Perfect Stranger

Thing with whom we have
no common ancestor

a parallel line that never
intersects with our own

too different perhaps
even to have ancestors

coming into existence by
some method less messy than sex

foreign to our dilemmas
too other to be other

we probe the earth
& sky for you

cure for loneliness
like nobody we know

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. I like this. I even read it out loud before I realized it ends with “know” and not “knew.” So I read it again. It’s a good out loud read.


    1. Thanks! I’m not sure I did all I can with the “perfect stranger” image, but once in a while I do feel the need to post something vaguely relevant to the name of the blog.


  2. “too other to be other” is very nice, or is that perfect?
    The latter. A strange, wonderful Poem, provoking thought and wonder.
    To be HOLY is to be OTHER, I have read somewhere.
    Thanks, Dave. Onword!


  3. Interesting after reading the re-posted essay–did looking at that provoke this? You were mostly talking about Christianity, so I will think about this poem in those terms…

    There are things about this poem that go way beyond the Christian. And would be interesting things to explore in a poem. Maybe another series!

    That is, paradoxically, Christ was the Word (was God, with God) in the beginning and yet in the flesh he is also a descendant of some quite vigorous (and sometimes not very well-behaved) people in the Old Testament. So he is in the human ancestral tree and also something entirely different from that.

    Also, Christianity (as well as Judaism and Islam) might argue with you about the “other” business (“other” and yet not other) and would put more focus on the idea that humans contain “the image” of God, however one takes that–and that being made in the image of God calls us to be something more than what one sees in the mirror. And more than that material self you talked about in the essay.


    1. Hi Marly – Thanks for the thoughtful comment, and for delving back into the archives. I’m a little confused about what re-posted essay you’re talking about, though.


  4. Oh, I thought they were closer in time–more frazzlement from doing taxes, I suppose–see November 7th.


    1. Oh, right — that re-post from my old Geocities site, “A doubter’s guide to agnosticism.” No, this poem really wasn’t about religion, necessarily, just an attempt to think through the human longing for space aliens, angels, or some other completely foreign reference point — someone like us, but absolutely unrelated to us.


  5. You know, I must have searched on something particular, because this poem was right next to that essay! PffpT Who knows, on a day when one has worked on taxes.

    Still think there’s a lot more there: good material!


    1. In all likelihood, you were browsing the via negativa category, where they are indeed the two most recent entries.

      I think it’s time to get to know the friendly folks at H&R Block. Life is too short.


      1. I’m not actually doing them. I’m just gathering and sorting and adding up categories. Only for some reason I was highly lazy and did not keep everything together, so it has been hunter-gatherer day. And of course I can’t find the things I need. Learn. Must go get a box and throw recent things in. Whew, being lazy leads to hard work.


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