Do the Math

For some everything can be reduced to math.
If one picks the right equation and
fills in all the right variables,
then a satisfying numerical answer appears

In our messy world,
it is not so easy due to a lack of complete knowledge
and due to competing factors
like intuition, gut feelings, hunches and self-interests

For some, 97 % agreement is not enough.
After all, the math can be corrupted.
In this new world, a solid number may not hold sway over a
pleasing face telling the lies we want to hear.

We have re-entered a time
when many non-numerical elements
have triumphed over what is obvious
in the equations and in our personal experience.

In this new post-modern view
of numbers,
urging someone to do the math
has no meaning.

Sorting the Mail

Take 3 quick breaths and then start with gathering all of the mail and quickly sort by addressee. Then separate junk from real mail/bills and magazines to be read later. No reading now! No lingering on each item. Be decisive and then move on. Recycle tossed mail and create a pile for shredding. No dawdling. It is not time for shredding. Now separate real mail from bills. This is not the time to pay the bills, which without delay you should put in a known place for payment later. Without hesitation, place all the magazines to be read later in a pile to be gone through at another time. If you finish first, you may work the shredder or help your partner who may be swamped and is possibly not following the rules. Again no dillydallying! When done, circle each other 3 times clockwise and then 3 times counterclockwise and then take 3 long breaths and promise you will do a better job keeping up with the mail and will consider cancelling subscriptions.

How to Avoid Burnout

Don’t start the fire in the first place
Practice non-attachment
Rise before dawn and exercise like crazy
Find a hobby and immerse yourself totally into it
Take an anger management course
Start a weekly practice of keeping plenty of fresh firewood around you
Stop reading the news
Always keep matches close at hand
Take a vacation and pack in as much as possible
Don’t start the fire in the first place

Just Before the Inflection Point

There is a moment
when time seems perched
before lifting off again
like a restless chickadee

You know it will fly soon
but seeing its beauty,
though common,
is delicious, nevertheless

4 am on call in the hospital
is that time for me
where fatigue disappears
and I am awash in clarity

In that moment, like between breaths,
that forbidding place is transformed into a peaceful
and comforting house outside
of yesterday and today

It doesn’t last long
as if someone remembered
to hit the advance button
and we need to catch up to meet the dawn.

Consequences after Stephen Dunn

The shaking of our world is when
the seas are warming and the
glaciers are melting as the daily march of news
which we all can see and feel is filtered
out by us all in our attempt to remain blind to
what our 5 senses are telling us about the
arrival of the avenging angels.

Lament of the Bacterium

The end is near
The noxious oozes are making me
swell beyond my control
and soon I will burst

Before all of this,
life was ok
with a regularity and order
and a common understanding among the all of the beings

Then without warning,
I was separated from my kin
as there was such a rush of movement
that swept me up and pushed me down into the chasm

There was food everywhere
and I ate, divided,
ate some more, and divided
until I had become many

I had heard rumors of
giant billowy white blobs
that could vacuum many of us up
but the cornucopia of this new land was intoxicating

Then, just like that,
it all went wrong.
We were dying all of me
I knew it couldn’t go on for ever.

MRI

It starts with an factual voice saying
to remain still no matter what.
Ignore the messaging of the sounds.
You will travel far.

Fog horns starts the journey
and I imagine a pleasant boat trip on a clear and warm day
when suddenly everything goes bad with
radiation exposure warnings blasting

Wild electronic music pulses with
the rhythm of hard driving pistons
appear as I must have somehow avoided the
nuclear disaster

Soon I have landed with
the reviving up of cars
and the jack hammers
of road construction

There is a pause
perhaps a red light
as that voice reappears
to tell me good job but remain still

The cacophony of sounds
merge then separate and then
sequence through leaving
me disoriented as to land or sea

Unable to think,
the voice reappears to
tell me 5 minutes left
and to remain still

I concentrate hard on counting
out 300 seconds as
I used to do in high school French
and hope the voice was not mistaken

It ends with a silence
then the voice
and I can’t be sure
of anything else

Memory Space

In our now time,
we count not on
our brains
but on our electronics

In other places,
without written language,
life was dependent
on trusting our neurons.

This reliance was deposited
into ritual space made up
place, sticks, dance, stories
and the rhythm of the seasons

My way has been to hold on to books,
old t shirts, streets I have lived on,
as memory sticks to guide me
in this world.

Our machines are becoming
too complex to fix and
we are losing the ability
to heal the world

What will happen
when our memories are all
encoded in our devices
and the power goes out?

When I Stole Your Thunder

When I stole your thunder
I didn’t know
it would matter to you
since we always shared ideas

When I stole your thunder
I didn’t think
the gathering clouds of doubt
would come between us

When I stole your thunder,
I didn’t want
to wait to see
if you could tell the story right

When I stole your thunder,
I didn’t hear
your gasp over
the roar of laughter

Connecting the Dots

As a kid I enjoyed
dot drawings where by linking A to B to C
a dog or bear, or flower
would appear in the find of randomness

Looking up in the sky
I can make our the Big Dipper and Orion
but my visual agility is limited
without numbers or letters to cue me

Our sense of the world has exploded with
bytes of information beseeching
us to recruit them into pictures
with orderly and diabolical intent

We are asked to judge
if the umbrella man
is part of the conspiracy
or part of the background sparkle of stars

I miss the simplicity and satisfaction
of the outlined tiger or frog
where the chaos theory of
our lives remained invisible.

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