Tuesday, March 25, 2008

FLESH, WOOD ARE BREATH: raw material for poems?

majestic but not static,
churned by thunderstorm and succession

aloof beasts inside bark?
bark merges with soil, bugs.
roots embraced by delicate fungal mycelia
roots embraced by mushroom toungues

I can sit in a tree
waving with the wind
I can see through the leaves
leaves that flutter and tinkle in the wind
make papery windchime music

trees grow
embodying the shapes of the years, months, and days
sun pulling leaves and buds round the sky trek
sculpted by wind into shapes that fit my body
echo the shapes of hills i can see through her branches

i use my whole body to climb a tree like sex
like sex, the tree is responding, only slower
ants live on it
it's growing.

leaves are formed
are born
in the tiniest, quietest little factories: the bud tips
and unfurl.
and the leaves are veined
and the veins are veined and the texture goes in deeper and deeper

When they are exhausted they go through this tiring out process,
drying out process
each cell like the leaves themselves going away into breath, one by one
and dying, molecule by molecule
they leave behind subtle colors and textures
subtle shades of red yellow brown
gifts fallen to ground
of intricate carving and texture
more beautiful and more comforting
than any manmade gimcrack
forgotten in the trash.

(but leaves are not forgotten...)

this dying out process unfolds the complexity out of which these leaves were made

Tree buds, those thousands of wood shedding...
Tree buds, weaving their way upwards towards the sun...
Tree buds, opening and closing with the seasons,
fluttering through the centuries like green butterflies through the woods
Calling their children to follow them generation after generation
leaving behind a woven trail of strong wooden branches as memory
shed dresses left behind

When tree buds have travelled so high,
When bracket fungi and beetle have chewed their woven mountain hollow,
When buds die of drought,
no strong rivers left to flow through them into hot sunlit days,
Or when lightning strikes their home,
releasing their woodwork back into breath it was pulled from...

But they know this.
They grow anther and ovum
They mate to mix their mother's and father's pasts
They fling gemlike pollen, those heirloom capsules of old stories,
into the wind.
or hang them out to catch flight on woolen bee's thighs
send them forth to find fertile ova
incite her to grow into a far fearing seed boat
marvel of ribosome machinery
able to entice sun, soil, and breath
into a whirlpool of biochemical square dances.

not born in factories
each leaf
a swarm of brilliant green little ones
like Chlamydomonas, single celled marvel of ponds
daughters splitting themselves into more daughters like siamese twins
splitting, then huddling together in tree celebration

how do leaf cells grow?
the shapes
the timing
the textures
not strictly repetitive
not wholy determined
cells are creative!

trees do not build with repetitive bricks and rectangles as we do
a tree grows with moistness and any random flux from life
can alight in the moistness
and nudge it, all the nudges carving form into tree
a living complex clay that can be sculpted by surprise

cells grow at each other's boundaries
shape each other as they grow
with pliable woven walls
standardization not required!

if they don't all end up being identical packable polyhedra, it's all right. it fits.
living creatures are ways of fitting non identical shapes together.

but if subject to surprise,
open to the whims of weather
how do sycamore leaves, eyebrows, babies' hands
fall into forms at all?
out of a vast blobby space of all possible form
life falls into specific form
no mere amorphous haze of protoplasm.
how does she do it?

with their long legacy of chemical crafstmanship
craft of sculpting with atoms
they maintain discrete forms out of the vast blobby space of all possible forms.

strung like beads on streams of Sun to Void flowing
they drive each other to speciation
but arriving at distinct forms
fixed for long periods of time
and we do not live in the nightmare haze
of a vast continuum of blobby green plasm
covering the face of the Earth.

The young spring leaves glow bright yellow green in the morning sun.
Glow and glisten in their suppleness,
matching the suppleness and softness of my lips
kissing my lover's soft shoulders.
They glow like her eyes.
Leaves have hairs like the downy hairs of her belly,
and texture of veins
sprouting yet more veins
sprouting yet more veins themselves.

Leaves and I obviously come from the same family!
both grown by cells within us,
these wonderful cells who are already living creatures.
we are creatures of creatures
relationships made of relationships

whiplash Chlamydomonas algae and tentacled Choanoflagelate
ancestor to sycamore and us
watch 'em in a drop of pond water
you see they are brother and sister.
at root sharing the same life qualities, capabilities.
only minor differences
that get played out only when each kind joins into huge multicellular lives

What are the miraculous qualities
these cells share
that they can grow woman and sycamore sprig in quiet sensual wombs?

they are molecular dances
they are fluid
able to act and sculpt with surprise
masters of maintaining the forms handed down by their ancestors
desiring food, shunning pain
being linked to each other in ecological cycles
having earthy geology and weather patterns and cycles of year, month,
and day embodied in them
they are playful, inventive, dynamic, they fight hard!
they have strong lust for sex with each other
in order to play with new combinations of heredity
and at the same time to help maintain the hereditary integrity of their species.
Then again, sexual reproduction can drive speciation

These are very sophisticated acts requiring very highly evolved and
sophisticated molecular machinery, molecular dances that cells have
evolved over the millions of generations of exploration. These

cells, are tiny,
but even as single cells they are richly textured,
having as many moving parts and active agents
as does all of New York City!
And they come together in millions, billions,
to sculpt from the inside our living bodies
with veins and cillia and hairs and limbs and joints and nerves and vessels and layers and cavities.

And the networks, meshworks, webworks of molecular fibers
that they weave betwen themselves makes us tough and supple,
giving the joy of climbing a tree waving in a strong wind
or touching my bare body to my lover's bare body,
supple, rippling soft firm tough muscular.
fibers which can imbibe water into their networks to make flesh.

We are built with water!
leaves and people are three quaters water
How wonderful!
Human architects use wood, rock metal paper or plastic
but never water.
How to envision architecture with water?

We are these meshworks
of living cells, molecular fibers, lipid membrane bags filled with water.
The lipid membranes themselves fluid films
that hold together because they repell and won't mix with the
water inside them or outside them.
Not only are we made of fluids and fibers,
but the fluids and fibers themselves are in continual flux.

Bodies of cells filled with water
which is not the stale stagnant water that sits in closed sacks,
but water that is in continual flow
from rain to river to soil to plants to people to breath to air to clouds and again to rain.
The water in us does not just sit IN us
but Flows through us.
We are tributaries
of this great gushing swrling of water round and round this Earth.

And the water is exhaled with each breath.
And The sacs of lipid membranes
are not just stagnant films of oil on water,
the molecules of fat continually flow in and out of metabolism
to be exhaled as a breath of carbon dioxide.
And the tough protein fibers and muscles are linked together by nitrogen
that also flows through metabolism out the piss as urea into living fermenting soil,
because our fibers are not fixed
but are in a continual state of assembly and disassembly
as our living bodies respond and rearange to the flow of life around ourselves.
But the fermenting molding tangle
of soil fungi and bacteria
exhale urea back into nitrogen gas to the air.

And the vapor of the breath goes back to the swirl of clouds
and the carbon dioxide of the breath is inhaled by plants
and linked into their cellulose fibers to make wood
and the nitrogen from the breath of soil bacteria
is lassoed, hard fighting molecule that it is,
by select tribes of nitro fixing bacteria in the roots of plants
to be linked back into protein for us to eat.

90% of what we are, all of us on earth is water and carbon dioxide and nitrogen, all breath!
we are not solid at all,
in how many short weeks will what percent of me become air again?

We are just momentary coming together places of breath.
Not things,
more like temporary aquaintances between characters in a long epic narrative.
Our flesh is like a song sung with the breath.
It is ephemeral.

But our forms are not.
Our forms are passed down from generation to generation
like songs or stories.
The forms of species last on the average of two to ten million years
Some stories, like that of the horse shoe crabs has been handed down from generation to generation
through fourty million tellings and has not been lost! And the
distinct form of the undulating whiplash fiber in the tail of all plant
and animal sperm has been handed down from cell to cell, individual to
individual, even from species to species as they evolve, I don't know
how many billions of times. Handed down precisely! We've carried it
with us for at least a billion years on this journey. Every living
creature on this planet, more than 10 million of them, from redwood
tree to single celled dinoflagelate, forms his sperm tails with the
same exact pattern.

And if Darth Vader with his death star came to vaporize the Earth with all life on it, would the stories be lost? No! Those same cells who learned to swim and explore and mutate and create have been creating yet, and have learned to fly, and build, and.. we've even learned to leave the Earth, to explore new planets, such is the creativity and tenacity of life.

No comments: