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The Mountain

 

The peak reaches an impressive height

An altitude of nearly 20 thousand feet

There’s snow above the tree line

Where avalanches are very possible

Within the valleys below

The foothills found on three sides

They are immersed in shades of green

There’s a forest of conifers

Mainly a collection of pine and spruce

Covering the consistent changes in elevation

There is a shepherd tending their herd

About two hundred in all

The pastures are lined with stonewalls

On occasion, a chorus of sheep sounds

Echoes throughout this particular valley

The shepherd seems in a hurry

He’s herding the flock toward a nearby barn

Because in the distance

Flashes of lightning are visible

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Halfway up the slope

There’s a rock climber

Who’s dressed in tight-fit clothing

Half blaze orange

Half hot pink

She’s alone on this slope

The exception being an occasional goat

Several meters above her

A bolt of lightning strikes the slope

Sharp rocks drop towards her

She manages to dodge this volley of death

Unfortunately, new challenges have emerged

A steady rain soaks her to the skin

She must head for shelter

To her fortune

There’s a cave nearby

But her electronic device is useless

She’s unable to detect a signal

Unable to contact the outside world

A rock climber’s worst nightmare

One hand hold at a time

She continues to ascend the slope

As she has for the past two days

Fortunately

A helicopter has entered this particular valley

There’s a searchlight scanning the vicinity

Someone is looking for her

Wondering if she’s alright

She grabs a two-way radio

A last resort measure

And flashes a light from the cave entrance

With both devices in hand

She guides the whirlybird to her location

A bag of supplies is dropped by parachute

Landing on a nearby ledge

Which then the helicopter flies away

Leaving this female climber to her devices

She unpacks the supplies and organizes them

< >

Before she sleeps on this night

She tells herself the following:

‘I will continue the climb once the storm passes’

‘I can’t give up since I’ve come this far’

‘I’ve spent the last 15 years preparing for this moment’

‘I cannot quit while I’m on top’

‘I must keeping going’

‘I must rest while I can’

‘This mountain may try to stop me’

‘No matter the difficulties’

‘I shall persevere’

‘No matter how long it takes to reach that peak’

I’m A Phlebotomist

Hello, I’m a phlebotomist

I request patients to roll up their sleeves

But first, what is your first and last name?

How about your date of birth?

Who is your doctor?

Let me check your wristband too

That is, if you have one

Otherwise I will need to find the nurse first

For patient identification is vital

Within the healthcare environment

< >

Hello, I’m a phlebotomist

I use a tourniquet to help anchor your veins

I use a finger to palpate for them

Have you drank plenty of water?

Have you fasted for twelve hours?

I understand your hunger pains

Unfortunately, breakfast can wait for now

I know you want coffee and creamer

Please provide me a few minutes

I will be done here shortly

< >

Hello, I’m a phlebotomist

I’m almost ready to draw your blood

My needle equipment has been assembled

The tubes and sterile gauze are all within reach

Please keep your arm straight and don’t move

Here we go

Depending on your veins

They are either shallow or deep

Highly visible or invisible altogether

Regardless, I’ve struck a lively oil

And my tubes are filling fast

< >

Hello, I’m a phlebotomist

Are you feeling alright?

I mean, I am removing blood from your system

If you’re not, please take a deep breath

I’ll have someone grab a juice

And before you realize it

The blood draw is over in seconds

I’ll place an initialed label on each tube

Then confirm the information is correct

With your acknowledgement of course

< >

Hello, I’m a phlebotomist

I’m sorry, but I need a urine sample too

Don’t worry, I won’t stand in the bathroom with you

Unless you request my assistance

But if you’re here for a drug screening

I will request the door remain slightly ajar

I have many more duties

Like collecting throat swabs

Listening to a patient’s stories

Because I am a phlebotomist

And no matter the situation I’m thrown into

No matter the tasks involved today

And the days that follow this one

Patient confidentiality and comfort

They always come first

Beyond Our Cosmos

Humanity failed to explore

Beyond the Earth’s moon

All while probes, satellites, and rovers

Have been sent beyond our closest neighbor

Many of which have reached

The edge of the Solar System itself

What about Homo sapiens?

Don’t we deserve better than this?

Manned space exploration

The holy grail of the 21st century

After nearly five decades

Where humans never left low-Earth orbit

Forget about the innumerable risks

Where space could kill us immediately

Should we escape the protection

Of our spacesuits and spacecraft alike

< >

All the hype derived from films and books

Especially those from the last ten years

The drive to explore space is understandable

We wish to journey for the Red Planet

And this journey is very possible soon

What about other celestial bodies?

How about colonizing Venus?

Once we eliminate the sulfurous clouds

Is the Moon a suitable home too?

How about Phobos and Deimos?

The two moons of the planet Mars

Doesn’t matter which are viable sites

For future populations of homo sapiens

Humanity is going

Whether the haters outnumber us

Or not

< >

In the year 1492

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean

From east to west

Was considered risky if not fatal

However

People would greet Columbus

And they could help him return to Spain

Unfortunately for space pioneers

Besides those stationed in low-Earth orbit

Those who venture farther out

Will have nobody to rescue them

Should a major problem occur

They will need to rely on each other

< >

Due to my vivid imagination

I can perceive how humanity can live elsewhere

Somewhere beyond the edges of the Solar System

Here’s a good question

What’s really beyond the asteroid belt?

You know

This humongous ring of big rocks

Found between Mars and Jupiter

If only we knew the answer to this question:

What’s beyond the dwarf planet Pluto?

I’ve watched the space pioneers

During their quest to search the heavens

Where they found hundreds of planets

All situated in distant galaxies

The time between these discoveries

And when humans venture towards them

Could be measured in centuries

We might be an ambitious, intelligent species

If exploring space beyond our system is desired

The first step we make

No matter the impact it makes

Must be made soon

< >

Why not now today?

Humanity possess the technology

Companies are preparing to mine asteroids

To provide resources for use on Earth

To construct infrastructure in outer space

For use in colonizing the cosmos

We’ve taken risks before

Look at our history on this planet

We colonized the Earth over thousands of years

Acclimating ourselves to various climates

Forging the crudest of weapons and tools

To find ourselves possessing great potential

Our species is almost entirely interconnected

Our technology more advanced

Than those days on the plains of Africa

Several million years ago

In other words

Humanity has come a long way

And despite the journey thus far

We’re far from anything associated with finish lines

< >

In respect to human exploration

This is the beginning of our journey

New systems to colonize

New galaxies inhabit

On these untamed planets

With their foreign habitats and exotic suns

Many people are not afraid

Or understanding firsthand

By putting boots on the ground

In the name of science

And carbon based life forms itself

I’m aware of the ongoing bloodshed

The widespread poverty and chronic illness

Which afflicts this species of ours

There’s no better time in human history

Than the current era we’re in

We have some of the boldest thinkers

Who continue to question everyone

And everything at our disposal now

< >

Why didn’t we head out sooner?

The technology meant for space exploration

Has been around for several decades

We have already set foot on the Moon

Long before I took my first steps during infancy

Space technology has improved exponentially

Since those days during the space race

Another competition like long ago

Through free market competition

A similar attitude can be achieved

Forget the antics of the pessimistic

Humanity will be reaching out again

With the help of ambitious souls

To colonize Mars and the Moon

To venture towards the edge of the Solar System

Without question

A Stream of Fire

A rocket engine array of nine

Belches demons of fiery orange

One engine commanding the center

Eight more along the circumference

The astronauts aboard the command module

They activate the third and final stage

In order to escape low-Earth orbit

To head for the big gray ball nearby

Without bureaucratic tape involved

For the first time in human history

Over the course of two days

These courageous astronauts

They prepare for the main event

To create footprints on the lunar surface

The first time in almost half a century

The live streams are available worldwide

Millions stand and cheer

For humanity has returned to stay

Within the Sea of Tranquility

The lunar lander touches the grayish surface

Less than two hundred yards from the Eagle

The lead astronaut descends the ladder

When they hop off the bottom rung

To form a small dust cloud upon impact

Millions of people burst into an outcry

Another leap for mankind

Has been achieved

Within five years of this remarkable day

The first lunar colony is established

Hundreds vow to emigrate from Earth

While thousands more prepare

For another exciting cosmic adventure

The journey to colonize Mars

With the rebirth of large spacecraft

These massive beasts of carbon fiber

Besides the other cutting edge materials

Will form a bridge between celestial neighbors

Forget about only thinking about Earth

Humanity is meant to go multi-planetary

Our destiny is to colonize the stars

Because we are explorers by intuition

The Mentally Broken

Here’s to the outcast

The repeat failures and rebellious misfits

The artists told to forfeit their paintbrushes

The writers told to throw away their manuscripts

The musicians told to destroy their lyrics

This one’s for us, the creatives of Earth

The ones with vivid imaginations

And for those pesky non-creatives

The ones who think we’re all crazy

Those who think our lifestyle is stupid for one reason

They wish we joined their misery too

< >

We never set out for fame and fortune

This wasn’t the goal from day one

The goal was to promote beauty

Expression through art, stories, and song

Money may lubricate our way of life

All we really need are some loyal fans

People who want to consume our creativity

One project after another

Without fault or impediment

< >

The reason we’re sometimes broken inside?

The naysayers love to trample our successes

These people without dreams of their own

No aspirations to achieve anything

With the one life given to them

So they took up a hobby

Willfully destroying the ambitions of creatives

On behalf of all the creatives

How dare they!

< >

Despite the accusations of naysayers

The creatives know how to cope

They find comfort in one another

‘Your work is lovely’

‘They have no idea what they’re talking about’

Our creative friends comment

Except on rare occasions

We never pat ourselves on the back

We prefer to overcome the poisons of our demons

We choose to push forward through their hatred

And shrug off their vile confrontations

We understand the importance of pursuing creativity

Than to solely chase after extra money

We don’t want to live on the streets

Nobody wants to be homeless

And we hate dead-end jobs

They siphon our creative fuels

The higher octanes necessary to create

If not kill our brain cells as well

We understand the need for a day job

Which we hope is only a short-term affair

Creatives understand the need for day jobs

Careers that culture our visionary spirits

< >

We never set out for fame and fortune

This wasn’t the goal from day one

The goal was to promote beauty

Expression through art, stories, and song

Money may lubricate our way of life

All we really need are some loyal fans

People who want to consume our creativity

< >

One project after another

Without fault or impediment

The reason we’re sometimes broken inside?

The naysayers love to trample our successes

These people without dreams of their own

No aspirations to achieve anything

With the one life given to them

So they took up a hobby

Willfully destroying the ambitions of creatives

On behalf of all the creatives

How dare they!