the totem

i went to bed last night
there was a knot in my chest,
close to, but not quite
where my stomach lies.

it feels like rage,
it tastes like confusion,
it’s inarticulate,
it will not be denied.

i could say i hate you
because you have the power,
but i stand mute,
like an aged and weathered totem.

“You can’t find trees like that anymore.”
he said it without emotion,
just a simple fact,
and pain grew around the knot.

i slept, chased by failure
down corridors that i half remembered,
that were ultimately unfamiliar,
until your voice shook me,

“Wake up. It’s 5:00 am.
It’s time to fight again.”
strange words to hear
in a love song on a hissing radio

Writing as Magic

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke

Permeating human culture and religious belief is the idea that the written word has a supernatural power. To understand this one must look at writing through the eyes of the first humans to see it.

Imagine seeing someone look at strange indecipherable symbols on a rock, a wall, a tablet, or a scroll, and that person could while doing that, read the thoughts of someone they had never met, or tell others how to build a temple, or tell stories from the distant past.

It’s difficult for humans in the 21st century to understand that there was a time when writing was an earth shattering new technology, that gave those who understood it the ability to perform what surely must have looked like miracles.