“Man Must Explore”

By Samuel Pizelo

“As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown… I sort of realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature; Man must explore.”

Dave Scott, Commander Apollo 15, 31 July 1971.

As I spill from my bed with the aimless punctuality of a water clock, my head beats my heart and I land. This is living. This is the actorless thought; ex-thinks therefore I am. And my body operates against this thought, caves to the mindless will of this world, a static rush. The molecules and their sons are crawling throughout me, slaves to no thing, members of the dance of me, speakers to the inherence of my freedom. Is their restraint inspired? Who speaks to these voices; this far you may come but no more? It is this journey to the Beginning we all make.

I tell my head to think and it thinks, but my feet think the less of it. Obedience is pretty in pastel, but it won’t leave the fence of my mind. My body tramps through the gate and coughs out the bridle. We athletes know this truth: my muscles defy me. Superimposed on the film of this world is the chalking my mind draws. I can draw slavery, I can draw hate. These items of our minds cannot obey us in reality. It is not the colors my mind makes but the meanings of the colors. And here in this month of history let us remember, but let us erase.

There is this place I go where I speak not a word but pretend to, and I listen. I have seen the angels, and dwelt among them. Angels of high-carbon steel, strike them and they sing. Each basket of words we call a language can only hold so much, music is the glass for the spirit on the water. Our formula for life is complete, but the numbers are struck dumb. I am a jar of chemicals but I have been breathed into. Every atom of me shakesforlifeisamotion. We all, we are nothing. But from nothing comes something and that is the one truth.

Our bodies turn against us. Tell a brother who kills his own brother and he will weep for this deeper betrayal. There is a runner who sits, looking through a window on a hill where two silent lanterns rest. One if by bread, two if by wine. She breaths in the surgical silence and her mind cools. The surgeon holds his hygienic palms in supplication, gazing upward toward the monitor. He parts the body, giving thanks. Evening and morning of the sixth day. And here today the runner stands, a bleeding survivor with scars for a chest, striking the mountain till it sings. You have not taken me yet.

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1 Response to “Man Must Explore”

  1. Eva Fowler says:

    This is incredibly powerful. How do we find this border of life, self, biology, divine? This poems takes us to the precipice we, who have faced the death of our bodies and the angry response of those bodies to that death — and yet who live by the whim of our genes…we understand.

    Thank you.


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