By Jen Schneider

as insignificance walks & waltzes

i used to walk at night 
        only after the weight
	of the day’s work had lifted

now i walk at night 
	because only the sky reminds me	
	that none of that work matters


a ___ reasons to wish upon a star

a billion -- divided by the # of people 
on earth / life species / unknowns / questions 
with no answers -- reasons to wish upon a star
1. There are many ways to slice wonder. There are just as many ways to splice & dice bread. Wonder (bread or banter) doesn’t always get better with time (or wine).
2. Pre-packaged “Nights Under the Stars” (with a side of wine – sometimes whines) are often social constructs.
3. Star Light, Star Bright was first recorded in the 19th century. Wishing on stars predated the lyrics & the lights (not the nights).
4. Individuals are believed to have first extended wishes on shooting stars around 127 AD. Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, pointed to shooting stars as evidence of gods’ curiosity about earth.
5. Curiosity and constellations share more than letters of the English alphabet. Dance and destiny share more than comfort.
6. Jiminy Cricket sang “When You Wish Upon a Star” to Pinocchio as a way to extend and inspire comfort. The first Disney song to win an Oscar & the recipient of the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song, “When You Wish Upon a Star” shot up the charts. 
7. Charts do more than document observations & track capitalistic rations.
8. Not all that is noted (or notable) is tangible or tracked. Blinks & links linger amidst dust.
9. Gas is more than a state of matter. To gaze is more than a simple act. 
10. Stars grace & graze while humans gaze in (in)appropriate ways.
11. Goodnight Moon, written quickly & edited slowly, sold over 48 million copies since first published in 1947. The text is a universal favorite and has been translated into a dozen languages. There are approximately 200 billion trillion stars in the universe. 
12. Waltz, walk, and wonder are both nouns and verbs.

13. Dust (& trust) dances in spaces of multiple sizes & scopes. Not all telescopes serve equally (or equitably). There are ___ reasons to wish upon a star.


NYC’s Emergency Management Agency Issues an Allegedly Unprompted and Non-Contextualized 90-second PSA on How to Survive a Nuclear Attack. The Video is Titled ‘Nuclear Preparedness” and Seeks to Assure the Public That There is No Cause for Alarm

i used to think
alarms were reserved 
for emergencies
of time, place, & matter

now i believe
time, place, & matter
are both the alarms
& the emergencies


of time, place, and/& matter

i used to wonder
about the meaning
of time and place
as well as definitions
of words like
alarmist & alarming
and the context
in which an ‘&’
might be preferred
to an ‘and’
as topics revolve
in rotations 
that parallel 
revolutions of
earth, moon, & sun
and lyrics of
Earth, Wind, & Fire
now I know
that there are few
who have mastered
the art of assessment

& assessing
when is a good time
to drop news 
is neither a skill
nor a matter
of time or place

for current threats,
times, and greatest hits
are rarely as good
or as gracious 
as the mighty elements

             decibels & dust
             dance amidst ash
             of wayward winds


once upon a time

there was a time 
when we believed 

	in miracles 
	& the benefits 
	both boasted & roasted
        of one-a-day vitamins 
        a, b, c, & d

	in wishes 
	upon starlit skies,
        all constellations named
        & dandelion fluff,
        all children at play 
        pursuing innocent games

	in parachutes
	that slow
	motion & cycles
	of news 
        not by time or place

        in dawns 
	baked of maple syrup
	atop short stacks
	& dusks
	caked of a day’s 
	sweat & smelly socks 

        when grammar, gripes
        & grinds inspired 
        not coffins but coffees

        / wickedly tart 
        & well-worn 
        -- forever sweet

now is a time
when i wish 

          we still could

Source: the daily news / headlines

on top of a summer hill :: a haibun (half-baked, half-found happiness)

dandelion fluff gathers as wishes and late-night raspberry kisses shimmer amidst hills and neighborhoods simultaneously seasonless and always in season. fields (of dreams) brush shoulders with water towers and backyard courts (of customs and community, all counted). metal hoops mingle with hardwood paddles. cherry blossom bouquets grace sidewalk saddles. balls, bells, and beaks (of ducks & dances at dusk) always on. hearts and hearths of five-digit zip codes melt and mingle. wissahickon trails weave quilts of layers. from halls of independence to institutions of mom-and-pop resurgence. a hummingbird sings. an owl hoots. mister softee tunes travel. from fairmount to kelly to valley green. peddlers, pedestrians, and purveyors drive the germantown mile. frozen treats cool and press (also compress) while novelty-painted trucks tease (also please). good humor push-ups. lemon, cherry, and blueberry ice. sponge bob smiles at batman. choco tacos dance. all motors idle. vanilla and chocolate soft serve blends (sometimes bleeds) in cones of waffles and wafers. hand scooped strawberry and butter brickle. on and of cast iron benches tucked into grassy corners. greens with a hint of poppyseed. grains with a touch of chardonnay. souls on soles trek and travel across brick and bridled paths. stagecrafters marvel. woodmere sculptures and arboretum gardens a(maze). regional rails hug victorian twin and row homes. where downtown meets uptown on a friday night. kilian hardware and hard hats keep locks and labels both hard and soft at bay. low tides at wissahickon and cresheim creeks welcome waders. high tides warm and charm come (what) may. rubber ducks and plastic spoons kiss cranberry scoops and brick front stoops. windows of chocolate eclair pastries and celebratory bakes. residents toast time in inns of mermaids. readers secure limbs (and casual corners) in fairmount park. chestnuts & cherry peppers cool on open pit fires. century-old cobblestones (and freedom) wink.  

                                                            a pair of ospreys
                                                    chirp from telephone wires
                                                      parks and patrons sleep

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania.  

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