Sonnet: Knowledge of the Precipice, a Fable for Our Time


We start the journey and think nothing of how long.
We know where we’re going. We studied the map.
We reckoned on troubles, promised to be strong,
We agreed that complaining is itself mishap.

But we didn’t count on the whorls of light
Which our science doesn’t yet understand,
That never by force can we make it go right
Since the way curves also on the other hand

And destinies ebb faster than we think.
You look down suddenly, it’s the edge —
Some way across? No way back. On the brink
You discover the gravity of knowledge:

You know that alone you must bind up the fear
That beggars your mind as the fact looms near.

Sonnet: Against Pseudodoxy

What you don’t know you know you need to know.
Those who laugh and call it gibberish miss the mark.
They assume your language is nothing but show
When it’s your anguish trying to free your heart

From the barbs and hooks of the grinning tyrant
Extorting life from you with gibberish for real:
“Worship my god and believe in my cant …
You’ll go to heaven — it’s a helluva deal!”

Eons ago on boiling ocean floors
From minerals and chemicals life evolved
And rose to complexity which even now soars
To seek answers to questions only solved

Refusing pseudodoxy to cooperate
Before what we don’t know we know we know too late.

Neuroandum #5

Brain Hemispheres

When you look at your body what do you see?
You see two of everything everywhere.
Wherever it could nature deposited two.
Philosophy has long been mistaken:
One is nothing unless divided — think two.

Next, think brain. Just take a minute or two.
Like Gaia herself, two conjoining hemispheres
Cooperate in opera no one composes
Other than Nature, impatient of one
In all she does — she feels two are sweeter.

The work is divided, as much work should be,
So a work of love flourish from a love of work
Our bodies evolved to perform at will
If will and body only embrace
Like lovers who give not merely receive.

Sharing and shearing the same parent share
(Even as my line shears the caesura’s share),
And let our pride swell as much as it will,
Like a stroke crippling the brain, it can only end
In a solitary lesion’s emptiness.

Divided in two the brain is itself
And can begin to finish its life’s work,
Assembling the mind from neuronal charges
Distributed alike in all but, in each,
Reciprocal uniquely with time and space,

No two brains deprived of the law of two,
Which is difference for all, even for twins,
Who cannot be connected unless apart,
The mystery of belonging by longing to be
A part together together apart

Where separation empowers union —
As sexes couple to forget themselves
The better to remember the bodies they bear —
So hemispheres of cells billions in number
Chemically coordinate feeling and thought

Until mind emerges conscious of self,
Conscious, then, too, of the selves of others,
Each desiring the real of recognition
Which affirms you are apart but not alone,
Each of you bound alike in freedom’s thrall

To live and die responsible for yourself
Just because you are not alone, most of all
When you boil with envy, greed, and hatred,
For then you belong to the other, their thing,
Proving the power they have taken from you.

You must instead like your brain live divided
(Beware the snake oil of what you want to hear,
It will melt your mind), so your self will come
To challenge yourself by the glass of death:
What is worth having if it is not worth living?



Neuroandum #4


There are no substances in language, only differences.

Ferdinand de Saussure

Our bodies evolved in a web of things.
These things precede us and define us.

Every denial is a myth appropriate
To power only, to deny freedom to all.

Each must freely resign a freedom
To a sign that each can carry in joy and peace —

All else is tyranny imposing its will.
Power hates and fears any human accord

Responding to things that preceded us
With care and concern for the planet’s life,

Without which our life is just another
Species vanishing in habitat loss,

Such islands as remain savaged by greed
In frenzies of murdering evolving bodies —

Remember: the thermonuclear device
Can vaporize life all over the planet.

The mind that devised that hideous end
Alone can cure the horror conceived.

It has to admit the brain its mother
(MATERpia, arachnoid, and dura)

Swathing the cortical folds with her quilts,
So that it can soar to the stars and back.

But the mind must come back — this is the call
It is death to refuse, the duty to stand

Before the real and acknowledge its name,
Which is not your own nor ever will be,

But another’s, who is different from you,
Yet claims from you what you want from all:

Recognition of the need to love yourself
In a life you didn’t choose but die in anyway.

Neuroandum #3



Click here to read the legend for the diagram of the synapse above


For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand;
Why should you fall into so deep an O?

Romeo & Juliet 3.3.90-1

The gift of gap is little understood.
Commonly people ridicule science
That corroborates life’s dependence on clefts.

But try to get through a day without filling
Or emptying holes — do a few of these
You’ll soon be in sorry shape … and stink;

A few more and you’ll also likely die.
Your pride may not like it but you’re nothing
Without the cavities that wound your body.

Of these the synapse is the most enlightening
(Coming in second is Juliet’s O
Although Nurse Capulet would disagree);

The synapse is the gap that measures “is,”
The “copula” we call it, the verb “to be,”
Which gives meaning to mammals copulating,

Though, like most animals, we hardly care
When the rut is upon us and estrus constant
In our female hominid, “for better or worse” —

Why should you fall into so deep an O?
Indeed. The poet asks the salient question
For which even the synapse has no answer

Other than instinct utterly mindless.
But the brain, enormous in size and energy,
Can imagine a life beyond the rut. Listen.

In that 200-micron(μm) gift of gap
Connections multiply into trillions —
Pay attention, please: trillions, as in stars.

Earth-evolved chemicals flow across the gaps
Transmitting charges over those trillions,
The charges of life that fire into mind,

Where they precipitate the being of thought
And, so, the thought of being, which is freedom,
Born in the instant the brain knows its mind

And ineradicable in our species
Regardless of color, culture, or sex —
Abolish freedom, abolish it all.

The brain proposes the mind to itself
To negotiate the gaps nature cleaves
In tissues that burn to cleave together

In a body of parts that must be apart
To be a part of the animal that imparts
The play of love that tyranny hates

Since in its language, also full of holes,
It exposes the plague on all our houses —
Why should we fail in so deep an O?

Neuroandum #1

No one can hear the awakening voice
As it calls to the silence for recognition.
Only time will tell if the summons is answered
And the mind emerges stronger for it.
The depths are hollow, but walls of energy
Resound with music terrifyingly sweet,
As if death were a portal and not the end,
A fissure through which worlds unimagined
Beckon to pleasure unendurable
By any life comprehensible to us,
A paradise our fancies could never invent,
No gods of ours on the corners picking fights.
Down, down plummet the walls, ionic webs
And exotic slime coating the surface,
Composing the music in bursts of novelty
Faster than the changes of nightmare faces
Mutating to challenge sanity’s drama,
Provoking the voice to pitches unheard
But never inaudible if it survives
The ever accelerating upward down,
Curious gravity of songs so new
They alter the past the moment they’re heard
And deliver to the present now, at last,
A present feeling can be grateful for
And celebrate the enfranchisements of,
If the voice remind it how much it costs
To descend into flesh in search of thought
Flesh can engender but never survive
Since the mind is a fiction the brain discharges
To defend itself against its finitude.

Neuroandum #2


Coincidence engenders fears
Men and women try to deflect,
Building bibles to serve as biers,
While hoping they’re somehow elect.

This doesn’t work, their protests show.
The twisted faces and clenched fists
Only prove that they do not know
How is why anything exists —

Remove the means and death ensues.
Power has always understood
That if they have no means to use,
People can never reach the good.

In agony as power struts,
People must live in starving brains,
Their children yet more blasted guts
Sacrificed to tyranny’s reigns,

Which justify their endless hate,
Exploitation, and savage greed
With stories only they create,
Lest coincidence plant its seed

And people learn their deeper skill —
Where there is a way, there’s a will,
And they can flourish united
For the world evil divided
Ignorant how life’s ignited.