The greatest adventures begin unexpectedly
A simple question in a subway station
A chance encounter on a remote mountaintop
Or digitally, life condensed into a profile

Tonight, I send this advice to my future self:  never forget the magic that can spring from others, and ourselves, at any time with little coaxing.

Always engage.  Always try.  Say hello.  Press send.  Have courage to ask.  Adventure awaits.


Eating Meat


We celebrated my wife’s high school reunion at a restaurant known for grilled lamb.  The lambs lived in a small pen out back.  My wife warned me we should not let our son see the lambs.  He would quickly discern that we had killed them for food.  But I did let him see them.  And he insisted to watch the butcher kill one.  This affected both of us.  My son knew it wasn’t right.  He cried:  he couldn’t understand.  And now I believe his reaction was correct.

Something feels wrong
The butcher slit the lamb’s neck
I watched her struggle
heard her squeal
We served her as lunch
We could have eaten greens
And let her live
We could have preserved life
Instead we took it
By eating that lamb I was proclaiming,
“It is more important that I eat meat,
when I already have numerous healthy and tasty  alternatives,
than that an animal should live.”
Animals feel pain
They have brains, some simple emotions
How can killing them be right?

Being stranded on a remote island without other sources of food is an extreme case where killing an animal for food could be warranted.  We kill animals for a range of reasons.  To make a belt, or a purse, or shoes.  Do I really mean to say, “I value my clothes, my comfort, more highly than other creatures’ lives”?

This culture of killing animals feels wrong, it must be wrong.  I know this by how I respond when I watch an animal’s death:  I feel sad, repulsed, and I begin to cry.

Giving up meat is difficult:  I frequent KFC and McDonald’s.  Am I so confident in my decision that I will suffer inconvenience?  Thought without action is pointless.  For humans and animals aren’t that different, and if we allow cruelty to one, aren’t we more likely to allow cruelty to the other?  And if we take a stand to protect one, aren’t we just as likely to protect the other?

Taxing the Joints

My knees ache
Sitting too long
While grey clouds swell overhead
I long to be outside
Walking in a cool breeze
Photographing nature
Uncovering mysteries
But I’m at my desk doing taxes
Running down how much I paid
for electricity last year
I’m tempted to make up some numbers
Some innocent-looking ones
to fill the blank lines on the form
So I can get on with living
But fudging the numbers
Would spoil the walk
And so I sit
Knees aching
Writing this verse instead
If you don’t like it
You may request a refund

The central problem

The main problem is I’m dying
We all are
And there’s nothing we can do
We will leave behind
Ones we love
Our hobbies, belongings, thoughts
Hopes, Dreams
Everything we ever said, felt, did, or cared about
Reduced to ash

One day, forced to quit this great game
To hand over the bat, ball, glove
and even uniform to another player

This is the contract of life:
You will enjoy the wonder of existence
But only briefly
You will study, grow wise
Be irresponsible, go crazy
You will fret over frivolous things
Like in which restaurant to dine
Or where to vacation
You may experience the birth of a child
And marvel at this complex biology
we don’t fully understand

You may create a great work of art
A novel, a painting, a film
But this will not save you
It may help others remember you
But you certainly won’t know
For neurons don’t fire in the grave

Perhaps all the irrational behaviors in the world
Stem from our inability to cope with our ultimate death
If I cheat you
What does it matter?
We’ll both die eventually
At the end of the game
All scores are reset to 0

Crying out


Better known and rejected
Than unknown
For the uncertainty
Of what if
Brings more unease
Than the certainty
Of being discarded

Am I to you
Some broken washing machine
A wrapper for used gum
Make me instead a city covered in clouds
Only the hats of skyscrapers visible from above
A hint of mystery
Mixed with possibility
Make me kind and strong, a leader
An inspiration, a guide
Make me matter
To you

Billions of years invested in our universe
Billions more in our Earth
Time brought us here
So we could pass on the street and not speak?
And look away?
No, senseless, no
Quickly, let’s create together
Fuse and then split, like our simpler kin the Amoeba

The impact we have
the altered life paths
will be our memory
hold on to these, if not to me
One day not long from now
I will think of you fondly
While I sit in the deep of night
Pondering the injustice of our world
And its irresistible beauty

I am thankful we met
Though I must go
I will see you again, in part
Through others
Your crooked smile
Or way of laughing too loud
In uncomfortable situations
Your profile, your scent
Every detail

You consumed me
Changed me
For good or bad
I was never one for a long relationship
Of asking again of your school days
For lack of a better subject
Already knowing your opinions on this and that
And growing weary of
How was your day?

So let me go
And seek new answers to old questions
And you the same

Near and Far


Some avoid you
Treat you cold
Others seek you
Treat you warm
Attend to those
Who move close
Let those
Who step away
Go free
Chasing is wasted effort
Rewriting pages
Clearing misunderstandings
Better to take the lessons
And accept
If with some sadness
That you cannot know everyone
Nor be known by all