Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Love and Relativity

In the dark of the planetarium
I think about the rings of Saturn
and realize that when we lay together
I fit against the curve of your back

the way the third and fourth rings fit
close but with a space in which
Einstein might have talked of love
as the transition of flesh into energy

or perhaps he meant the other way
because love for us is the oscillation
the transition from the fire of passion
to the feel of the earth when freshly tilled

between the melting of touch and sound
into a glowing orange heat
and the mundane placing of a picture
just above the living room couch

all of which is much more confusing
than Einstein’s simple formulation

© 2014 Frank Kearns

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Calculating Love

I was working with a crew high on a hill overlooking the rolling vistas of Simi Valley when my cell phone rang. It was Dan, an old friend that I hadn't talked to for 5 years. He called to tell me Roger Arrington had died. Behind me generators hummed. Our crew had long range cameras mounted on the lift gate of a truck: we were tracking moving vehicles along a highway miles off in the haze, field-testing the way the computers recalculated the positions of cars as their outlines passed from bright sunlight into deep shade As I talked to Dan over the wind and the noise, I couldn't help thinking that this was just the kind of thing Roger would have loved.
Roger had been my mentor when I first started working at Hughes Aircraft Company. He was about my height and a bit younger than me, and he was the smartest person I had ever met. We worked with cameras and lasers and telescopes, and Roger knew all the theory of all of that, and all the practical details too. But he also knew all there was to know about aircraft flight, and shipboard radar, and a thousand other things. We would play a game: pick a subject - and Roger could tell us the basic equations, the primary mathematical laws that governed that particular topic.

For years, every Friday lunchtime Roger held what the intellectuals would call a salon. He and a bunch of us would go to a Mexican restaurant on. It was invitation only, and if you were invited it meant that you had been judged to be one who truly appreciated science and engineering in its many dimensions. We stirred rice into cheap enchilada sauce around a large table in the dim light, and discussed Roger’s latest “thought experiment.” These thought experiments were concepts where all the details were explored: was the concept feasible, what were the engineering challenges, how would the project be built.

They would go on for weeks. But after awhile, most of them were set aside and replaced with the next challenge. But Roger also had challenges of a different sort. Although he couldn’t really comprehend it, he was in love. He was in love with Donna, a woman that we all thought was about the nicest lady in the building. She liked him a lot. They were in their thirties, and it was marrying time. But for Roger everything was a thought experiment, and he couldn’t tie down all the logic involved in this situation. How does one know for sure? And if things don’t work out, should he protect - how would he protect his modest assets.

The last Friday lunch that I remember - we were eating the same enchiladas, mixing the same rice, trying to help Roger understand that love was something he was never going to be able to figure out. The leap of faith eluded him; he was confused and defeated. And after that, none of us were really interested in going out for Mexican food on Friday afternoon.
Up on the hill, looking out over Simi Valley, I had a hard time hearing Dan over the wind. He was telling me that Roger had died of a degenerative brain disorder. As we talked, a bit of dark humor that drifted uninvited into my mind– he had died from an overworked brain. I quickly filed that thought away as completely inappropriate.

On the phone, I heard Dan pause.
“You know,” he said, “I just thought of something that I am almost ashamed to say.”
I smiled to myself - and told him “I know exactly what it is.”

            © 2014 Frank Kearns

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ten Cords of Dry

A cord of wood is a pile, neatly stacked, 4' wide by 4' high by 8' long. A city person would be amazed at how much split dry wood it takes to heat a small cabin on an Island off Vancouver for a whole winter.

We met a tall, strapping wood sculptor at an art show in Joshua Tree, in the Mojave desert. He talked glowingly of the time he spent on Hornby island, off Vancouver, and how the artist community in Joshua Tree was almost as good as what he had experienced there. We asked him why he had come to this place in the desert, so different from that cold damp island.

Ten Cords of Dry

It was the heft of the axe,
the solidity of the chopping stump,
the pull of his shoulders as he swung
from Spring to first snow,
one hour every morning before coffee and breakfast,
that kept him sane those fifteen years on Hornby Island.

The tangibility of the task,
the sheer size of the pile
growing bit by bit,
to be sucked up by the ever hungry winter stove,
that part of living - no uncertainty,
ten cords of dry
the reason why.

Angela crept softly
into his periphery,
a bit of red shawl in a summer park,
gentle swaying at a late night gathering,
then finally a touch and spark,
the two of them in a crowded coffee house,
the whole world dissolving into fog.

Winter was warmed by
long nights of talk,
their skin touching hot under blankets,
cold air seeping around the edges,
and the ever dwindling pile
of split wood in the barn.

She said I love you so - but know
that I am a traveler in this place
of high pine and rain.
My home is on a desert hill,
where the Mojave slopes down
to meet the Colorado,
where the relentless sky
finds every hiding place
and purifies my soul.

I’m leaving now - to greet
the flowers of the sage and ocotillo,
to burn away the residue
and find out what I have that stays,
and purge what has to go.

As Angela brings out the tea,
he’ll tell you now,
ten years gone by,
in the desert light of Joshua Tree,
that he came to flee the endless cold.
Ten cords of dry
the reason why.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blue (When Mixed With Red)

We had watched an enjoyable live music performance at the Anaheim Civic Center. A couple of hundred people at an intimate venue enjoyed the show and had a great time talking to the husband and wife performers, the stars of the show.

We hung around a while talking to friends, then headed out to the dark and nearly empty parking lot. There we saw the performers again, re-packing the guitars around their duffel bags in the crowded compact hatchback. Off to the next show ...

Blue (When Mixed With Red)

There were no blue notes in his set
Up-beat banjo hints of bluegrass
He stood tall in blue jeans and knit cap
Light dancing off the face of his guitar

She stood beside him harmonized
Her mandolin stepped high above
His smooth blue voice that called her every night
For twenty years

She was counterpoint to him
Beneath her polished presentation
Danced a restless nervousness
That glowed deep red beneath stage lights

The people loved their act
Stood clapping at the end
The small hall had no backstage haven
So they walked along the wall
And stood there in the back
To autograph a few Cd's

He walked out later in the dark
Past stragglers beneath street lights
And re-arranged the little truck
To get the amp and guitars in
She joined him and they drove into the night
Where red and blue had mixed up a deep purple
That colored in the shades of gray

Copyright © 2011 Francis Kearns

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You and I Walking

You were re-assembling
the building blocks,
throwing off the mood of troubled youth,
climbing out of scrimping two-job
low rent downtown apartments.

I was stepping out of
the skin of the classroom boy,
reborn to the sun in the garden,
community food banks, anti-war marches
and the smell of machine shop oil.

We shared the wonder of
warm air on a summer night,
strong coffee and alcohol
and the sound of the blues guitar
bending that high slow note
‘till our souls took flight.

I looked for nothing
beyond the spell
but in brief instants saw
as the kitchen window
set your red bandanna
golden hair aglow
a long road
and in the distance
you and I

Copyright © 2011 Frank Kearns