Stars and Songs

Stars and Songs

Stars and Songs

A Poem by Charlie Stephens

It’s never been more obvious


that humans use such a small 

percentage of our brains’ capacities


The kids avoid this brave new world by hiding from it

in their bright screens

adults do this too, of course


Apps promise to help with internet addiction

but you need a smartphone for that


The world is finally just too much

reptile brains shutting down

Or opening up? 

I don’t know anymore


What is limitless access to knowledge

without being able to feel our bodies?

Without being open to the tangible world as it is?


The brightening filter warm vivid makes wrinkles disappear

but raw beauty and terrifying truths still exist on the surface of us

It’s the act of living that put them there, beyond our control


What I know now is that I really just want to go hide in some mountains,

grow a thick beard

and get all sinewy from chopping wood

I want to bathe in rivers

scrub my skin raw with pebbles

eat pine needles

and sleep with musky deer


             But that’s just privilege, thinking I can escape this.


What I know is that tiny dung beetles

navigate by using the Milky Way

with photoreceptors in their eyes that humans lack.

And I know that a whale off the coast of Ireland

can communicate with a whale off the coast of Eastern Canada

             through singing.


My own neurons slowly churn along

heavy with universal weight, unmeasurable


wishing I could navigate my days and nights by distant starlight

wishing I could sing like that

Music from ZUZE: Iranian-Canadian Jazz Orchestra

Music from ZUZE: Iranian-Canadian Jazz Orchestra

Forgiveness 101

Forgiveness 101