The World’s Fair

I no longer believe in the green

light on Daisy’s dock, or any place,

or the future moving away from me.

But I do believe we’re boats against

the current, borne back into the past.

 

Gatsby

“Gatsby” via  www.flickr.com

 

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School

Eighth Grade

Refuge from the confusion of home life.

A place where everything was scheduled, disciplined.

The comforting predictability of seven normal hours

of being expected to be only thirteen,

before I returned to early adulthood responsibilities.

 

 

Study Hall

After the dreaded Algebra and Chemistry when

we would talk music, read Rolling Stone,

eye the girls and share our fantasies

about them and the near far future

forgetting equations unbalanced, dreams never to happen.

At Fourteen

At fourteen, I thought less about the future
and, unaware of Buddhism, lived in the moment.
Even a day was usually unplanned, spontaneous,
open to what the universe had planned for me.

If life is like a sonnet, the turn occurred when
the future became my focus and the present
rushed by out of control, and the past
became nostalgia, a read book fondly remembered.

At fourteen, I believed, without proof, in eternity.
The days unfolded unbidden and I was content
in thinking at some point I would be able to see

That fourteen-year-old’s future is my present,
slipping away from what I wanted it to be,
and even partially my past, now already spent.

The Starry Messenger

Professor Galileo of Padua made his lenses

and the sky was 20 times closer.

Mountains on the moon, and more moons

around Jupiter, and a celestial Milky Way

that led him – us – towards the future.

milky way

In 1610, Galileo published the story of his telescope and the results of his studies as The Starry Messenger.  He had been corresponding with German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who also believed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. Kepler had been urging Galileo to go public with his theories for years.

I had believed that when Galileo was tried and convicted by the Church for heresy, he was tortured and excommunicated. But, in fact, he remained a loyal Catholic his entire life.