Between a Rock and Mahatma Gandhi

Between a rock and Mahatma Gandhi
which is better?

a rock is a perfectly fine
aggregation
of sub-atomic particles
Mahatma Gandhi alive is a perfectly
fine aggregation
of sub-atomic particles

a rock has rock sentience
Gandhi has Gandhi sentience

it’s not better to be a rock
or to be Gandhi
if nothing matters

we have powerful personal knowledge
that nothing matters
suicide knows nothing matters
war knows and torture
the tools of the torturer know
extinct species know nothing matters
opium knows
metallic concentrates in the brain
stunned by Alzheimer’s know
your house on fire while you are at the movies
the deepest inner thoughts of your great
grandfather’s great great grandfather know
the room he was born in knows
the biochemistry of a cancer cell knows
the questions asked by Torquemada know
ashes scattered at sea
the digestive tract of the insect
feeding on the conqueror worm knows
the library at Alexandria
self-destructive habits know
an empty tube of spermicidal jelly knows
the temperature of the air in a Siberian prison cell knows
a neutron in an oxygen atom in
the ozone layer knows
the volume of Niagara Falls knows
the last centimeter of the distance between
this page and Alpha Centauri knows
nothing matters across all time and space
nothingness
knows nothing matters
nothingness knows most
nothing matters

though a case can be made
made every day
that something matters
though the proofs don’t overwhelm

if something matters
only if something matters
Mahatma Gandhi is better than a rock

–Tony Quagliano