps--wore fedoras, though some were hand-me-down, frayed.

When hats vanished, how many hat makers went unemployed? (Were they all twitching-mad from chemicals used to shape hats--mad as hatters?) And how masculine those hats were! What more seductively perverse than Marlene Dietrich in a man's hat? Did poets then wonder what had become of top hats? Derbies? (Imagine Abe Lincoln in a Fedora, Bogart in a Derby.)

OK, so times and styles change. But this was so quick: It happened in my time, my Dad's time, I don't know when or how or why. There went Dad and his cohorts to work in suits, ties, overcoats and fedoras; then the same men went to work in suits, ties, overcoats and no hats. How do such things happen. Was it Eisenhower? I see Truman fedora'd, but not Ike. He was military. Fedoras were civilian. Probably it was the return of all those soldiers, not in a rush to replace one helmet with another, really in no mood for uniforms of any sort. My Dad wasn't accepted into the Army: Flat feet. Being a civilian in a fedora was not something he was proud of. In 1945 arrived a flood of demobbed, hatless heroes from the world's most informal army, known for slang, chewing gum and big-nosed Kilroy, who was here. (Hitler expected little from such easy-going troops, officers who responded to formal invitations to surrender with "Nuts!") It must have become young and heroic to be hatless. (But why didn't they do away with ties as well? What a sadly missed opportunity.)

I'm satisfied. I'm sure that's the answer, so don't tell me about the felt mines drying up in 1946--I don't want to hear it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Add Freedom and Stir

Freedom is what my love grants
any motion I choose to become.
Since I can endow it, I must
be it, becoming aware of myself
(which is becoming aware of freedom)
in the bestowing.

I grace the eagle's obsessive circling
with soaring ecstasy;
I invest the cat's wide-eyed insinuations
with her love for us, freely given;
I tease the tree's knotty algorithms
for maximizing absorption of sunlight
(another form of freedom) through
leaf surfaces – I tease them into
a naughty frolic of lacy extravagance;
I add to a dust-blued scrim of atmosphere
my own infinity into which vision
can plunge, losing itself.

All this is true, but it must be added,
what I give to what I love is also true,
and, once given, has always been,
for it is I and I (and each of us) alone
who am always and endow the gleam of now --
like sunset's red-gold sparkle racing our car
along the telephone wires -- with what I am.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One S or Two S's?

One, Many, None.

The addict has many needles,
but is only briefly needless.
Rain. No cabs. It raises my hackles,
being hackless.
At poker my money trickles away
when I am trickless.
You pick the ticks off me: It tickles...
But I become tickless.
I blow bugs from my bugles until they are bugless.
Don't drool on your Bibles:
Never read your Bibles bibless.
No cookie crumbles crumblessly.
With toothpicks I could spear the pickles...
were I not pickless.
In pain, we welcome Death, for sickles
make us sickless.
Having many girdles, she is never girdless.
Milk that curdles is not curdless.
In his groin he feels no prickles, being prickless.
The proud teamster lost his truck, begs the bosses
for another: Truckless, he truckles.
Breathless, he dangles, dang!-less.
Lovers sing, but singles are singless.
The jungles of the Collective Unconscious may be Jungless.
In many trips to the plate, he triples,
but now, retired, he is tripless.
No man wants her with all her pimples,
so she is pimpless.
She found all men to be wimps, so became a nun.
Now, wearing wimples, she is wimpless.
Waiter, we asked for our bills. Why are our tables
Animals in old stories never use laundry detergent.
All our fables are FABless.
The minister told his hecklers to go to Hell,
for, wearied by heckles, he was Heckless.
Spaghetti without sauce, tangless tangles.
Spilt barrels: bungless bungles.
The widow's soup: Ladless, she ladles.
No spurs on our horses. These are stabless stables.
Tall silent movie idols: gabless Gables.
The passionless man idles, Idless.
How do we get to the maples, mapless?
To make us A.D.D.less, with drugs the shrink addles us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Famous Fatty-Ass IDs

Yesterday I suggested to people
(poets marveling over the wondrous
human brain, the only bit of organic matter,
said some admired scientist, that is aware
of itself) that they were not their brains,
but themselves. One of them said,
"Not according to science" - referring,
I suppose, to some brains kept in skulls
(rather than bottles) attached to muscles
in white (probably stained) lab jackets or
dark (subtly striped) suits and discreet ties.

When I dared to mention the frequent bemusement
of such brains, when distracted by generous grants
from pharmaceutical brains (it takes money
to maintain fatty, healthy brains), he began
to lift his pencil before him and drop it
on the table and pick it up again and
drop it again, to show me that each time
the pencil, dropped, moved downward,
something he seemed to think had been discovered
by modern science. I thought this game
with his pencil was an amazing thing
for a brain to do.

Later he read us a poem (for this was
a poetry workshop - brains aware of being
brains marvelously aware of being brains
aware of being marvelous brains) that told
a story about someone referred to as "I."
A brain (with a name the brain calls "mine")
suggested replacing "I" in each occurrence
with "A brain." It didn't read well that way
(to this brain's judgment), but why should
that matter to that matter?

Posted by Dean Blehert