“And… what if I told you that the expression “sleep is the cousin of death” is not merely an expression?” Prof. Waltz exclaimed, inquisitively, as he struck the board with a black sharpie.

Sinisterly, Sal sank into his seat, squirming, he said, “Uh, I mean — yeah, it’s all black and stuff, but… I mean, I wake up every day, right?”

Prof. Waltz meandered, pondering the response, then poignantly poised in opposition, declaring, “To the body, it may not be. However, to the mind, when your eyes close and the day is done, when your body settles and slips into the unconscious, what is the difference, for those 8 hours, between sleep and death?”

Sal, perplexed, scrambled, but sure of himself said: “Well, we’re still breathing? We’re dreaming? Um, I don’t know man, I guess I’ve never died…”

“Oh, but you have —” creepily, Prof. Waltz limped out of the room throwing a handkerchief in the air, “and you will again,” he said, smiling.

civilians shuffle silently through supercenters

money, money, money, in and out, but maybe

maybe money isn’t the only monetary thing;

time, with each tick, deliberates, dictates truth

each second shuffled, each second spent

minutes mending, mentally meditating, maybe

more monetized than a mere fifty dollar bill

shhh! silence – keep shuffling the supercenter

too much thought tends to tantalize, overturning

traditional teachings of what’s truly important

left impotent when without – homeless, begging

“time is money!” without a whimper. head down

keep shuffling, keep spending, keep the silence

stifle the seconds then the minutes then the hours… for cents; money, money, money! for hundred dollar bills

but maybe, just maybe

headstrong, healing, healthily slowing the second

with breath, in-and-out, manipulating, to manifest

the seconds into minutes… into hours

mindfulness

matters

more

than

money

Wishes wistfully swaying, singing

Like children, cheering, cacophony

Like elders looking down on us, enticing

Waiting for when we least expect anything

Then lurching from the darkness to restore:

Like a check in the mail, a lost friend checking in

Or anything good that happens time and time again

A positive swirl in the (sometimes) otherwise bleak world

A fresh perspective, an excitability for life

A vacation, a good dream

Happiness, blatantly

Seas of sorrow

ebb and flow

putrid stench of

Hatred

Yet we believe…

Somehow a sad face

realer than a happy one?

Happiness, a farce;

an illusion of the mind?

Cultured to be subdued

disengaged or eschew?

Yet we see panhandlers

abroad, viscerally sad,

broken

believed to be fakes

cheaters of the system

standing on the median

broken

– n.v.

If passing involves Heaven or naught,
remember what you’ll bring with you and what not:

For a memory of walking in between leaves
hearing crinkling, enraptured in the trees
leaves a memory of careless loveliness
carefully stepping, enjoying the crickets
and other worldly beings.

Making being
a worldly being
restfully carefree
just you and me
without ever needing
other materialism.

Just you, and I, and our sun hats
draping over our faces
wasting our days away
wistfully swaying as the sun sets
and entrances us with blessed
views

Only allotted in this tiny plot of land
with your hand
in my hand

- n.v.