Reception

It has been years since my ears were cuffed in headphones and my mouth was next to a microphone. I hear my voice, crystalline and ‘live,’ reverberating over airwaves which scientists say can echo out for an unknown distance into the galaxy.

I can hear the familiar, open channel of space behind my words. It is silent, yet alive with zing, unseen. It is this vast vehicle that carried my message through the infinite for over fifteen years in my time at this radio station as a DJ and staff member. That was another era in my life. Today is the first time I’ve been back to the station in years.

The host, my long-time friend, welcomes me for conversation and poetry on this Sunday morning radio program, The Oasis. Born in Iran, he’s been in the States for decades. A lover of Rumi, a passionate gardener, he’s a poet. A chess player. A soulful seeker. Our exchange goes deep quickly, as usual. We speak on the fragility of life and the preciousness of the moment.

This year his 82 year-old mother died at home, passing with quiet perfection in her sleep. That evening they’d played backgammon, an ongoing, friendly ritual they enjoyed, going back and forth as winners and losers. That night they squared up, even. She ate a sandwich for dinner. Went to bed. In the morning, he discovered she’d passed. Suddenly, only a body remained, her life force gone from this realm, moved on to an unseen mystery.

My friend turns off the mic, and segues to Sting. When the “ON AIR” light blinks off, he smiles at me across the console. “I think we’re transmitting something good. I’ve got goosebumps.”

Later, back on the air, he reads a poem about invisibility. Anyone that’s tuning in can only hear his words, can only imagine what this radio host may look like. They know not of his goatee, neatly trimmed, that moves when his mouth pronounces “now.” They are left only to make shape of his features with their minds, molding tones to define the reverberations through their speakers.

This poet and I, we do not know where our words are reaching. Is anyone out there? This could be a conversation had just between us, amplified by apparatus, but everyone is watching football. We cannot see. We can only speak from our hearts about love and death and art and dreams, hoping that someone hears. Trusting that words may ring true.

There is a channel, tuned on a dial, something we call reception. Through it invisible matter crosses the ether. It is not meant to be known with the eyes.

But it exists. There for all that tune in and listen.

 

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