Auto pilot


The day your father died

the day the towers burned

the day she found out she had a tumor

I was doing something irrelevant

caught on auto pilot

like the time the door bell rang and

the pizza man handed over a bag

how did you think a small bag could contain a large box?

you said as you ran after him shouting

you gave us the wrong order!

but he sped away on his little red bike

because he too was on auto pilot

and we dreamers who

find reality too hard

yet strive to know

we are often and regrettably lost

choosing puzzles over clarification

wandering the halls of the VA

in search of meaning

watching ruinous faces lose their facades

and close down

like unwound clocks tired

of ticking


when you had your first seizure

in the toilets and everyone began

to scream

I recalled my cousin seizing in the field

full of pollen and dragon flies

and held your head firm like a babe

baptized in a steam

in that moment I was not

a child of pretend and play

but an adult seeing the heart monitors of the world

bleeping to wake

the sleeper in me

who does not pretend to know

the journey in you


when I lift my head from

distraction and sound

clear my mind and look around

then in the reflecting glass of true response

I can be as much as possible

the owner of my walk

thinking not of purchase and power

but the small mercies

we often over look


19 thoughts on “Auto pilot

  1. its is an odd tightrope I walk– sometimes completely lost in the world of my head, watching others through thick glass and then other times I am so overwhelming connected to the stimuli of this wider world that I feel like I will jump out of my skin


  2. I’ve always believed its better to live in our own world as oppose to this reality world we live in. However, managing ourselves in this world its a difficult challenge one that requires us to learn like the humans they are.

    Genius is…and I mean that from my heart to you. πŸ™‚ I love this very much and my favorite poem of the day. πŸ™‚


  3. “wandering the halls of the VA
    in search of meaning”

    Man, I can really relate to this as a Vietnam veteran with PTSD. I see so many guys in need of help. They seem to be on auto pilot hoping things will improve from something they get from outside when the peace they are yearning for simply comes from within . . .

    Michael J, Philadelphia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Michael, thank you so much. I have been going to the VA for the first time in my life with a friend who had a brain tumor. It has taught me literally more than anything I have learned in the 14 years I have lived in America. I feel everyone should go to the VA and just talk to the people there. It is the REAL America both positive and negative. I’m very sorry you have PTSD but I am also not surprised. I wish you health as I know that really is the singular thing we all need and often are denied. Thank you for appreciating my effort, I do not claim to understand all but I have compassion and care for those I see who are not given a voice.


  4. Excellent poem. My favorite lines below:
    watching ruinous faces lose their facades
    and close down
    like unwound clocks tired
    of ticking
    Remind me of the Jews in the ghetto who were worn down by ever-growing confinements until they were closed in beyond escape. This is also reminiscent of the “Kulaks” and intelligentisia in Soviet Russia after everything was stripped away and jobless they were forced to wander, homeless.
    This poem reminds me personally of a lot of things that have happened to me, when you are on auto pilot and suddenly there is a crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EXACTLY! Do you know why I love you so? And I mean it when I say love? Because of responses like this. Once you made me laugh very hard when you said you did not understand poetry, because that is SO FAR from the truth as to be impossible. You my dear, you understand far more than you ever will credit, and moreover you ARE poetry in your perception of life. As such that’s why you can relate and why you query and you think – in a world that makes thinking and query utterly vanquishable. It’s the Jew in you. It’s the Jew in me. And now we have a seventies song πŸ˜‰ I do agree on a serious note, I felt it when 9/11 hit, I felt it with many times when you are humming along and WHAM! It is truly the worst feeling. I wanted to put a name to it, to describe it, to shake it out so it did not have that power over us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Odd 9/11 stories, when I saw the smoke gushing from the towers my first impulse was to get on a bus and go down town to the Towers. I felt like…I had to do something. it was irrational obviously I couldn’t have helped but I had an urge– a call to action. (But as I was afraid of my British boss instead I turned and went up to our 6th floor on Madison Avenue.) Later on when I was walking the many miles home, with a wave of people massed around me (no busses or subways) I walked through Central Park and saw someone jogging, I guess completely unaware of events that had transpired… it was an awful sickening incongruity. You feel things terribly. I would not be surprised if you were some sort of reincarnated soul from the Warsaw ghetto, some resistance fighter. I understand they lasted around four weeks before the Nazis cowardly fire bombed them from above.


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