Stepping on Stars (original poem by Mark Nielsen, March 14, 2016)
Graham is exploring the earth–
GoogleEarth-style, all zeros and ones,
seen from the comfort of his makeshift bed–
when this Ohio field suddenly reveals
that there are stars there, in the dirt!,
blinking wildly, disoriented, wondering to themselves
how stars from Andromeda
and even further galaxies
got so off-course as to be trod upon
by a father and son in the American Midwest.
He asked me as we walked
if I’d ever had a déjà vu experience.
“Of course, haven’t you?”
“I’m not sure. What’s it like?”
“It’s like seeing behind what is,
behind the beyond.
It is a cross between a memory and a prophecy,
a hint of what has been and could be,
experienced as a non-random firing
of neurons in my head.
There is purpose behind it,
but it’s shrouded in mystery.
Déjà vu feels like God is standing at the door and knocking,
but He is actually downstairs,
twelve flights down,
with gloves on, knocking,
and it’s only because I caught a glimpse of Him
out of the corner of my eye,
that I even know to get on the elevator
(since the intercom is busted, damn it).
By the time I get there, He is gone.
But he did leave a note.
Now if only I could read the strange language
in which it is written.”
–loosely inspired by the music of Over the Rhine. Photo at top of Graham Nielsen taken at an auditory art installation called “Prairie” (or something similar, by an artist I cannot recall), circa 2011, by Mark Nielsen.