Gershon Hepner
Gershon Hepner

Vertical and horizontal, both can kill

Verticality will often kill
collaboration, but when horizontal
the spirit is allowed to spread and spill
by fraternizing freely, being plainly frontal.

Horizontality is lethal when
we breathe air it’s silently polluting.
Collaborating horizontally, men
in careless cities kill while in their cars commuting.

The bottom line for all of us is to
let in the light, for us to see the sky,
of which we’re all entitled to a view,
whether standing or upon our backs we lie,

just as the Deuteronomist explains:
“Remember God both walking and in bed.”
The sight of light can free us of the chains
of gloom and darkness from a heavy earthbound head.

Gershon Hepner


Christopher Hawthorne (“A Model for Fresh Thinking,” LA Times, April 27, 2008)

writes about a building by Rafael Viñoly at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) which achieves in a vertical manner what Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute in La Jolla achieves with a horizontal design. Viñoly believes that verticality tends to kill scientific collaboration, and created a building

that is cumulatively three times as wide in the air than where it meets the ground, ensuring that the scientists working at CNSI will bump into one another just as they do at Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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