For a dwelling so small, it was gargantuan.
That house came crashing down, crushing
my chest. Forced to gnaw and swallow
paint, I tasted chalk and lead.
My stomach burned but
I couldn’t throw up; insides already coated,
calendar pages filling until food wouldn’t fit.
Despite the odds, when the time came,
I flew. Like Icarus. Somehow, I rose,
but my wings did not melt.
I reached up blackened hands and grasped a Sun.
Image: Superposition of Fall of Icarus (René Milot) with a burnt house (mrd-stock)
Nearly unreadable now, paper wrinkled
as her hands, veins of ink blurred by tears.
But she had the words imprinted in her
mind to recall when memories surged.
She need not know that a fellow soldier
likely persuaded him, loaned him paper
to write an apology of sorts—I wish
I’d not enlisted,
yet she perceived his special gift,
a declaration of affection, the only way
he could voice it, I miss you all,
tell the children hello.
He mentioned shrapnel in his shoulder,
minor wound he claimed. She clutched
the letter to her heart, transmitted warmth
of her body, like a bird hovering her eggs,
as though, like a Holy Eucharist,
its ink might turn to blood, transform
the paper to pulsing tissue,
grow lungs and start to breathe,
become a living presence nurtured,
resting safe against her breast.
Image: A Letter from Pvt. Charles H. Austin, Civil War soldier
Neuro Communication with James Brown
The musical neuro communication with Ravi Shankar ended with his deep bow. The burst of applause was startling after the stillness, as was the quick dash of movement to the bathrooms. I turned to Cousin Sam, thanked him, and started to put on my coat. Sam didn’t move, ”We should stay for the next act.” I whined at that, “I’m tired and it’s a long schlep back to campus on the bus.” “Trust me. We should stay,” he said softly, but firmly. And so, mildly kvetching (complaining in Yiddish), I was still seated when the curtain re-opened.
Continue reading Music and Neuro Communication: Part 2 – by Deborah Levine
Neuro Communication with Ravi Shankar
My cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and were about to experience neuro communication as we headed out to a Ravi Shankar concert in a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and it was frostbite territory standing at the bus stop in Cambridge, Mass. Freezing almost took my mind off of being homesick for my family back in New York. Overcome with loneliness, I needed an attitude adjustment and Sam insisted on some music therapy. He thought that classical sitar music from India would distract and soothe – reboot my brain. I wondered why we were the only Harvard students who ‘d come to hear this relatively unknown musician from India. But it was the sixties and Shankar hadn’t yet been labeled by The Beatles’ George Harrison as “the godfather of world music”.
Continue reading Music and Neuro Communication: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine
What would it mean to unlock the mysteries of both the visible and invisible dark night skies? In Matthew Bothwell’s article Monsters in the Dark, the Cambridge astronomer eloquently and patiently explains the invisible monster galaxies uncovered by the Hubble Space Craft’s long-exposure images. Relying on infrared light exposures, the new imagery penetrates the cosmic dust barriers to reveal in his words: a “vibrant cosmic powerhouses in the distant Universe” engaged in active star-making.
Bothwell admits that we don’t know why these massive galaxies even exist. The spiritual-cosmological questions that follow could sound like these: “What forces bring them into existence?” “Why do they die?” and most profoundly, “Why, or what purpose do they serve?” This busy star-nursery also fosters questions about our own existence back here on Earth and to what degree are we alone in the universe.
Continue reading Assembling our Time Capsule for Aliens – by Martin Kimeldorf
JOURNEY OF TEARS
That whole morning and night before were one long prayer for assistance. I woke at four, and sat in the living room of my friends’ river-side house, speaking aloud to the darkness, undamming the river, flooding inside.
Then I got ready, and drove to Red Clay State Park.
For years, my feet have taken me to Red Clay State Park, near Cleveland, Tennessee. This land was once the last seat of Cherokee government, and also the place where, in 1838, the Cherokee people learned that the Treaty had again been broken, their remaining land would be taken, and they would be forcibly “removed” to Oklahoma and parts unknown. Thousands and thousands of people died.
Continue reading Healing the Trails of Tears – by Andréana Lefton
Your echoes linger on the edges in the Smoky Mountain fog
In petal red, or blue? The poet’s everywhere-tint
Infiltrates insidiously, glancing, gliding under my skin.
Move on, you whisper, No more time for love.
Love grown out of Tennessee barn oak
Floated on Scottish dry docks,
Love grown out of three-thousand miles of red, white, and blue.
Now we walk past the Cherokee land until we spy
The seagulls’ wings; sail east, then up the River Clyde
To Dunoon, where sailors and war brides married
Where mother met father, and I met you.
But these mountains have been deceiving me for years.
Hurry now! the mantra grows, Move on…move on
Past your foothills ghost, past the shipbuilders’ loch,
On past a struggle’s end.
Red, only in the mountains’ falling leaves
Blue, only in my eyes
And the holy color dying.