Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Molecular Journey to the Ants in the Forest

If dead creatures fall to Earth, to the ground, rotting
who picks up? The Mother?
Luckily, Oak leaf and squirrel are not built
of inert parts, dead dumb building blocks,
but active molecules resting, staying together for awhile
in a chemical embrace.
But down in the wet fallen leaves and twigs it's colder, less sunlight.
So there's energy, yet to pull out of sugars
strong strands of cellulose,
spent fatty membranes of cells.
And the living and dead ones have more story yet to tell the night sky.
So flesh flings apart into simpler existence
sprung apart by living catalysts.
Now fling their birth energy from the sun into night.
Becoming simpler seperate mobile forms,
becoming breath again.

And the catalysts are embeded in,
take the form of living creatures
earthworms probing softly in the night,
with its featureless blind headless head.
white nets spreading accross leaves of fungal fingers
thousands of mites like motes of dust chewing
and the slow eating of pale white grubs.
And the ants.

Ants are funny creatures;
they are one coordinated identity?
Many mouths many mobile catalysts
strength in numbers though and mobile,
help each other perform complex tasks
many colonies to the square yard
in soil in wood in nut shells under all rocks and logs

The strong staight wooden trunk of oak
is the temporary resting place of breath elements
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.
so the beetle larvae eat tunnels through it
and the carpenter ants enlarge them into vast
three dimensional smoothly polished chambers
and the lightning strikes it down to the forest floor
where it moistens, moss grows on it
and wood eating microbes in the bellies of termites
who chew it up finer and finer for them
dissolve it back into breath

All complex stories like the oak
in the face of Night are anxious to return to Night,
to the seperate fleeting existence of breath
their vast networks of macromolecules
want to let go of their charged embrace of each other
and release electron potential through infrared photons
back to Night whence they came back in the beginning.

After the quick beginning of the universe
in the birth burst of the initial singularity event,
the simplest elemental stuff, protons and neutrons
electrons hazily wandering among them
spilled out into space fleeing from each other
they were happiest huddled together
but as the universe expanded
they grew too cold to perfom the act.

Then the strong far reaching arms of gravity
began to pull this chaotic outflinging of sunstuff together
squeezing electrons to higher orbit and out of the way
squeezing nuclei together into higher orbit
and in the seething cauldron of the sun
they were smashed into each other and joined
joined to make the staff of life: carbon
joined to make nitrogen, subtle partner to her
joined to make the burning oxygen
will keep on joining till the end when
happiest, close huddled
into the heavy solid core of iron
in the belly of a planet or cold white dwarf sun,

But meanwhile, the sun shone.
energy of a million atomic bombs
race back to the void that gravity pulled it from
from that dense hot core of cauldron in the sun,
through a pinball game against atom after
rushing atom of sun's seething middle space,
long journey it is, takes a million years
for one single photon of it to
reach the surface of the sun,
to slow it down from a million degrees of heat
and pressure, down to a mere 5700 degrees fahrenheit.
looking yellow to our eyes and feeling
warm on our skin. and then quickly rushes by
and flees to oblivion in the cold dark void,
perhaps never to come back again.

And meanwhile some flees past Earth
and can whip up some ephemeral
stories on the way, keep spinning
for a while a goodly number of plates
the magician balances on poles on his nose
and elbows and one knee, till they eventually
die down and fall.
So for a little while the day, the light
of sun in the day, shining, casts into
electron dances of atoms,
makes them dance more freely
sharing partner nuclei to form
temporary families of atoms
a square dance between 'em. and shapes
and colors and even smells evolve
on the face of the Earth in sunlight.

But on the night side, stuff huddles
facing the dark cold void,
these celebratory electrons pumped with photons of excitement,
these electron families pumped up
with celebration of that initial singular
burst birth event can't hold out
to the night sky which calls that initial event
into the future,so they let go,
settling tighter to each its own nucleus,
and the families of atoms of electron dances seperate
back into simple molecules of breath.

They would like to do this,
but they can't, for they are loaded like a spring
and need help to unlock the catch to let that spring
of energy fling into the night sky.
So enzymes do this but enzymes are delicate, elaborate,
molecules of shape, many excited electonsfull
of huge molecules many reactions away
from the stablest molecules of breath.
So enzymes find themselves homes, build themselves homes
to sheath them in a comfortable soup.
Because being masters of energy play, flexibility of morphing,
they would absorb sunlight, would absorb high dancing
potential of melecular oxygen and flow quickly,
too quickly into the night.
So they build around themselves a mob,
of dancing crowds of dancers,
molecules singing and drinking drunkily in crowds
form a living soup, the busy cell structures.
build those cells into an organism
to save them from harsh air and light.

build more complex and more complex kinds of dancing
and sun flows to void means ultimately
this fierce huge shining sun eventually settles
into a dull spinning sphere of iron core
cold and used up.
but against that flow
flowing to the future which is death,
runs the complexity forming of Earth protoplasm
playin in this flow.

And dances of dances huge overnight parties
of electon dancing between nuclei drunk on light,
form vast extensive square dances, and bucket brigades
of slowing down the fate of speeding photons
from the sun to their eventual doom
to the calling dark cold voids of space,
slow them down to catch their excitement a little while
to help ferment the brew for the party,
to run the machinery of enzyme building, reparing,
a myriad tasks in that frenetic ballroom.
These dances build up the cell.
build up hierarchy to manage all complexity

and cells come together into organisms...

and the work of the night the work of photons fleeing
to cold night is done in the soil,
cool moist soil. There lurk the little creatures
slowly laying out the exhausted parties
and palaces of electron celebration far flinging
from the elaborate nuclii dances
and slowly allow them to slip apart
and settle lower and lower into quieter dances.
let slip out those photons of celebration
onward towards their destiny of oblivion.
These slow blind mole creatures,
digging, chewing, salivating, cuttin up
the constucts of that daytime madness into quiet night

Ants reign supreme here,
vast multimouthed organisms
masters of coordination and seperation,
so many sharp toothed mandibles
so many glands for secretion and communication
how does a colony of ants compare to an earthworm?
Earth worms born way back
from an old family line of mud burrowing sea worms
needs moisture and has only one mouth,
or used to have many wide reaching threads
of filter feeding delicate flowers floating in the ebb and flow
of deep sea waves.
But land, the move to land is difficult,
letting a flower of filter feeding filiments out on land, it would droop,
it would dry out.

in the sea all flowin swirlin past you
and water comes into mud burrows
and you can create currents to flow through your mud burrow
pulling in O2 and flinging out CO2, spent electon stuff.
You can stay moist and boyant so easily.

But land, land was so hard to colonize
and some worms tried, brave souls
that slowly, generation after generation worked their ways
up the mud routes learning from the mistakes of their forbears,
generation after generation
being winnowed by the harshness of the drying sun and wind rushing.
The hot flow of life giving life flinging sunlight
on dry land offers so much opportunity to build sky scrapers
of elaborate complex celebrations
but it's so dry, it's too much.
Delicate operations to piece together complex dances
requires nurturing wombs of water
but how on dry land?

and so the various organisms had to be molded
by abundant exploration and winnowing
to contain tiny earth boats of sea within them,
build thick waxy water repellant cuticle,
build melanized sclerotized cuticle
to absorb life wrecking ultraviolet rays.
Rays to incite atoms to dance together,
but too much, they join more and more
dances tangling into
one single black orgy of tar.

and Oxygen abounded but how to let gills float free
to feel it? Without the boyancy born of water,
they would colapse in on themselves and jam.
So many problems to solve to conquer dry land.

So earthworms stay in their burrows in the drying day.
only have one mouth for eating, and cant travel
too far in search for food, but at night they do.
Why cant Earthworm's be as succssful as ants?

So, insects. Sing to me goddess, do I
know yet enough about insects to tell me why
they alone of the host of the sea can scuttle
accross hot desert sands roasting with heat to
fry a worm or a snail and still survive?
What has made insects ruling beast of dry land?
How did they bring ashore self contained earth boats
of life holding womb nutrients sloshing inside of them?
What makes 'em tick? Hemocoel instead of Ceolum?
Crisp jointed waxed cuticle rather than
up instead of flexible pliable worm cuticle?
Sclerotized exoskeleton with flexible joints?
The existence of a skeleton at all?
What creatures of the sea had skeletons?
Snails and ammonites but it had no flex!
ammonites were creatures that plied the trade of bouancy.
But stiff shell was no match for the pliable spine of the fish.
The arthropods, crustaceans, masters of joints
and clinging to seaweed and clambering over rocks
from pool to pool when the water became stale.
picking off the other sea creatures that rotted away,
scavanging what died in the hot sun.

So the arthropods predisposed to find life
under that hot unforgiving sun

The trachea what fine invention was that?
how did the insect tribe find the right balance,
the right organization of meeting place
between internal blood sea in canals
and life burning air flow into tracheal maze?

And spent enzymes, the loose ends of ammonia
that get cut off in the internal maintenance of the body?
Ammonia is a poison to all creatures
thy must expell it from each cell of their bodies
for small creatures, mother ocean washes it away from them.
washes away spent enzyme ammonia,
washes away carbon dioxide from the breath
carbon dioxide, another poison to the cells.

But if you live on land, ammonia's a problem.
the air that bathes you won't wash it out of cells
besides if it did it also takes with it precious water
water, a dear commodity on land
So you seal your skin with cuticle
and expell ammonia in piss. etc etc..

[do i really need this in this poem?]

so urea requires much extra energy
to concentrate out in vast work of insect kidneys,
the tangled malpighian tubes of internal sea
and deposit it on dry land.

But why cant they just recycle the nitrogen parts
that's a mystery to me. Must be some nitrogen joining reaction
is too dangerous to take place
in the delicate complex house of cards
balance of large hypersea organisms
and must be left to the quick and fleeting
simplified bacteria in the muds and soils

And so the insects prospered on the face of Earth
under the strong dangerous rays of the sun.

But the soil, all dead plants and dead insect bodies
accumulated on it. They dry out.
You got to get them under where it's moist
for bacterial enzymes to work them.
In the sea dead bodies sink down
and a vast and silent benthos of organisms
slowly digests them in perpetual night

But on land they just rain down onto dry soil
and how to you tear em apart and moisten them
so they can begin their journey back to breath?
and let the sunlight resting in high flung bonds
back to the waiting cold dark void at night?

Chew, chew the detritus into tiny bits
needs armies of little jaws and littler jaws
and pull em under the earth to moisten them
and bring them into internal seas to house
delicate enzymes to digest them.

and the rain of litter of dead bugs and plants
and animals and rain of leaves and seeds and wood
is chaotic is messy
is far flung accross the face of the ground
and one methodical organism one mouth
and stomach just can't do it.

Especially in the tropics,
the tropics is trees is a tangled mass of tree branches
and vines and roots and crevices, there just aint time
for one whole organism holding internal digesting
sea in her belly and arteries to canvass that complexity.

See her on a branch: it branches in two ways.
She needs to split herself in half to visit
both paths quickly conserving effort for her tribe
then split herselves in half again, again
and whilst splitting, collecting, eating and exploring she needs
more of herselves to digest the stuff she finds
and brings back to her nestmates
more the herselves to watch for predators
more of herselves to watch for parasitiods
which would like to live inside of her internal seaboat

And now she is, such a multidute of herselves
canvassing that chaotic branching world
she must continuously provide much young
and who will tend them?
More of herselves to tend and protect them
to carry them from crevice to crevice

This is the genesis of the ants.

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