Embracing Mystery

For years, I courted perfect Certitude,
though I could never take her by the hand,
nor did I ever see her in the nude,
and from her private quarters I was banned.
Despite the fervent hopes with which I wooed,
with flames of longing by aloofness fanned,
and though my aim was loving more than lewd,
my hope dried up, a windswept desert sand.
But Mystery is always at my side,
with features I may never figure out,
save possibly at some point when I’ve died,
and she leaves room for Faith as well as Doubt.
I’ve feared her, wished her gone without a trace,
but see her awesomeness in my embrace.

Embrace Release by Vincent Devine

Mario A. Pita

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Drama Quartet

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Axis

The world has often seemed about to end,
whenever things appeared to be most bleak;
about to break—it could no longer bend—
about to sink, from having sprung a leak.
Apocalypse has often been on lips,
and people fell for forecasts that were dumb,
and some have even hoped the planet slips
toward its doom, since that means God will come.
But what if the end of the world is only ours
and plenty survive that we consider vermin,
the roaches and rats devoid of human powers,
and none can hear a prophecy or sermon?
We might unleash an apocalyptic fuss,
but maybe the world doesn’t spin around us.

Exceptional

We thought that we could save the world by force,
that we alone were authorized by God
to set it on a good and proper course,
its people children not spared from the rod
to tame and shape them so they would be raised
as upright citizens we freed from fraud
and other evils, so we would be praised,
by cheering populaces who’d applaud.
But while we felt we fought for high ideals,
regarding blood we shed as justified,
we failed to see what arrogance conceals,
the lame excuse for everyone who died.
We’ve not progressed since war for Helen of Troy.
Still, beauty may save the world we don’t destroy.

Simulations

When androids programmed to seem just like us
appear so realistic that we’re fooled,
whenever they speak sweetly or they cuss
with parts that have been technologically tooled
to feel authentic though they’re simulated,
will we just play along as if they’re real,
from loneliness, regretting when we’ve mated,
because we’re more than what our senses feel?
We have a thirst that no machine can quench,
the thirst that’s for what’s true, what’s genuine,
and all else wreaks for us as with a stench
of death, of rot, of lame, old-fashioned sin.
We’ll simulate the feel of flesh, its sheen,
but still we’ll need each other—no machine.

Outlaws

A cop need not enforce the cosmic laws
of physics, such as light’s velocity,
ensuring everything obeys a cause
in them that came from some unknown decree.
No officer will pull you over for
your breaking laws like that of gravity
when through its ample loopholes you can soar
aboard a plane that’s high above the sea.
But still we wish that we could disobey
the laws confining us to entropy,
the laws condemning all things to decay,
their source an undetermined mystery.
And we succeed, in dreams, while fast asleep.
Awake, we need a faith or quantum leap.

Odradeck by Veena Vignale
Illustration by Veena Vignale
Sonnets inspired by Odradeck and Billy Bass Drink to the End of the World,
a book of four plays by the Physicist, Giovanni Vignale

Mario A. Pita

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Grateful Complaint

You shatter me as if I were thin glass,
till there is nothing left of me but crumbs,
uproot and toss me like a weed from grass,
and strike my nerves as if they were your drums;
unhinge me from what I’ve held like a door,
stomp upon my dreams as though a floor,
deplete my youth and health till I am poor,
and I am left to wonder what I’m for.
But, Life, you’ve also treated me so well,
and I am not your victim of abuse,
though you have rung me like a broken bell,
and sometimes I have wondered what’s the use,
for through you I am given a wondrous chance
to love, to learn, to laugh, to sing, to dance…

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Mario A. Pita

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Spouse Remorse

You couldn’t ever be the way you were
without me wishing you’d be otherwise:
some vastly different way I would prefer
for blessings I would clothe in my disguise.
Although there were some parts of you I liked,
some parts, like woodland trails, that I enjoyed,
besides these things, the forests that I hiked,
I was afraid of you or else annoyed.
But now I’m old and see your beauty, Life,
with deep regret for love I didn’t give
as though you were for me a treasured wife,
and I were thankful for the chance to live.
It’s me I hope to change so I go far
and always love you, Life, the way you are.

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Mario A. Pita

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Twisted Sanctity

No bee will claim that it is virtuous
to keep from pollinating any bloom;
asceticism seems unique to us,
along with awful existential gloom.
No bird believes that it would be more pure
to not employ its song to find a mate
nor think that its desires need a cure
as if they were an illness death had made.
But we have sometimes felt it to be saintly
to stifle life through mortifying flesh
for heaven’s light that on the earth shines faintly
to gleam unfettered by its needs, and fresh.
But drives that could bring beauty have brought rot
when they’ve been tied in knots of “Thou shalt not…”

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Mario A. Pita

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Street Portrait

You wore a large black, plastic garbage bag
and sat with just your face extending through,
as if from some big coat—unlike a rag
because it shimmered, loosely wrapping you.
And I was struck to see you sitting there
because I know no human being is trash,
yet in your bag out in a city square,
you sat because of some financial crash.
Some people passing by paid no attention,
attention sometimes worth far more than cash,
wrapped up in their own lives of stress and tension,
of personalities that sometimes clash,
escaping long work days for some brief leisure,
but I want to remind you you’re a treasure.

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Mario A. Pita

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Longfellow Bridge

It’s been two hundred years since you were born,
and far more than a century has elapsed
since when you died, before the world was torn
by global wars in which nations collapsed.
And bombs you can’t have dreamt of have exploded,
dropped by your country, turned to superpower,
and sometimes, with its wealth and weapons loaded,
it seemed the world was near its final hour.
For me, that power comes to less than zero
compared to that I found within your verse,
a power not as of a superhero,
or that of armaments, an awful curse:
my face till when I read your lines was dry.
Across the centuries, you made me cry.

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Sonnet in response to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Bridge

Mario A. Pita

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