BOREAS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Aeolus

When he bagged the winds

the whole world grew silent

and it was quite dull.

 

Eurus

The wet summer wind

arriving here this early

is unexpected.

 

Boreas

The shutters slam closed

while the low howl of winter

demands he come in.

 

Notus

Zucchinis shriveled

as the bountiful gardens

became a desert.

 

Zephyrus

He greeted their cries

with the tender compassion

of a humble man.

——

 

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GREETINGS TO THE SUN

Water trickled down through Stephen’s short brown hair. He could feel the droplets twisting and turning through the maze of his hairline, before eventually finding their way to his forehead. The soft, refreshing air chilled the water as it danced along his face, carefully falling between the groove of his nose and his right eye. He could feel everything around him. The wind brushed through the grass, humming its afternoon greeting, while the leaves of the trees turned about on their descent to the ground; even the roaring of the river in the distance, where the trickle of water had branched off of, could be faintly heard.

Many mornings went like this for Stephen. He would wake early, and spend the early part of the day staring out into space, until the world around him seemed to morph into something that was outside of the usual. His imagination became a guiding force for his mind, and eventually those quiet hums would turn into an opera of music, and the trickle of water would become the medicine beyond human creation. The massive fields of grass before him would spin before him, faster and faster until suddenly everything became a wild green color, and distance and time seemed to flow as one together.

Today, Stephen was focused on the sun. At first, his eyes had burned with pain, but as the water coated him, he felt cooled. He had closed his eyes, yet behind his eyelids he kept careful track of where the sun was. The supreme being road his chariot across the sky, and the more he focused on it, the more Stephen could make out the hooves beating against the unseen road. They galloped through the sky with vigor, and he could hear their breath heaving in and out as the pulled faster.

Eventually, as he focused, he could hear the breath of a man along with them. He sounded like purity itself. His breath was like a long drink of water after a trip through the desert, or the first drops of dew falling from a crisp spring morning. Stephen felt his own body relax at the sound. Then, unexpectedly, his concentration broke as he heard a voice.

“We have a visitor,” a voice more sweet and light than honey called out to him. Stephen’s eyes snapped open. Only he was not seeing through his eyes anymore. It was like his body had fled, and he was looking through the sky itself

“Hello,” the voice said with a calm strength, “it has been far too long since I was given the chance to speak to anyone. Who might you be?” Stephen felt his voice catch in his throat.

“Ah, unable to speak, is it? Not many get the chance to meet me anymore. Not many look hard enough. Look around you.” The great man had been shielded by light, but the outward gesture of his arm was clear enough. Stephen turned, and saw the world from a different perspective then.

It was so small, so tiny, and yet unending in its size. Through the clouds he saw the trees, the river, and even the tops of the cold mountains. They all looked so small; so beautiful.

“It has been a long time since someone saw the world as you see it now. Perhaps you can learn from it. It seems like such a big world out there, and yet to us it is all connected.” Stephen felt his stomach tighten, and his vision blurred.

“It seems your moments hear are to be brief today. But I look forward to seeing you again.” Then with a rush, Stephen felt his body travel through the air, and suddenly he was gasping for air. The trickle of water had dampened his cloths, and the sun was growing low in the sky. How long had he been gone?

——

 

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SUMMER WEDNESDAYS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Summer Wednesdays

The morning grows hot

On this dry summer Wednesday.

Good to be indoors.

 

Beckoning Waters

The sky blue water

Beckons the thirsty pilgrim

To drown in it’s cold.

 

Tree Secrets

Scaling up the trees,

I find the grooves in the bark

Hold untold secrets.

 

Paranoid

When she calls my name

I hear hues of another

Hiding underneath.

 

Sheltered

Oh, to be a root!

Enjoying the cool soil,

Safe from harms above.

——

 

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A PERFECT MORNING

I sat, reading Basho, as the sunlight danced across the ever flowing stream. The morning that morning seemed to me the most perfect morning to ever exist. The chirps of the crickets were growing dim as they made their way to bed, while the butterflies stretched their wings for their morning flight. My eyes followed one of them, as it listed up and down, back and forth, around the dip in the stream. The stream crashed down there, creating a soft mist, like it were imagining itself as the waterfall. The breeze carried a hint of sweet moisture, as though Zephyrus himself had kissed the day.

I found my mind drifting about to the world around me. The rocks, the trees, the grass—each more alive and beautiful than the last—seemed to have their own tale built into the fabric of their being. The rocks, with cracked lines, shunted edges, and overturned hides, wove a simple, solemn tale about the world. They had watched, waiting and listening, for something the happen. They slept with an eye open, but even in their waking hours they never seemed to be alert. It was as if they had been caught in a state of constant lethargy, but they were kind to me nonetheless.

The trees told a greater tale, full of age and mystery. Unlike the rocks, the trees had been alert and unrested. Their aging minds grew wild with thoughts of their sapling days, where they could still branch their roots out and feel themselves move. Now, they stood as the protectors of the stream and it’s creatures, sheltering it from the outside world. But trees are often presumptuous. They have lived for so long, they do not see the world for as it is, but as it has always been. They foolishly ignore the hearts of men, and the men before me could do little but crawl up the branches for shelter from various beasts. But now—now they come with axe and fire and steel, hungering for great conquests.

The grass told me about this. The grass has felt them tread long and far. Their soft feet, which had once been like a gentle touch, now hammered against them like nails with their steel-toed boots. Men ran where they once walked, and they tore up the grass to make way for their stone houses. Grass had its children shrivel up and die as men stole their drink, and choked to death by the machines of their wars. He told me of his cousin, the moss, who was fished from the waters and thrown to dry out on the banks. Grass had seen weary times, but had endured in places, both thick and thin.

In the distance, the mountain called out to me. She had seen the days, come and gone, and heard the warnings signs. Yet these days, nobody listened to the mountains. Her voice had grown slow, and as time moved faster, people no longer could pause to appreciate the wisdom she had to offer. Even I, the antithesis of my peers, felt the itch of hurriedness shoot through my veins as I listened.

But I found her words important, nonetheless. She had told me to remind men of the slower days—where they woke as they chose and slept as they needed. Where the food they ate was held sacred, and the animals they slaughtered had names and lives. She asked me to remember the stream, as I had remembered my family, and to keep it from illness and abuse. I cannot say that I, myself, can achieve my task alone. Yet on such a perfect day, I felt the urge to try. So I set out, not knowing what terrors lay ahead, to help my fellows stop their journey for a moment, and appreciate the flowers.

——

 

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COVFEFE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

There is never a week that goes by when something entertaining isn’t going on. The Climate Change denial is real. The covfefe is real. The bragging about things that really don’t matter enough to be bragged about is real. But enough about Donald Trump. I can see the logic behind the argument against the Paris Agreement, but there is some fault in it. Namely, that if we don’t have a livable globe, the fact that someone is “for the people of Pittsburgh” is irrelevant. Because there will be no people left. Although, being for the people of Pittsburgh would indicate being for the people at all, which isn’t even clear to me. Though presenting a healthcare program that knocks some twenty million people off healthcare doesn’t seem to support a “for the people” position in the slightest.

Whatever. There are too many things to talk about today and I don’t want to get sidetracked through this whole post. Climate change. It is important because it is real. For anyone saying it isn’t real, take a moment and think to yourself: is it possible? If you answered yes, please read over the science, as I think you will find that your assertion is incorrect when presented with evidence. If you answered no, I’ll be responding personally.

So why not? Why can’t people cause climate change? Is it that the Earth is some sort of infinite object? For those of you reading along, this is one of the biggest reasons people don’t get climate change. They believe that the Earth is too big for us to have a real impact on it. This dates back to the Old Testament, and other religious inclinations that swayed society hundreds of years ago. The Earth is viewed as immortal, evergreen, etc. But think about it. It isn’t. It’s just a ball of matter.

Think of any ball of matter. Actually, lets think specifically of a ball of wood, the size of your hand. Put a lit match to that wood—just one. Now, it probably didn’t light up. Add in a few more matches. It might still not light up. But eventually, it will, right? Maybe after 10 matches, it lights up on the side, but dies out quickly. After 100, it ignites. That’s the problem with man-made climate change. It takes literally billions of matches to make an impact, because the Earth is huge. If you saw your house burning, you wouldn’t say “that’s nothing.” You would be thinking “Oh god! How do we put out this fire!?” The science is the writing on the wall, in the moments before ignition. The fires have started, and while some have burned out, people are still lighting matches. It won’t be long before it burns up.

Ok, yes it is true this is a bit of a crude metaphor, but it is a metaphor for a reason. And the logic is sound. The Earth is a ball of matter, like anything else, and it can only be burned so much. Pulling out of the Paris Agreement displays the ignorance of this situation. Truly caring for citizens—both of Pittsburgh and the rest of the world—is to protect them, their children, and all peoples there after.

——

 

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BEAR REPUBLIC ALE AT DINNER

I’d like you to picture yourself at a table, dear reader, staring across the table from a subtly beautiful member of the other sex—or the same sex, if that is your preference. Or someone else entirely—just someone you are attracted to. It’s someone you have known for quite a while, yet you do not know who they are today. Can you do that for me? Maybe they are a friend, former lover, or just an acquaintance from a previous time in your life. Whatever the case, they sit there, a couple feet away from you, looking deep into your eyes. They smile, and laugh, and the world seems a little smaller than it has to you in the past few days. Because the world is indeed quite big. Almost twenty-five thousand miles around, in fact. In some areas, you could go for miles and miles without seeing anyone.

You could cross the arctic, trekking through frost and snow, until your boots were soaked through and your arms were jittering, and you would come across nobody. Just a vast, frozen ocean of white, dwindling year by year as humans heat up the planet. Or march through the Sahara desert, the heat of the sun bombarding your skin, while the coarse, dry air rips apart your throat in every breath. Still, you would see no one. Perhaps you would cross paths with a scorpion, as it scuttled through the dunes, or in the snow you might be so lucky to see a polar bear and avoid it’s wrath—for the polar bear certainly will not forget the harm we’ve caused it.

Yet instead, you are here. Sitting, laughing, perhaps even with a beer in hand. Perhaps all this talk of bears has made you thirsty for a “Racer 5 IPA,” the popular Bear Republic Brew Company’s fine amber-brown concoction. The sting at the back of your throat might even catch you off guard, and cause you to stare at the glass a bit after the first sip. Oh, but you’re a well-seasoned drinker—as all people are these days. Except your partner, who has never even tried an IPA. They take a sip—the foam dancing its way onto their upper lip—and cringe for a moment before composing themselves. Wasn’t that cute? I like to think so. They brush their lip and you make a kind remark, asking how they liked it—though your need to ask is superfluous, you saw them cringe. Yet you are anxious. They are, in fact, quite lovely. Not lovely in the classic sense, not by any means. I mean, their facial structure doesn’t display the characteristics of a model. And they certainly don’t have the same well-toned body you and I have both become so accustomed to on our social media outlets. But still, they are beautiful. Maybe it’s the way they look away for a moment when you’ve made a fool of yourself. Maybe it’s the way their lips contract while you engage in conversation—have you ever seen someone so attentive to your words? It feels like something special. Something you’ve never shared with anyone in your life.

Can you picture it? As the low hum of the music plays in the background; the cheers of the crowd watching the game, and the bustle of busy waiters and waitresses as they move from table to table? Everything is in harmony, and you—and your partner—are there alongside them. And that great, big world out there doesn’t seem quite so daunting to you anymore. All it took was for you to believe.

——

 

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WATER IN A CUP

Hello everyone,

 

Today I was watching the Daily Show with Trevor Noah’s interview of Obama. During it, they briefly talked about climate change, which of course is an important topic for many people—either positively or negatively. Now, I am a pretty strong believer that climate change is real, just like the vast majority of scientists out there. However, a lot of people do not believe it. So, today, I would like to address those people. And, I would like to start with a question.

Do you think the Earth is infinite? If you do, you should probably stop reading this because you are wasting your time. The Earth is not infinite. It is vastly bigger than you or I, but that does not make it infinite. If you can agree with me and you think that the Earth is measurable, then I would implore you to keep reading. Like all things measurable, the Earth has a distinct beginning and ending. Whether you believe it was created by God or a Big Bang doesn’t really matter to me. Just that you realize that, as it was created, so too will it eventually end. Sound fair? Ok, so, now I want you to think of all the water in the world. Put it all in a cup. One huge cup. Can you do that for me? If you get a big enough cup, you can. Right? Now put a drop of black arsenic into it. Doesn’t do anything right? But if you add a drop every day for a year, you have 365 drops. And if you do that every day, for 10 years, you have 3652.4 drops (leap years mess up math). Still, it does not really impact the water that much. You could probably mix that water around, take a sip, and be perfectly fine. But this is one person. One person does not make a massive impact on the scope of the Earth.

Now picture 7 billion drops, per day, every day, put into the water. Suddenly that adds up a lot quicker, doesn’t it? At what point is the arsenic water something of a hazard to you if you have to drink it? Now, this is a bit watered down (pardon the pun), but take this concept and apply it to every other aspect of human resource mining. Pollution of the air. Deforestation. The list goes on. That stuff doesn’t just go off into space. It hangs around here with us. You wouldn’t expect to live if you put your head in a bag for a few hours, would you? Eventually, you would suffocate, because you would burn through the oxygen in the bag and be left with something you could not breath. So why can’t this happen on Earth. Things don’t just get sucked back out into space—we wouldn’t be able to breath if that were the case, because all the oxygen would be gone.

The Earth is like a tracksuit. A little running isn’t a big deal. You will heat up for a minute, but when you stop running you will be fine. But if you keep running, the track suit itself will heat up too. And then when you stop running, the suit is still burning up. And eventually it will cool down, but before that you might be so unbearably hot that you have to take it off or it will kill you. We have been running for a long, long time. We used to be walking. But for the last hundred years, we have been sprinting. Sprinting so fast that our legs are heavy, and the tracksuit around us is burning up. And we can’t take it off until we stop running. Have you ever tried to take your cloths off while you were running? You either slow down to do it, or you fall flat on your face. So I impress upon you, if this all makes sense, even if there are minor holes in it, consider the possibility that we might need to do something about it.