“Space Oddity” Blues

“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.” -Major Tom (David Bowie)

Return with me to Nineteen-Sixty-Nine
when universal dreams were fresh and new.
The race was on; all bets were off on who
would lead the way across the finish line
as Russia surged ahead in the design
of Sputnik, spurring U.S. efforts through
the decade stepping up to mount a crew—
one man’s small step, a leap for all mankind.*

With science and humanity positioned
in love from Ground Control to Major Tom
and David Bowie looking like a geek,**
how hopefully the waiting world envisioned
a brighter color in the days to come
beyond this evanescent moody streak.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

*Was Neil Armstrong Misquoted? (What he actually said was, “for a man”.)

**Vintage footage of David Bowie looking like a geek ...

It Could Go Either Way

Imagine a life in reverse
through quantum entanglement’s grip
that’s moving from better to worse
aboard an impetuous ship.

Technology’s ready to fly
above the unknown for a cure
to human advance gone awry,
but what if we cannot endure?

Unless we start pulling together
in pooling resources to last,
the future’s unlikely to tether
our tenuous link to the past.

Survival is never a given
if progress is avarice-driven.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Inspired by the sci-fi novels of Douglas E. Richards and A.G. Riddle, who responsibly explore such themes as emerging technology, AI, the singularity, quantum physics, time travel, medicine, ecology, and human nature with an equal measure of despair and optimism.

Wealth vs. Worth

“We will all go together when we go.” – Tom Lehrer, 1959

When the seers and prophets of old
saw the future, they boldly foretold
of utopian dreams,
disregarding regimes
being bolstered by glorified gold.

Greater power and wealth manifest
has primarily guided the quest
in the barbarous march
under history’s arch
all the way from the East to the West.

In a world that has waited too long
to unite, the misfortunate throng
is unable to pass
the omnivorous class
that has gotten it horribly wrong.

So humanity lurks on the brink
of a terminal failure to link
all the money on earth
to a semblance of worth
as it circles a nuclear sink.

2023 Mary Boren
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On Quarks and Quirks

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

When stardust, quarks, and mystery combine
to make a human, nothing can compare
to possibilities. Some say beware
of ultimate betrayal to confine
the breath of life where tangled roots entwine
with evolution. I can only stare
in utter wonder, blinded by the glare
of dazzling supernatural design.

For wedged between the elemental ash
and sentient entity, surprises lurk
in hidden crevices of every hue
across the spectral plane, and in a flash
all heaven is exposed. It’s but a quirk
the miracle of promise can renew.

2022 Mary Boren
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Through Native Eyes

I’d like to spend a morning in the boots
of Jedediah Smith out pioneering
before the carpetbaggers in cahoots
with industry showed up for profiteering.

I’d stand atop the continental peak
and whisper not a clue that it divided
a nation burgeoning with ripe mystique.
I’d plant a “Keep Out” sign before it’s blighted.

But how could I usurp another first
to scale a virgin summit as she crested
above a crystal lake and quench the thirst
for worth where never other eyes had rested.

The value of the vista they’d behold
transcends the weight of Rocky Mountain gold.

2022 Mary Boren
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For those who think America’s history began with the arrival of white settlers. “After 75 years of obscurity following his death, Smith was rediscovered as the American whose explorations led to the use of the 20-mile (32 km)-wide South Pass as the dominant point of crossing the Continental Divide for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.”

Pivot Point

In evolutionary terms,
a quantum leap is overdue
as callow human nature squirms
from murky embryonic stew.

We exited the primal cave
with harnessed energy enough
for all, then willingly grew slave
to needless manufactured stuff.

Like toddlers with flamboyant blocks
we fashion castles in the air,
then fortify our walls with locks
and selfishly refuse to share.

While streamers from our satellite
project an ostentatious glow,
unlike the fabled phoenix flight,
velocity is all for show.

Unless we rise victorious
as one, the looming cosmic crash
will leave behind no more of us—
an evanescent puff of ash.

2022 Mary Boren
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Soupe Au Lait

I didn’t choose a mealy-mannered man
who never makes me mad—the utter boredom
would do me in—nor would I want to can
resentments under lock and key and hoard ’em.

When tempers flare, we let the passion boil
like milk infused with onions, salt, and taters
until it nearly overflows. You’re oil,
I’m water: counterclockwise oscillators.

Then just as suddenly the flame subsides
in recognition of our equal freedom
to percolate with peeves, but love abides
in knowing when to cool instead of heat ’em.

I wouldn’t trade the flavor of the soup
that’s cooked with spices added by the scoop.

2022 Mary Boren
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Illusion of Separation

“The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.” – Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, #12)

I looked through squinted eyes,
and begged to see The Mystery unveiled;
instead, without a word, you lifted me
with loving arms to set me in your lap
behind the wheel.

A primal burst of light
accompanied our launch through time and space,
and in my rattled, addled sense of self
I dreamed that I was traveling alone
without a map.

This lifetime lost among
inhabitants of unfamiliar worlds
obscured the memory of whence I sprang
but couldn’t kill my longing to return
before I die…

’til guided by a star
protruding from the edge of clarity,
I caught an echo of the lullabye
you sing throughout eternity to call
your children home.

2022 Mary Boren
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Aqueducts

“Are you a cul-de-sac or a channel?” – Nancy Woods

A home is offered on a cul-de-sac
located at the bottom of a hill.
The carpet, furniture, and bric-a-brac
would be at risk in heavy rainfall; still,
it seems a pleasant place to live.  I’m told
the problem’s not the overwhelming type,
since rising water’s easily controlled
by channeling. The groundwork’s laid, each pipe
is needed in its place as, drop by drop,
the depths are filled to bring one thirsty plant
a crucial chance to flourish.  Dammed up top,
however, they won’t hold a trickle.  (Can’t.)

Imagine a supreme communal force
with every channel flowing from its source.

2002 Mary Boren
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Surface Disburbances

A pebble skipped across a pond
incites a hectic scene
until the ripples spread beyond
the center of the screen.

An incident that floods a mind
with bitterness can dredge
impediments unless we find
discernment on the edge.

When stillness or resistance calls
between opposing views,
the shadow of perception falls
wherever people choose

2022 Mary Boren
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Cosmic Connection

“Not the ones speaking the same language, but the ones sharing the same feeling, understand each other.” -Rumi

The music doesn’t echo in a void.
It travels on a transcendental plane
that cannot be distorted or destroyed
and enters through a universal vein.

The magic doesn’t happen on the stage
when eyes alone are focusing on smoke
and mirrors, tricks impossible to gauge
when realism hides behind a cloak.

For only in the space between the realms
that camouflage the planets on their course
can kindred spirits forge a bond that whelms
our senses with connection to the source.

Communion recognized throughout the spheres
will ring when stillness penetrates our ears.

2022 Mary Boren
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Don’t Let Go the Rope, America

While the churches keep turning a back
on compassion, condoning the pack
of unholy behavior
that summons no savior
for immigrants under attack…

and the health of the nation’s in peril
because of increasingly feral
resistance to glean
benefits of vaccine
to encompass the whole human barrel…

and the workers are saddled with debt
by the predator class who abet
exploitation of minions
by driving opinions
that fairness to all is a threat…

and with few on alert to the whiff
of the greedy tyrannical skiff
that’s engaging the motors
to overthrow voters,
democracy’s over a cliff.

Lest we lose any semblance of hope
while unrolling the last foot of rope,
tie a knot in the end
and let’s try to pretend
that we’re not on a slippery slope.

2021 Mary Boren
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To the Unknown Poets Before Us

“I send my soul through time and space to greet you. You will understand.” -James Elroy Flecker (To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence)

Not driven by the world’s applause
your words were neither praised nor spurned.
You spoke or wrote them down because
the fire within you burned.

From chants to overcome the fears
encroaching on a native camp
to chronicles of current years
your words have held a lamp.

To each of you who heard the call
of feelings that demand release
through ink or etched into a wall,
the echoes never cease.

So whether gathered in renowned
Akashik Records or encased
in ancient caverns underground,
no words have gone to waste.

Millennia may come and go
before or since another surge
renews the link, but we who know
will let our spirits merge.

2021 Mary Boren
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Can You Live Without that Gizmo?

For the season,
instead of rewarding the greed
in the shadow
of corporate gluttons who feed
on consumers like candy,
help someone in need.

With the message
of Thanksgiving lost on the grounds,
reconsider
the noise that unceasingly pounds
on the spirit of sharing
as profit abounds.

In the absence
of empathy, avarice thrives.
You are hoarding
enough for the legions of lives
who are trapped in the chasm
til justice arrives.

2021 Mary Boren
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The Universe Resets

Though critical conditions reach a peak
on Saturday and multitudes are troubled,
with only seven midnights in a week
the hope of Sunday morning light is doubled.

The cosmic calendar is not concerned
with momentary intervals between
the folds of time and space. Where planets burned,
an emptiness now occupies the screen.

The rise and fall of empires in the span
of savage centuries is but a page
from one recorded Chronicle of Man,
unnoticed as the sweepers clear the stage.

For when the music strikes another chord,
the balance of Eternity’s restored.

2021 Mary Boren
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Resilience

There’s a corner in the basement
where nocturnal creatures spawn
mortal fear that renders optimism sparkless,
but the balance born of nature
in the crucible of dawn
is reserved for those who waited through the darkness.

Human history is littered
with unspeakable events
that would justify eternal condemnation
but a nucleus of dreamers
rising up to love’s defense
can emerge from any faithless generation.

As the curtain falls on freedom
through the apprehensive night,
may a unifying spirit find us banded
with rejuvenated purpose.
Let it lead us to the light
where impossibility is countermanded.

2021 Mary Boren
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Cracked Pot on a Broken Road

(with a nod to the timeless fable and
apologies to Leonard Cohen, Rascal Flatts, and Joan Baez)

Democracy, your waterbearers’ burden
is woefully unbalanced as the schemes
of lords and ladies on the hill have hoarded
the vessel that contains our common dreams.

It may appear America is leaking
the essence of the best it might have been,
but “there’s a crack in everything”. A trickle
can nurture hope, “that’s how the light gets in”.

Your promise of equality and freedom
for all has languished in the hands of few
for centuries. We’re ready for our blessing,
“the broken road that leads (us) straight to you”.

As trampled seeds of progress line the shoulders
along the path, replenishment relies
on sharing distribution of the bounty
that longs to shower down from cloudless skies.

Let sunshine pierce the depths of every crevice
and justice flow like water to replace
the field of opposition in obstructing
“the president (who) sang Amazing Grace”.

2021 Mary Boren
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Feed My Sheep

Once long ago in a mythical tale
weary fishermen huddled to hoist
nets that were empty back into the boat
when they heard an encouraging voice.

Jesus, not dead like they thought but transformed
at the end of his corporal shift,
told them to lower the nets over there.
Soon the load was too heavy to lift.

When his disciples were sated with fish
in his wayshowing manner, he said
“Simon, come here. Do you love me enough
to assure that my sheep will be fed?”

Refugees struggle forever, it seems,
fellow humans in need of a hand.
These are his people. He left us with notes
not to judge, just obey his command.

2020 Mary Boren
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Cosmic Crossroads

“Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to heaven; the pious will be deemed insane, and the impious wise; the madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be esteemed as good.” -The Prophecy of Thoth

There will come a time, the ancients said,
when Planet Earth is severed from the Spirit.
As mystics strive to reconnect the thread
with sacred speech, the people will not hear it.

Redemption must go deeper than the words
to overthrow the pattern of stagnation
in human consciousness that undergirds
our currents of decline in co-creation.

For only when the willingness of one
and all anothers unified by reason
to forge ahead together has begun
will heaven manifest its winning season.

And each alone can activate the glue
that binds us to the cosmic retinue.


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2020 Mary Boren
View discussion on this poem.

“No I can’t stop that, but I can stop what I’m doing to contribute to it.”

Image Source Neil deGrasse Tyson is silhouetted against the birth of the cosmos – the Big Bang – at the inception of the Cosmic Calendar and its vast 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution.

Reap the Whirlwind

“My daddy changed the world.” Gianna Floyd,
at only six, already understands
that something monumental has occurred.
She joins the ranks of children left to bear
the burden of a murderous design
infused into the bedrock of our nation.

Four hundred years of history reveal
the willful subjugation of a line
of people who, despite the barricades,
survive in force to raise a mighty roar
that shatters all illusion. We must stand
in truth to finalize emancipation.

No longer will the platitudes suffice
nor “thoughts and prayers” assuage an open wound.
The time for reckoning is NOW, the day
will soon give way to dusk, the moment lost
forever if denial perseveres.
The case demands authentic reparation.


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2020 Mary Boren
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Cascadia, 2025

Shades of Twenty-Twenty vision
lie beneath abandoned cities
packed with disregarded lessons
of the centuries before.
Finally the veil has lifted,
there’s a purpose in tomorrow
and the memories are fading
from the year that brought the war.

Looking forward to commencement,
parties, proms, and lazy summer
leading into jobs or college,
we were only seventeen.
Some of us were undecided,
some had mapped a certain future
in the pattern of their parents.
Others saw behind the screen.

Since we entered kindergarten
we’d been tested, used, and herded
for political agendas
on the nation’s shrinking stage
so it wasn’t unexpected
when democracy imploded
in a world already reeling
from the chaos of the age.

Virus after virus followed,
claiming half the population.
News from other countries filtered
slowly through the riot zone
’til the power grid was severed.
While democracy imploded
we were scrabbling for survival.
Now we live on wits alone.

Here I stand, the single remnant
from a family of seven,
flanked by unified companions
whose intention can increase
coexistence with the planet.
Taking only what is needed,
with the help of one another
we will make a lasting peace.


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2020 Mary Boren
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2020 American Heroes

Coronavirus slithered through the sea
to wake a nation unprepared to face
its own reflection. Stumbling in the dark,
the sleeping spirit stirs from shore to shore
as, shaking chains of partisan divide,
vibrations rise and rumble. Soon the chant
becomes a roar, “Let’s make a better choice!”

This unexpected intermission taps
the vast potential waiting in the wings.
From dormant ranks, new patriots emerge
with intellect, integrity, and love
for fellow citizens. They’ll show us how.


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2020 Mary Boren
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Stand Up and Be Counted!

Once to every thinking person
comes a moment to decide
whether to improve or worsen
life for those who share the ride.

In a culture populated
equally by right and wrong,
half are glorified; half hated.
All must rise to get along.

Those who choose the path of kindness
have a duty to the horde
lacking empathy whose blindness
simply cannot be ignored.

Never will the sound of silence
in the wake of cruel deeds
be acceptable. Nonviolence
doesn’t mean “abandon needs”.

Standing up for truth and justice,
quell the panic, lest we fall
for a web of lies that thrust us
straight into the devil’s thrall.

Citizen of earth and nation
striving for the common good,
raise a thundering vibration
over every neighborhood.

Only in a coalition
born of passionate desire
can a movement gain volition
going forward through the fire.


2020 Mary Boren
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The two opening lines are borrowed from a hymn written by James Russell Lowell in 1845.

Give Me Your Tired

With boundless greed invading
like charging bulls, creating
an atmosphere of hating
all up and down the aisle,
remember how we started
with open hearts unguarded
and immigrants rewarded
for waiting by the mile.

For all have benefited
from hordes that were admitted,
like threads securely knitted
in variegated style.
Our tapestry unravels
if loudly pounding gavels
prevail. In all your travels,
outshout them with a smile.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Photo from the U.S. National Archives

Origin

William_Blake_Eve_Tempted_by_the_Serpent

Did Planet Earth evolve from random bits
of space debris intensively colliding
in willy-nilly fashion as befits
the current state of omnipresent fighting?

Does co-existence here for you and me
derive from Capricana’s maiden landing?
A Legend of Creation holds the key
for those demanding doubtless understanding.

Before a single footprint punched the soil
foreshadowing humanity’s uniqueness,
a serpent was positioned to uncoil
the moment opportunity met weakness.

The Maker softly sighed and shook Her head,
“I wish I’d fashioned something else instead.”

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Mary Boren, 2017
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Silence is Betrayal

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
The words of Doctor Martin Luther King
hang heavy in the air. Intentions fail
to halt the arc of hatred’s brutal swing.

The centuries of organized oppression
are coming to a climax. You and I
must take a stand for justice. Shy discretion
is not a virtue when the stakes are high.

As hard-won rights are carelessly dismantled
before our eyes, the growing battle zone
erupting in the streets cannot be handled
with slacktivism. None should march alone.

Resisting with a vengeance, beat the drum
and shout in unison, “The time has come!”

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2017 Mary Boren
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Watchers

Eating popcorn at the movie,
gasping at the gruesome scenes
satisfies a dormant longing:
life by artificial means.

In the field of entertainment,
chaos brings its own reward.
Heightened senses lust for drama
manifest in gun and sword.

Watchers trapped within the frenzy
clamor in a common voice.
Re-emerging from the darkness
offers up a brighter choice.

When the world jumps out of focus,
squint your eyes and stand behind
someone with a crystal vision.
Let your lens be realigned.

Be the watcher watching watchers.
unaffected by the fray.
Pressing through illusion’s gauntlet,
live on purpose every day.

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2017 Mary Boren
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The Missing Peace

Missing-Peace-Found-36x36-2010
Painting by Dario Campanile, 2010, to commemorate the 5-year traveling exhibit:
“Missing Peace Found: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama”

A field of energy surrounds
exhibit halls, artistic grounds
where wisdom flows. A soft wind blows
from Mexico to Greece.
In joining hands around the globe
to touch the Dalai Lama’s robe,
the threads connect; hearts intersect
at avenues to peace.

Emerging from the planet’s core,
the whisper soon becomes a roar —
a rising tide to cast aside
suspicion, hate and fear.
With absolute impunity,
the world embraces unity
when chaos ends. It all depends
on everybody here.

Compassion for our brother’s plight
must hold a candle through the night.
All cannot rest while one’s oppressed.
Conditions inhumane
erode our fundamental soul.
Each person fills a vital role;
we’re called to be the change we see
in dreams.  Let kindness reign!

———

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2011 Mary Boren
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Crossroads

crossroads-at-night-in-winter

“I’ve got the gift of goodbye.  It’s the tenth spiritual gift.” -T. D. Jakes

In the ever-continuing surge
of humanity, pathways converge.
Though the pattern’s unclear
from the middle of here,
some are destined to cross, some to merge.

So if some overshadow the rest
and you’re forcibly keeping them pressed
in the pages you write
while you’re dreaming at night,
ask yourself, “Are they loved, or possessed?”

The devotion we’re trying to show
can’t compare to the gift we bestow
on reluctant companions
through chasms or canyons
by loving enough to let go.

Simply bless everybody you see
in the cosmic mosaic. Just be.
They shall all come to pass,
not to stay. Raise a glass,
flash a smile, wish them well, set them free.

———

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2011 Mary Boren
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Supermoon Meets Vernal Equinox

supermoon

I had an energizing dream about a peaceful morning
when everyone alive awakes renewed.
The air is pure, the water clean, no hint of global warming,
and no one lacks for shelter, clothes, or food.
The planet is awash with gratitude.

What happened to the weary world and all its weight of sorrow?
What monumental, unforeseen event
could render feuds forgotten as an ominous tomorrow
became today?  By mutual assent,
nobody even wonders where it went.

But as the dreamer, watching from a cloud at twelve-eleven,
I saw exactly how the shift occurred.
It’s not like everybody had to die to go to heaven.
The earth turned upside down, imbalance blurred,
and in that moment, inner vision stirred.

So now it’s spring in Perth and autumn in the Rocky Mountains.
Affluence is devalued, hope annealed.
As fear is toppled to the bottom, overflowing fountains
of love ascend to trump the sword and shield.
The veil has lifted; heaven is revealed.

———

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2011 Mary Boren
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