No need to mention any of the names of those 
who ask me, 
   “Why so quiet, James?”
   In truth, I’m quiet since I do not choose to shallowly discuss the
evening news, to idly chat about weather reports or wager over who 
should win at sports. And why reveal the details of my life to those 
caught up in private grief or strife, who listen just to items they can use 
to gossip, harbor ill, taunt or abuse, or those who, learning of me, 
would dismiss as crazy anything that runs amiss to attitudes with which 
they feel at home and scoff at the suggestion they might roam beyond 
the kind of life they’ve preconceived or outside of the faith they have 

   Why waste a discourse on those without will, to whom 
stupidity’s a social skill? And why discuss philosophy and art, or 
matters even closer to my heart, or, with light-hearted wit, why try to 
start with those whose highest humor is a fart?

   This is really why I’m quiet today, though, 
   “... just tired, I guess,” is all I’ll say.


James Ph. Kotsybar is the first poet published to another planet aboard NASA’s Mars orbiting MAVEN spacecraft. His poetry appears in the Hubble Space Telescope’s mission log and was awarded and featured at NASA’s Centaur’s 50th Anniversary Art Challenge. He was invited by the President of the European Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters in 2018, performing his poetry before an international audience of scientists and Troubadours (Europe’s oldest poetic institution) in their founding city of Toulouse, France, at the EuroScience Open Forum, earning a standing return invitation. He also spent time as a custodian, cook, and fundraiser.