Tesla Sparks the Strength to Power On

I love this poem by my honey, Jason Imanuel, published this month on Poets Online.


Step right this way!
See with your own eyes where most men shy away!
Your future is now!
Called the raconteur, his barker’s baritone glowing
as Thomas Edison, the djinn of direct current, declared,
“…alternating currents kill!”
which is how he made those corpses of horses
that he stacked against Nikola Tesla,
who was more concerned with the making than the marketing.

Their mutual rancor denied them both the Nobel Peace Prize.
While Edison surged on to harness electricity
and enough investors to keep him both rich and relevant,
Tesla, impoverished in the grind
between potentials and paydays,
died alone, with pigeons as partners.

I struggle to find much worth weaving
into my own life from Edison’s example,
aside from his acumen for parting men from their money
and his ability to recognize the gift of failing well.
Tesla draws me in with ease,
even in his rigidities and judgements he kept growing,
reshaping, refining and resubmitting himself
to the truths that electrify each pulsing heartbeat.

“Our virtues and our failings are inseparable,
like force and matter. When they separate,
man is no more…”
I hear Nikola whispering in his wireless waves,
urging me to be a receptor when lightning strikes,
to dare to flourish in the flux of the moon,
to defy the urge to pin identity in a calcified moment,
that dropped rock whose ripples are already fading from the water
I’m walking on into a deeper doing through dreaming out loud.

Jason Imanuel

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