Tell me, how can six feet of DNA get wound up inside a nucleus that is measured in microns?
How can so much thread get unspooled without tangling? And how does it get wound up again like a hawser?
- -for Clara
We all know it makes us tremble
We know it can make a person's voice husky
Earthworm, Oh earthworm!
Poor earthworm crawling on the concrete
You are burned by sunrays and can't go back
You came up when dew was in the grass
A song session under a banyan tree begins the day
Girls in moth-wing saris, young men in white tunics
Disperse to cottage-style classrooms in a forest
Students follow after their teachers, learning by ear
Up on the mountain where people keep horses
A thoroughbred took me on a morning walk.
And whenever her head reared in laughter
I wanted to gallop with her through space.
- written after a visit to the Panda Propagation Center in Chengdu
In Mother Nature's gallery when I walk down a corridor of colors
I am dazzled to see white and black appearing on a single creature.
In that district of cow stalls, their haven is a palm-grown promenade.
They return at twilight from their routes, alone or in twos and
Without looking at a dictionary, what do you think of when you see the word 'flinders'?
Besides those floating sparks one sees while stirring a campfire, it makes me think of the glowing remnants of a dream as it dissolves upon waking.
It also makes me think about mental space where thoughts and feelings, by grace or luck, may coalesce into a marvelous formation. Such a formation changes shape, like a cloud in the mind's sky, and eventually scatters. From the hindbrain through all the the concourses of the midbrain, where activities of the sensory and motor cortexes are entrained with memory and emotions---then up through the medial forebrain bundle, and finally up to the cerebral cortex. At each stage a tug of anticipation encourages the cloud-shape to evolve and extend. It is cloud-like, but because it is shaped and drawn by desire, it can be a fiery cloud. It is drawn up a stairway of reward centers until it arrives at a place of abstract contemplation. It is lucky if it can arrive there whole, and even if it does, it cannot float there very long. It arrives only to dissolve, but its flinders will remain awhile, glowing with the remnant energy of wishes that shaped that cloud.
I see a pilgrimage route through the red-dust realm
a sunset over the sphere of desire turning murky;
a lake of fire choking in metabolic by-products;
the vituperative sludge of late petroleum;
Leaves falling in a faint breeze make a slanted line;
They remind me of moments I've had to let go of.
I want to trace them back like climbing stairs
Beckoned by surprises marked in blazing color,