Through the Eye of the Needle – Future Tense


Future Tense


it was a time of firestorm
of hopes tumbling in despair
the world had surely passed the cross roads
the social structure of Democracy come
apart like the ill-fated dream it was

weakened by abuse and neglect
the infrastructure of our politics began to crumble
undermined by the ravages of a reality that flooded against
the foundations of reason and hope; in an instant
civilization’s accomplishments were condemned
to no more than a mere column
in the Pages of History

the land had become shrouded
with the stench of death; and though many avoided
the destructive malevolence of the First Strike
we were left with the deadliest plague:
the vision of those who survived
and the insinuations
implied by their survival

left to founder on an ocean
of bewilderment; lost with but a
prayer; the world was ever
changed after the War

– The Professor
(anno 2035)

Originally published: 08/06/2014

Through the Eye of the Needle – My Manic Mentor


My Manic Mentor


you are daydreaming!”
he often interrupted
my practice this way

“Stay in tempo
one-two-three and four!”
he kept time with a determined stroke
of the baton

“Follow the music.
Not your temptation!
The sheet! The sheet… ah!
What’s the sense?”

he sat down
and rummaged
through his coat pocket
for his pipe

“Let me tell you a story
Mr. Dors,” —what he would call me
when it became obvious
I was all too maverick
to ever learn
the discipline

I had begun to believe that the professor
took me on as a pupil, despite my lack of talent,
simply because I (and perhaps I alone)
was willing to listen to his rants

ones he would set into with the same abandon
as the vagabonds who approach passers-by
on a busy street, engaging them in a witless banter
for the mere misfortune of having
caught their eye

in fact,
he confided in me
how he had discovered
that by putting a drop of saliva
across the eye of a needle,
he could see things
in minute detail

creating for himself an instrument
much like a magnifying glass—
but with a finer focus

I could only chuckle at his eccentricities.
Yet I found myself entranced by
my manic mentor

—being of a lunatic fringe myself
I didn’t mind listening to his tirades,
for somehow I saw a movement,
a poetic voice

much like the wildly ecstatic madness
of a jazz trumpet blowing notes
in sixteenths and thirty-secondths
on the musician’s wild ride
to the far end of the night

Originally published on: Sep 2, 2017

Through the Eye of the Needle – The Professor


The Professor


rows of bookshelves
rise comfortably from the red wool
of a threadbare Persian rug

Queen Anne armchairs
quaint though frayed sit at both
ends of a large hearth

a roll-top desk
draped with hand written music manuscripts
adds to the cluttered comfort;
I clear my throat

and from a doorway
behind a bookcase steps
the Professor

his handshake is huge
his forearm pulling the sleeve
of his tweed jacket above the wrist

it suggests a second-hand quality;
a man who has fallen from the graces
of a steady paycheck

his thundering voice
befits his stature “Top of the morning Edgar
my good man! Quite a day, ah?”

 he quietly pulls at the sleeve
of his coat; overlooking the brief embarrassment
he motions toward the fireplace “Pull up a chair please!”

“The weather just hasn’t
been the same” his booming voice echoes
in a constant flow of self-answered rhetoric

“I recall a time
when the prophets of the ‘New Age’
swore we’d live to see prosperity

“What ever became of them? Gone I think;
hiding in the mountains! “Or the doomsayers? We never did see
Earth destroyed by fire nor flood did we? No certainly not

“It seems those of us
who weathered the storms
of millennial controversy have done well

don’t you agree? Of course!” he pauses
wearily running a giant hand
over his receded hairline

his breath a series of low rasps
becomes increasingly shallow as the chair sags
beneath his weight

rummaging through his coat
he pulls out a pipe sets it on the desk and
deftly swivels about

“Don’t need it after all” he coughs
feigning a grimace vaguely referring
to ‘doctor’s orders’

“These lungs of mine you know” effortlessly
he redirects his thoughts; though the conversation
remains painfully one-sided

Through the Eye of the Needle – Past Perfect


Future Tense | Past Perfect


the creak of the boats’ bows crunching against their moorings
the warm sun shining off waters that harbor dreams untold
on this day they seemed to shout to all the world of the
grandeur of the days of the ancient boatmen

I heard the surf and felt the wind from the raw sea
an allure that once sent men rushing to the day’s catch
an exhilaration unlike any we might ever hope to feel again
the tunnels that crossed the Atlantic made short work of that
fish farms and synthetic seafood had taken the bite out of the great sea
the “last frontier” we once called it

instead of exploring that undiscovered world
and conquering it; we simply bypassed it entirely
leaving it to its last service as an industrial sewer
its waters tinted by the algae of waste
a metaphoric greening; brought on by the dyes
of the world’s currencies leaching from the coffers
of exploitation; leaving the stench of refuse
where once wafted life’s scent

I grieved the incomprehensible loss; I mourned—
where I once too, sang the “Body Electric”; grappled
with the stark brutality of a science gone mad—
I  found myself wrestling with a different reality
—the violation of man’s inherent right to live as part of the earth
to sprout from its very fiber; to breathe the intoxicating air of vitality
now replaced by the sting of ozone and the harshness
of a vengeful sunlight that continuously robs us
of our essence; the sweet oil of our existence

-The Professor
(anno 2025)

Through the Eye of the Needle – Millennium




it was the year 2000: an anachronism;
the expectations dubbed on the millennium
the years of speculation and science fiction
—doomsayers predicting the end

and here it was upon us—
we waited with bated breath for the events of history
to come to their fullness; for the world to start afresh

and where was I while all this history
was taking place? on my way to work
just like all the other 6 billion people
on this hot little planet

no apocalypse
no war of man against god
not even a three billion year old rock
hurtling through space to annihilate us

peace was busting out all over
bagpipes were blasting in Scotland Yard
people were dancing; waving freedom’s flag

walls came crashing, war tanks trashed;
the sounds of wild parties competing
with the cries of the crowds shouting
in the euphoric ecstasy of the moment

freedom had become a commodity
accessible to all; like toilet paper—
easily looted from your neighborhood embassies

now all these wondrous turn of events were making me thirsty,
so I wandered to the tap and topped-off another glass of death
clear as crystal; disguised as fresh from the mainline pipes
of metro H2O fabrication plants; filtered
to an exquisite dilution of river sludge
ground water seepage, invisible
to the naked eye

…and drank myself to death

-The Professor

Through the Eye of the Needle – The Cello


The Cello


his huge hands
were able to coax
the most delicate tones
from the instrument

he would take the cello to his bear-like form
and with a certain familiarity
slowly thrum the strings
testing their pitch
plucking at the lower register with deft fingertips
insuring the proper timbre

as he played
the sound filled the room
vibrating with a soothing warmth
that softened the damp chill
of  a rainy afternoon

with the exquisite theme
from a Beethoven string quartet
he would build to a frenzied crescendo
down to a soft diminuendo within seconds
and finish with a vibrato
that seemed to increase in length
with each harmonic trembling of the tone

the professor
prided himself grandly
on that ability to play

but now
lost in his twilight
he appeared all the more
grateful to me for the opportunity
to teach his craft

Through the Eye of the Needle – An Autistic Savant


An Autistic Savant


I came to know the Professor
as the sort who was so immersed in his opinions
that he bordered on the delusional

he had
become convinced
that many of his eccentricities
were valid reasoning

one of these
that he alone by being diligent
turning off the faucet between filling glasses of water
would save the earth from the water shortages predicted
as ushering the end of life on this planet

despite these vagaries
I detected a profound understanding
in his absurdities; his dogmatic ideas seemed to contain
the vigor of a Phoenix rising from the ashes of
the confusion that’s marred man’s thinking
since the beginning of time

he seemed to have a connection
with the mysterious forces of the intellect
an instinctive reasoning like the miraculous abilities
of an autistic savant

this gentleman
old and beleaguered
could speak to the moment
conjuring up ideas that would take another years of study
and pronounce them with unerring rapidity

though I emphasize this as a relative device
for his ideas were often cracked; and like a porcelain cup
with a broken veneer; though it seem sound and whole could never
serve as a vessel for drinking

his ideas then
were merely adornments
on the mantelpiece
of the intellect
keen; precise
but unusable

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