Over and Over–Over Again

I destroy you over and over,
Unmake you with every thread I tug;
I see you unravel before me.

Should I fear your dismantlement?
Or shrug, as I do, indifferently;
Unconcerned as a mayfly with time.

I create you again and again,
Re-thread you like an eager needle
That knows no industry but mending.

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A Walk Through The Catacombs With My Love

Ghastly, horrid, in tattered shrouds;
Their features ravaged by decay.
Though their faces haunt you at night,
They are only the dead, my love.

Lifeless they lay, fettered to doom.
Unable to taste of our world.
Though their eyes seem ever to stair,
They are only the dead, my love.

Wretched husks, devoid of all sense,
They taunt us with our mortal fear.
Though they encroach upon your dreams,
They are only the dead, my love.

Gone to dust, banished from time,
They howl in silence from the grave.
Though their spirits have found no peace,
They are only the dead, my love.

Shadow things, cast into the void
Where we can not hope to reach them.
Though even now they walk and breath,
They are only the dead, my love.

                             * * *

Equations

A life’s work rendered in coarse white chalk;
A monumental undertaking
Of intricate construction, wrought on

A wide plane of slate hung from a wall.
Endless labyrinths navigated–
Thought surging through the darkened future

For the surface and promised daylight.
The numbers boggle me, leave me dry;
My math-happy friend swims their ocean

                           * * *

Is SETI a Waste of Time?

RtelThe SETI program, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, started back in 1960 with astronomer Frank Drake from Cornell University, who used a 26-meter radio-telescope to examine the Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani systems.  No luck.  Today, SETI projects survey the sky for transmissions from distant civilizations.  The soviets took an early interest in the 1960’s and the U.S. contributed money early on, but now it is funded privately.

My question is this:  Is SETI wasting its time and resources in this endeavor.  I am NOT suggesting they be stopped from perusing their goals however they wish.  It is a privately funded program that can and should do what it honestly feels is best to accomplish its mission.  But is it truly realistic to think this has any meaningful chance of success?

100,000 light years side to side; 200,000,000,000+ stars.

100,000 light years side to side; 200,000,000,000+ stars.

From what I have read on the subject, our TV and radio transmissions, which travel out in an expanding shell away from our planet, will be so defuse within two lightyears that they will completely disappear into the cosmic background radiation and be utterly invisible to anyone they might encounter.  That’s not even half-way to our nearest solar neighbor, the triple Alpha Centauri system.

A radio transmission, to reach between star systems, would have to be of incredible power and restricted to an very narrow beam to have any hope of detection.  Even if thousands of other civilizations have attempted aiming such a transmission directly at us, the chances of our being in the right place at the right time to catch it seem astronomically small; quite literally so in fact.

Radio simply isn’t a viable technology for communicating across these kinds of distances.  You might as well roll up a piece of parchment and tie it to a balloon.  Remember the old story about the ancient Chinese astronomer who tied rockets to a sedan chair to go to the moon?  He had a general concept of what to do, but no real appreciation of the technical problems involved in achieving it.  Any advanced, spacefaring civilization has either found a radically different technology for disseminating information across the void, or else that information travels only as fast as the ships that carry it.

Also, though life may well be as common as liquid water, I suspect that a biosphere as complex as the Earth’s is likely to be incredibly rare.  Think about it, any number of fantastically unlikely things had to happen for our homeworld to become the hothouse of life that it is.

The Earth was unspeakably lucky.  It grows-up in a stable planisphere, survives massive bombardment and the collisions of the early solar system.  One glancing blow knocks off a nice piece to create a stabilizing moon.  It has lots of big jovians in the outer orbits to gobble the comets up.

Protoplanetary-disk

I would wager that most worlds where life develops it I bet it never makes it far on.  Of those where it does, few will produce higher animals.  Of those which manage that, how many will produce biosystems as extravagant as our own?  Or an animal that will build tools and eventually leave its nest to spread life elsewhere.  Think about the number of both sperm and eggs that never get to join and create a new animal.  How many offspring most animals have because most won’t survive” Reverse attrition seems to the universe’s M.O; fewer and fewer each step; a tiny drop from one ocean, divided again and again.

Going by this, admittedly assumed trend, it also seems likely that few sentient creatures develop, fewer still will survive long once they do.  Doubtless many will kill themselves off with technology, as we may well do, or because they never leave their homes before some comet shows up and wastes their sorry asses.  Or whatever they’ve got.

SETI Institute: http://www.seti.org/

The Night Has Come Down

The night has come down, come down with a thud,
And the street erupts like an aftershock.
The noise, the neon, the clamoring mob
Are flying, flaming debris in my mind.
The taxi drivers rage at each other,
Pedestrians try to dodge their machines.
Bottles are breaking, transformed into knives,
Wildly brandished but tasting no blood;
Girlfriends calming the would-be combatants
For after all, it is only Tuesday.

The night’s going down, going down in flames,
And all around me invisibly burns.
The first warm night that we’ve had in a year
Though it may well be the death of us all.
My companions and I stagger along,
Bouncing-off the odd wall and each other:
Inebriated hydrogen atoms
Bar-hopping along the sun’s equator.
A voice in my head cries a warning but
I tuned that wet blanket out long ago.

The night’s falling down, falling down like me,
It’s all I can do to somehow avoid
The pools of vomit, the blood and the piss.
Someone stole my center of gravity,
And with the earth spinning ‘round so quickly
It’s becoming a chore to navigate.
As ramblers we ramble but all for naught,
Our way’s become irretrievably lost.
We had thought the darkness a trusted friend
But here we are now, marooned in the light.

The night has faded, faded like reason,
Daylight’s upon us like an accuser.
This is no way to begin a Wednesday,
This alley is no place to be at all.
Hours ago, I had though I hit bottom,
But as I said, that was hours ago.
The only shadows now well from within,
We twitch like wounded roaches unable
To escape from the sudden light switch dawn;
We simply groan and roll-over instead.

Infurnace

One morning, with nothing better to do,
I dropped-by Dante’s apartment in hell.
As we made our way down the avenue
Said he: “Since you’re here, have the tour as well.”
I asked of him: “How’d you land this gig?”
As along the banks of the Styx we trod.
“How’d you end-up in the fiery brig?”
Said he: “There’s no harsher critic then God.”
I laughed my ass off, I couldn’t help it,
He shot a look more acid then honey.
I said: “Oh don’t get yourself in a snit,
You have to admit, the big guy’s funny.”
Laughing, in spite of himself, he says:
“Just wait ‘till you meet Richard Ramirez.”

 

                                   * * *

Tijuana Monday

Slowly, I realize my eyes are open;

Apparently, I’m awake and alive.

I’m sore and mangled, wretched and tangled,

I hope I never know what that smell is.

The memories hide behind columns of

Smoke which rise from a bomb-cratered weekend.

I’m left with flashes of nightmarish fun

I’d like to think I’m not capable of.

I need to find the guys and the car and—

Wait a second—Who the hell is this bitch?

 

                                  * * *