W h a t H u m a n s A r e


In a mystical, mythical land called Earth

Lived a curious boy who was curious at birth

Always and always would the boy ask

Questions upon questions would be his mask

"Why" was his favorite word—

—They could never be split, as if tied by a cord

And the boy believed in wisdom

Believed it was the one thing needed to succeed in his kingdom

His quiet feet would bring him around like fire

Feeding and sating his fleeting desire

For questions with answers

And answers with questions

To him, they were a drug

A hobby he cared not to shrug

For days and days his thirst was quenched

For weeks and weeks his hunger was met

"Why," said the boy, who was hungry for lore

"Why?" asked the boy, who was thirsty for more

But then came the question that no one could answer

Like a lonely animal devoid of a partner

The question was simple

But not by principle

Six cunning words made up the sequence

Spoken as if spoken with utmost reverence

It was his last question for the day

Before he returned to his bed where he so meditatively lay

The sun was sleepy

And its rays were foggy

But the boy, hungry again, yelled from afar

"Why are humans what humans are?"

The sun blinked

—Half second of darkness—

And began to ponder whether he was being hoodwinked

The starving boy dared to poke

"Please, Sun, this isn't a joke."

So the Sun shone bright

A fearful light

And answered

"I would not know, Boy,

I merely fly above to shine not to enjoy."

The boy was distraught, his stomach was rumbling,

"Surely you must know something?"

"My dominion is vast and changing,

But maybe the moon, who is small and frowning,

May hold the answer in which you are seeking."

"How do I find the moon, bright Sun?"

"Look to the sky when I am gone."

Salivating as if he were a starving dog

The boy ran home through the air's dense fog

He opened his window as soon as he could

Then searched the dark sky as if searching for food

Soon, before he could find the moon

The white orb did loom

Over his room

And spoke in a sigh

That resembled a cry

"What might you want, little one?"

"Oh, Moon, just an answer is all that I want."

"Then question me with the question, so that I may know what you inquire."

"Why are humans what humans are?"

The moon thought and he thought

So much so, that he began to rot

The boy was drooling, "Surely you know?"

"Indeed I know, but not what you think I know. I know not the object of what you wish to know, but indeed I know what you must know to know the object of what you wish to know."'

"Then tell me, kind Moon, what I must know!"

"To the East and to the West, even the North and indeed the South, sleeps my minion, the Sea, whom I control."

"Then along the coasts must I patrol?"

"Nay, little one, she speaks only to they who venture deep

Picking and choosing who she wishes to keep."

Wasting no time

His mouth frozen like a mime

The boy sprang forth to the ocean

In hopes of completing his mission

"Speak to me," the boy shouted, hungry and ravage, "Speak to me!"

In a wave of water

In a splash of thunder

The sea answered, her voice like none other

"What is it you want, young one? Treasure, perhaps?"

"Treasure, indeed," the boy calmly answered, "But not from a map.

Knowledge is my gold coin and have it would I, if you would subjoin."

"Then ask you're question that you so mention."

"You see, I come from afar, and I simply must know

Why humans are what humans are."

The sea roared in amusement

Into the air, water and salt were sent

"Many answers have I,

Knowledge of golden locations that are invisible to your eyes

But an answer for you

I cannot construe."

Begging and starving

The boy fell, pleading

"I beg you gentle Sea, you must know!"

"I do not, young one, but there is another who might know."

"Please tell me so I too may know."

"Under human feet, under the water that I continuously flow

Is the world itself that continues to grow."

So the boy swam to the shore

Where he would constantly implore

The world to tell him the answer

"Great, solid World, are you listening?"

"I am now, for before I was sleeping."

Instantly, the ground shook

Drumming as if reading from a songbook

Decaying hands grasped at the boy's feet

Carcasses began to creep

The boy hung on to his question

It was like a trapeze bar

"Why are humans what humans are?"

"I am old, this you must realize

Yet an accurate reply I cannot seem to surmise."

"You must think and think, World, so that I can know the answer."

"If you must know, then speak to Air, who spreads like cancer,

She who flies and disappears in a flutter."

To confront the air,

Which was nearly everywhere,

The boy only breathed and declared

"Are you there?"

Twisting and spinning, the air flared

"You must know, small boy, that I am always here."

Projecting his voice like a sonar

"Why are humans what humans are?"

The air then shuddered

And palm leaves fettered

"From seconds to minutes, from minutes to hours, from hours to days, from days to weeks, from weeks to months, from months to years, from years to decades, and from decades to centuries, I have given humans life.

But, alas, the answer is unknown to me."

Despairing and hungry, the boy pushed for more

"If not you, swift Air, who could know?"

"Go to the source of all

He who stands mighty and tall

Taller than walls."

"Who could be this tall?"

"The creator of creation

He who shines like a beacon."

"How may I find this creator of creation?"

"Climb to the highest peak

There you will find what you seek."

Dying of starvation,

The boy uncomfortably climbed a mountain

Like an eagle, searching for prey

The boy summoned the courage to say

"Where are you, Oh Creator, he who created creation?"

"I am everywhere. I am the Sun that grants you light, I am the Moon that guides you at night, I am the Sea that holds insight, I am the World that seems finite, I am the Air that delights."

The boy is amazed

"With all the combined knowledge, you must know the answer to the question that I have phrased!"

"Yes."

"Humble Creator, then please profess!"

"But why, my child, should I confess?

The answer, it seems, you already know!"

The boy's stomach was hollow,

He couldn't possibly have the answer

His day was getting dimmer

"Search your knowledge for knowledge

And if still, you do not arrive at the message

Question your question."

"How can I question my question?"

"Simply ask yourself."

The boy wondered why everything wasn't organized like a shelf

Returning to the sea, the boy looked upon his reflection

His face seemed as if it had just survived a famine

Breathing slowly

Barely

The boy opened his mouth

His lips smacked like lips during a drought

He began to ask the question—it was a fond memoir

"Curious Boy, why are humans what humans are?