Tuesday, November 21

Chapter 48:

Three Poems Written By Josh Durring His Poetry Class Which He Did Not Submit
On Reading

Once more I begin to turn the pages
Of a friend kept high upon a shelf
Where he expectantly waits to be taken down
And read, re-read, and comfort
Or else release emotion pent up
Until patiently realizing them through words

Fantastic pictures, sounds, scents, tastes – only words
Gently and masterfully crafted upon pages
Worlds take flight; with them, my soul rises up
Above the heights of chair, table, shelf –
Into the stratosphere and beyond, or with comfort
Of ocean’s depths, I will go down.

Down into battles I am plunged, down
Into solitary islands: the only voice is my own words,
Plunged into tragedy where there seems no comfort,
Then up again into life’s joys and triumphs in history’s pages
With those whose lives refuse to stay upon a shelf,
Then up into joy and hope; to Paradise, to Heaven – Up!

Until the heights of human knowledge reached – up
Higher we can not go, so we must plunge headfirst down
To depths of humanity far below the ocean’s lowest shelf
Yet, in merely a breath, these words
Can vanish – can remove entire worlds – can empty pages
To bring us back into reality’s everyday comfort

And yet our lives are not of comfort
But of struggle towards hope which builds us up,
Of endless textbook pages,
Of sorrow which drowns – until once again we plunge down
Into another life and place and time of only words
By simply reading books from off their shelf

I often feel much like a book upon his shelf –
Endlessly waiting for my worlds within to comfort
Another and endear them to myself through words
To take their soul in mine and lift them up
If they will only pick and take me down
And begin to read the stories within my pages

But time now draws when I must place these pages I write upon a shelf
Until they are taken down by another, and these words comfort
And uplift their souls and imaginations by my own written life of words.

April, 2004

The snake wound its way through the crowd
Black it was from head to toe
Three hundred tassels moving in the morning breeze
As Pomp and Circumstance blared in glorious midi
I was a part of the tail
My mortarboard cap trying to take flight:
To flap and soar above the crowded faces before its time
Friends and family sporting cameras
Flash the stage over and over again
Just in case someone knows the graduate
And yet the music goes on
Repeating itself as the snake passes
Across the outdoor stage
Shaking hands with the President
(Who didn’t know any of them)
Ws though best friends
The speaker ground out a message
Trying to make it sound fresh as the first time it was given
During the Nixon administration
But was like offering a bowl of soggy oatmeal
After a Turkey Dinner

Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future – October 2006

What if you could become a savant for a few minutes?
The proliferation of oddball animals offers a showcase
Long term biological affects of climate change
Einstein was a kind of physics hippie
Billions of neurons undergo a synchronous one-second burst
Of non-REM electrical activity
1,000 times a night
Geneticists recently hit on a way to convert any normal cell
Into an immortal stem cell, capable of both living forever and morphing
Complicated gear trains that gave away the machine’s purpose
Showing how technically advanced the Greeks were
The first computer

NASA’s greatest spacecraft
Hover over the battered surface of Mercury
Linger over the rolling face of the sun
Night and day, rain or shine
Every drill and every mission reinforce
That character always lends to success
The latest in dark matter, dark energy, and the end of the universe
Science could help solve

Every part of your body receives relaxation and support
Stress can be confronted by replacing hormones
But in today’s stress-filled world, those systems are not nearly enough

“Soon I’ll be fed up with reality” Einstein wrote in 1921
Is science crashing against the limits of knowledge?
Monkey Matchmakers
Orangutans are smarter than Chimpanzees
Countries with high toxoplasmosis are neurotic
The cat-borne parasite could be causing mass personality change
HDTV breeding an even less intelligent, less scientific culture than we already have
Our music has lost its variety blamed on the tools we use to make the music
The brain isn’t building, but rather downsizing

Einstein’s triumphs were guided not by strange new experiments
Monitoring the brains of locust while it watched scenes from Star Wars
But by logic
In today’s stress-filled world, those systems are not enough

Is science crashing tot he limits?
Smashing icons is never a popular business
Science will eventually reach its limits
“Religion might start to appeal to people again”
Withdrawal symptoms may occur
“I don’t, however, think that people will or should turn to religion”
Meanwhile I commune with Einstein and do what I can to follow
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists,
Not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings”
Einstein’s faith leaves no place for a literal heaven
Belief in beautiful, orderly scientific theories
I have faith – yes, that word again –
You should notice distractions fading softly into the background
Current events might prove otherwise

Micro-focus X-ray machine built around the mystery object
Revealed ancient inscriptions
“If you don’t have blocks, books or CD cases work nicely”

Strange math may explain why time keeps on slipping into the future
Flesh-ripping kangaroos
The world’s next continent
Miniature Tyrannosaurs
You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud
1,000 times a night
Although the noise reduction will be subtle
With one kilobyte of memory
A bare-breasted woman adorns the reverse side
Using its Electronic Mail system
Its low resolution inviting active interpretation from its viewers
Monitoring the brain of locust while it watches Star Wars
It will make a 3-D version available to the public
Adding that dental infections were a leading cause of death
You will experience a new level of audio quality that’s even closer to a live performance

It requires little space and fits just about anywhere
It installs in less than a minute
And folds away neatly into a compact travel bag
On wheels like a piece of airline luggage
Fits into most trunks
Combining thousands of real life images and voices of native speakers
Even in a garage or basement
It balances blood sugar, and repairs bad back and shoulders
If you are suffering from stiff joints
In 23 percent of the drug sessions
The study monitors judged who was tripping and who wasn’t
Night or day, rain or shine
You won’t even notice it’s strapped to your wrist

Be sure you have at least eight hours to devote to sleep before activity
Side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, drowsiness and dizziness
Feel the instant effects
The End of Science
Withdrawal symptoms may occur

(All text in this poem taken from the October issue of Discover magazine)


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