Volume 29, Number 2


to stand up

upright as evolution distinguishes the four-legged beasts from the human beasts, carefully developed spine and fine motor motions to uphold the head, watchtower of thought, a slower, clumsier version than earlier models, but clever – a radio antenna to the clouds, connected by limbs to the receiver, growing atom bombs and plastic dolls

to stand up for what is true, what is beautiful, what is good, as Socrates taught, is sometimes to lay it all down, every last spade, drink the hemlock because anything less is less and life is only lived on a positive scale

to teach is to be an example, to stand on principles so sturdy no spitballs or explosions or piercing questions will knock you off the certainty that there is no yellow brick straight and narrow path to understanding, and your soapbox is the empty field, July’s swamp, a worm on the sidewalk

to teach is a funny conceit, as if we could ever do more than help others learn, which is why you should kill the Buddha, turn back the Bible salesman, trade notebooks with rabbis, turn Mohammed on to Bob Marley because that one love is bigger than any one book, bigger than any one idea, bigger than anyone - - -

yet as little as your fist, which is roughly the size of your heart, which contains universes expanding infinity to encompass every other infinity in light that can never be switched off, that will never sit down complacently, that will climb trees in spring to shake apple blossoms down upon giants

—John Reinhart