Numbers that add up and those that don’t

Posted: May 15, 2012 in Poetry, urban poems

The Poets Pub has thrown up its doors .. join us at

These numbers are too big for my brain,
which itself has 100 billion cells that fizz and whirl.
Radio man bursts into my sleep.

A new galaxy is found! It’s far away
this cloud of stars, an unseen sprinkling
of silver dust in deepest blackness.

Even further away than San Francisco,
which is pretty far out.

It was an 11 hour flight,
but worth every cramped mile.
A city from a different world,
a solar storm of life.

Bohemian energy arcing over Saulsalito,
striking Golden Gate, earthing itself in
an explosion of human fizz on Pier 39.

A 5 dollar tram ride
grinds over Nob Hill,
screeches its way
down to 6th street.

But this galaxy has numbers bigger than these.
This is a new discovery, but also history.
Our vision is locked in on a view
from 13 billion light years ago.

How’s that for a figure
to freeze your mind?

They’re staring at history
through Hubble and claiming:

‘It’s new!’

a galaxy that has long moved on.
It will take me
1.35 million years
at 17,600mph
to reach this place.

My brain fuses as this
meteor storm of numbers
strikes the surface.

Pier 39 is fine.
So is an 11 hour flight,
5 dollars and
a street numbered 6.

These numbers are real,
figures that fit
the galaxy in my head.

  1. brian miller says:

    ha yeah those are far too big a number for me…san fran can def be far out…haha…it was a nice visit though s acouple years back…with easier numbers…smiles…hope your reading went well tonight

  2. I’ve sometimes felt that way, that the numbers you hear from astronomers are far beyond what the mind can grasp; then the mind holds comfort in numbers much closer to home, much easier to grasp and understand.

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