There was a time when I could
sense the immensity of the Earth. I could
feel it in my bones.
I remember on one particular occasion I
stared, dumfounded, through the empty night, at the moon.
I, whirling on the edge of the Earth at abstract speeds,
and the moon, standing at attention to the unseen Sun,
an unlikely pair, tonight
we are both so alone.
The Sun was scolding the Moon, while
I hid behind the Earth. My turn
would come in the morning, as
sure as the turning of the Earth.
Damned rotational inertia.
Why do the shadows recede?
Like all aspiring physicists,
for the moment I was able to ignore the air.
The Earth, with no atmosphere and my head
scraping the lower edge of space. I
wondered if it would make a mark there.
On this one particular occasion, I became
conscious of the world below my feet, and the
black empty ocean it swims in.
This world had never felt so
real, so mindless, so
if the Sun is a grapefruit in Boston,
Alpha Centauri is an eggplant in Reno—
so much empty space
has to be real,
something has to act.
Something has to produce the
note a jazz musician plays, some strange, spinning
concoction of emotion & chance, spilling energy & control
The molecules that make a man emote
slam the air that
carries the sounds to the
listener’s ear, shakes the listener’s heart
rattling its cup of change.
The solemn listeners nod, fill the room, which is
just a room, in a building, in a city,
on a continent, on a planet, churning lava within,
falling in tandem around a star,
born of a star, born of a star among stars,
born of an explosion that produced,
more than anything,
nothing at all—