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.

Selections from “Conversations Between Poetry and Physics,” #4

The Romance of Entropy

Everything in the future is a wave, everything in the past is a particle.

Lawrence Bragg 

It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

Søren Kierkegaard

He should not have given the clue to her.
It fits more secrets than she realizes,
And once they’re open there’s no going back,
Cry as you might or thunder as you will.

Our towers never reach heaven, much less god.
They collapse in the dungeons we raise them on,
Pretending our meters are measured perfectly,
Ignoring the terra we romance in.

The higher we soar the further down we plunge,
Oblivious to the rhythm the real exacts —
The copula random, the tunneling blind,
Life unreasonable reason forming

As energy plays with matter and mass
In stellar nurseries beyond our ken
In which we’re kin to quanta uncanny
Which measure the world we miscomprehend …

Order comes after — effect, never cause —
But we in our universe think in reverse,
Desperately hope for what we know is false,
Return to a truth which was never mortal.

But nothing in the past can save our kind.
The past has taught us nothing and never will.
Now for us is the fullness of time. Now —
While you can — live the future you’re dreaming of.

She should not have given the clue to him.
It fits more secrets than he realizes,
And once they’re open there’s no going back …
Only going forward into your life.

Selections from “Conversations Between Poetry and Physics,” #3

What’s the Matter?

 

In the deep-sea vents billions of years ago,
Molecular star-stuff boiled in chemistry
We can comprehend: proton pumps energized
Archaic cellular procreation.

But we are too vain to share beginnings
With matter that does not matter to us
Unless someone like us created it —
No matter what, our image must come first.

So theocrats by fickle forgeries
Murder their kind to praise some deity,
Suppurating endless greed and cruelty
And contempt for the stars they can’t command,

From which they flee in fantasies they fable
Fearful only forgiveness finally matters.

Selections from “Conversations Between Poetry and Physics,” #2

Photons

We never see them. They travel too fast.
Also, they’re massless … of the mysteries
We confront in nature, among the darkest:
Light has no mass — incomprehensible speed
And power to bind the nucleus together,
But no mass as it flows around and in us.

With math we can predict wonders of light,
But see it, never, only its echo
As it reflects from matter — nebulas,
Galaxies, stars, planets, water droplets,
Any of the mass emergencies energy
Curves, shapes, and folds across the universe.

Pause for a moment. You are right now
Sitting in light as light enlightens everything
In you, through you, and all about space-time
Through which you’re hurtling on an orb
You’re privileged to feel is fixed and stable.

But by chance did you check the weather tonight?

And yes, the weather inside you, as well,
Since that is not just a figure of speech,
Any more than the lightning outside
Is just a figure of meteorology,
Though you know it is, computed to limits
Of many decimal places in places
Decimated, too, by phenomena which
Are numbers as much as lightning flashes.

Try to feel the edge between math and mud.

Each is as real as the other, if “real”
Is the word you must use, energy and form
In folds enamoring each the other,
Much the better metaphor of interaction
In nature, sub-atomic and surface alike.

The “real” is always changing, which is why
Humankind cannot bear much reality
But must absorb a new understanding.

The photon serves as its own antiparticle
In waves in which is is equal to does,
Metaphysics answering to physics …
In the light was the beginning. Turbulence,
Not of things but of relationships that measure
Things, enfolding themselves among themselves
For their physics, sustains our perception,
Too slow for the real, to engage the physical
And, curiosity aroused by sense,
Experience metaphors of experiment
Which accelerate the mind to infinity.

Our eyes follow the light all the way down
Toward the absent presence of origin:
The point-non-point of singular intension,
The profusion of masses in waves of light,
The flow of energy to the break of love.

Hold on — careful, not too tight … it explodes.
Let go, but only when light enraptures you.

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Selections from “Conversations Between Poetry and Physics,” #1

The Savage Garden       

… omniparens eadem rerum commune sepulcrum,
ergo terra tibi libatur et aucta rescrescit. …
adsidue quoniam fluere omnia constat.

… the mother of everything [earth is] also the common grave of everything, so you see the earth diminished but also increased and growing anew. …
all things in constant flow.

Lucretius, De rerum natura

Phlogiston used to be the “name” for heat:
Phlogiston in the tree caught fire and burned.
Saturated with phlogiston Gaia
Again, and still, was a passive receptacle,
A container of notions and their properties,
Hot, cold, wet, dry — elements men could feel
And write poems about, mirabile dictu.

But Gaia is no more a box than space-time is
(Which also inspires poems, “wonderful to tell”).

Gaia is energy in the moment
Of matter that does not contain but cycles it
In vibrations that assume temporary shape:
Is from DoesIs no more, but no less, than As.

Energy appears as a tree, fire also
Its potential since the tree’s vibration
Connects carbon and oxygen: excite
The oxygen and the carbon burns —
The two can do a tree, they can do a fire.

Pardon some exposition. The word “carbon”
Derives from a root meaning to “burn”: *ker-.
What’s history got to do with it? you may ask.
I respond, everything, but I must wait
Until another time to write that poem
Since science, history, and poetry
Haven’t yet agreed on where they concur.

For now, they do agree — evidence abounds —
Relationships matter: they “are” all that matters
Perturb the relationship, the tree turns to fire.
Just as simple as that, no phlogiston,
Just oxidation in the tree’s molecules,
Carbon ceding electrons to oxygen.

Imagine a creature slowly bipedal
Down from the trees across the savannah
Searching the quickest way to fruit or flesh.
Any short-cut to sugars seems worth the risk
Since life on Gaia must burn sugars
(A matter of carbon again: carbohydrates),
Even if, in that short-cut, its own sugars
Become nutrients for another predator,
Lions, say, or anopheles mosquitoes
Which set prey afire with malaria.

Is “is” the short-cut men take to being,
To assert things have names, and this is that.
No. This “is” not a “window.” Once it “was”
“The eye of the wind” (vindr auga) — speaking
Improperly, that is (the wind has no eyes);
But this impropriety surprises insight
So true and beautiful, so liberating,
History has preserved it, in the shortest
Of short-cuts, a metaphor, which lets us
Pretend we have a way, a name, to being,
A window on reality, so to speak.

But a short-cut makes a cut, a division.
As with any cut, parts remain left over
(Even as windows cannot show everything).
And what of these parts? Our senses tell us
They do not matter. Listen to our language.
They may not matter to the hungry biped,
But that does not mean they do not matter.
Gaia’s creatures must kill to eat and breed,
Matter consuming matter, without stop.

Matter matters everywhere we harbor;
Wherever we build or raze to the ground,
The carnivore devours the herbivore,
The omnivore, everything … everything.
Short-cuts, yes, but escape, no. Eat and be eaten.

To make Gaia home, this savage garden,
This luscious paradise where all of us die,
Mankind everywhere made a god of IS
(“I am that I am,” one tribe expressed it)
To endow them with the right names and stories
To intercede with being against becoming,
Freeing Gaia from the garden of change,
Refusing to admit that this too “is” change.

Nothing “is” its name. Waves of forces, forces
We hardly dare imagine (we repress them,
Just because we have seen them — Hiroshima
And Bikini Atoll) power through space-time,
And we are desperate to ignore them,
Although no repression is that potent
Since we ourselves are made of the same waves.
We have christened these waves, their names to being
Both revelation and apocalypse …
We believe we “are” who we think we “are.”

We must abandon names that pretend to being.
They can only deceive and betray us,
Versions of phlogiston we dare not trust.
By its name we know nothing, only its place
In the little black book of our affairs
By which we cheat and rob each other blind,
As if I am that I am were my thing,
Without asking what need of me I am has.
We must learn a new lexicon and soon …
The savage garden is changing again,
And it has no use for us, much less phlogiston.
We will disappear as the dinosaurs did,
And Gaia once more will mix her elements
In violent beauty we might have known.
adsidue quoniam fluere omnia constat.