Through the Eye of the Needle – Future Tense | 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 the scent of life

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 2030)

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 – 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 – My Manic Mentor

My Manic Mentor

you are daydreaming!”
he often interrupted
my exercises 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. Stowe,” —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 monologues

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

in fact
he confided in me
how he had discovered
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
but 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 trumpeter blowing notes
in sixteenths and thirty-secondth
on a wild ride to the other side
of the night

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