("When I am in Kyoto, I wish I was in Kyoto."- Basho)


At the bow of a Gondola

on the briny swirling waters

of the Grand Canal of Venice, he lands

on the ancient stone steps of his studio.

He heats grains of sand and pigments,

huffs and puffs on a blowpipe,

twirls oozing molten blue glass as

deftly as a plastic surgeon.


At one with his art,

he doesn't notice singed

eyebrows and black knuckle hair,

pin feathers on a naked chicken.

His alchemy morphs the mix into an

luminescent cobalt flask

as delicate as a fetal membrane

shimmering in the morning sunlight.


Craftsmen like the glassblower are obsolete.

Despite Ned Lud's* futile tantrum

the clang and din of machines drone on,

replacing knowing hands with a

glinty robotic sea of Ipods,

Bluetooth, and Blackberries

made by automated tinmen of Oz who

wish to be anywhere but where they are.

An IT consultant nervously

chews on his hand, comforted by

recalling a flock of squawking

geese overhead in V formation

as he slowed down at the easy-pass

toll both on the way to work.


Milton P. Ehrlich


*In 1779, in a village somewhere in Leicestershire, Ned Lud destroyed two machines used for knitting hosiery, which he perceived to be a threat to the jobs of skilled artisans. (The term "luddite" has since come to connote any person with an aversion to new technology.)