Harvard Molecular Biologists

Harvard Molecular Biologists

Harvard molecular biologists on a big budget

In the most popular course on campus

Encourage chefs of elitist restaurants to use

Unbelievably expensive tools of physics to

Transform raw eggs into a high-tech, soft-boiled

Version of your mother’s breakfast, chorizo into a

White powdery enzyme which melts in your mouth

 

Not in your hand helping you envision lunch at a

Really swank Mexican restaurant with former

Presidente Vincente Fox while a rat’s ass worth

Of people scavenge and dumpster dive for anything

Almost edible or exquisitely, sufficiently ripe for the

Picking in garbage dumps around the world.  Last week

Our daughter stopped by with our granddaughter.

 

We’re seasonal so didn’t have Harvard educated

Toys available, so Zoe Dahlia got plain, old plastic

Plates and bowls and cups with which to play.

They were a super-technological version of her great

Grandmothers’ wooden blocks. We felt so technologic-

Ally, intellectually sophisticated while we ate fried,

Egg sandwiches fresh off the cast-iron skillet.

Free, Free, Free With a Finger in the Face on the Tarmac

Free, Free, Free With a Finger in the Face on the Tarmac

“Free, free, free, thank God Almighty, free

At last,” but the bespectacled, respected J. W. Comer,

Self-made man from a Southern family of self-made men,

At least that’s how the story went, oversaw the post-reconstruction

Rise with the help of a ten-pronged strap on the back of slavery —

Beyond slavery – post reconstruction laws making it a felony for a freed,

Former slave who stole a piglet for dinner, or a piece of fence wood for the

Fire to roast the pig or anything—

 

Didn’t whites in the South ever break any laws?

 

Mouthy, uppity NEEE—GROWS are surged into round ‘em up

Arrests right around harvest time and anytime in the mines and

Factories, rising in the South which was in the process of rising

Again, once again on the backs of Blacks.

 

But the stupid, brutal system based on revenge was using up the

Supply — attrition by death — so incarceration was that much

More important than ever, ever since Scarlett, with the back of her

Hand placed against her forehead, stated in exasperation that she

Would think about all that tomorrow.

 

Then the scholarly, but no less cowardly scaredy-cats in their Ivory

Towers to keep them safe from the mean streets, the sociologists,

Psychologists and all the Social Darwinian- ists pronounced their

Quasi-scientific blessing upon the blatant bias and pronounced the

Incarcerated as sub-human, scary, brutal, black beasts and we all

Locked our car doors giving a faux intellectual veneer and justification

To the repression lived out in dead bodies swinging from

 

Cypress trees, burned to a crisp in a grisly, bonfire re-enactment of Alexander

Pope’s poem about the savory discovery of roast “boef.”  Why?

Because it could be done, was done and is still being done

In some modern, civilized, legislatively legal way in Detroit,

Benton Harbor, Flint, Grand Rapids (May I see your photo I.D., PLEASE?

You duly elected officials may be excused, now and forever.) by those

God-fearing Northerners who look to their punitive, angry, vengeful, hateful,

 

Scaredy-cat Southern brothers and sisters for their next cue.

But, of course, none of this has anything, whatsoever to do with

A shout down of the President of the United States of America in

Those hallowed halls of Congress during a State of the Union

Address, or a shaking, sophomoric head from a new, pouting

Supreme Court Justice or a finger pointing in the half-black face of

The really Cool Man by the really witchy wo-man of the West on

The tarmac or the persistence of the Bible-believing deadly Birthers.

 

“No, nothing at all,” shout the scaredy-cats.  “Don’t yu’all see that

You have a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday?  What more do you

Want?  Aren’t yu’all free, free, free at last?”

 

Oh, yeah, Jimmy Carter sees it for what it is, but, hey, the interest

Rate was 23% during his administration say the dismissive free

Marketers.

A Holy Week Meditation with Monty Python On the Brain

A Holy Week Meditation With Monty Python On the Brain

On the night of his arrest after he had been

Betrayed (Judas Priest!), Jesus gathered the

Disciples together, broke the bread, poured

The wine and said, “Remember what I told

You? Three times, no less already, I told you

That the Son of Man must suffer, die and on

The third day rise from the dead?  Well, I now

Have a more specific schedule to share with

You. On the first Sunday after the first full

Moon following the spring equinox, I’ll see

You right back here in the upper room.  The

Methodists won’t be using it then. Any

Questions? No? Alrighty then.  Waste not, want

Not. Take the bread I gave you and scoop

Up the last of that delicious hummus made by

Martha while Mary watched and rubbed my feet

With something really expensive; bottoms up

On the wine; sorry it’s a little watery; I was in

A hurry, understandably, and let’s head for the

garden after just one more chorus of ‘Always Look

on the Bright Side of Life.’  I  don’t want to be late

For a very important date.” The disciples collective-

Ly, in a rhetorical sort of way, said “What?

We were just beginning to catch on after three

Times to the three-day thing as strange as it sounds.

And speaking of strange, who ever came up with

December 25 as his birth date? Sheesh!” Amazed

At how he spoke with such authority, unlike the

Chief priests, elders and doctors of the law, they

Muttered among themselves, “Do you think he

Has been consulting again with  Melchior, Caspar

And Balthazar On his Blackberry?”

On PBS’s Downton Abbey

On PBS’s Downton Abbey

On PBS’s Downton Abbey in 1919 just after World War I

ended Her Ladyship contracted Spanish Influenza.

Lavinia, Mr. Crowley’s fiancée took a sudden

turn for the worse.  The physician stated, “Strange

disease with sudden, savage changes.”

 

Her Ladyship, after severe bleeding from the nose,

and vomiting blood lay in a pool of sweat.

The physician said that if she made it through the night

she would be alright. Her Ladyship made it; Lavinia didn’t.

 

In 1918, my motherless, thirteen-year-old father sat all alone

watching his father, who had been a captain in the Swedish military but who had

contracted Spanish Influenza from American

soldiers returning home, writhe and sweat and bleed out and not

make it through the night,

 

leaving my father a thirteen-year-old orphan in a strange land.

I never knew what he went through until I, a 67 year-old,

watched Downton Abbey on PBS on a lovely, balmy, winter’s Sunday

night in Phoenix, Arizona. The thirteen-year-old

never told me.

High Intensity Light

High Intensity, Lumen Upon Lumen

High intensity, lumen upon lumen, light

Bounced shadows off the brush in the wash

Moving here and there, in and out, back and forth,

Up and down.  The hiker flinched thinking it was

What the neighbor said, a hundred pound Peccary boar

Boring down, moving through the night,

Circling around, getting in position, ready to attack

From behind and go for the Achilles’ tendon.

The shadows shook and

Quivered with laughter.

Walked, Sort of Stumbled

Walked, Sort of Stumbled

Walked, sort of stumbled, down

Two steps from the kitchen

Into the garage, opened the

Door of the 1987 Audi Sedan

Sat down in the front seat

Turned on the engine, turned

The radio to 90.3, listened

To Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Lark

Ascending” and hoped to go to

Sleep, dozed a Ten High doze,

Awoke, turned off the engine,

Crawled out of the car, stumbled

Into the kitchen, made it to

The bedroom, flopped into bed,

Grabbed what had been her pillow,

Hugged, hugged and hugged, fell asleep.

In the morning

He thought, I guess I’ll have to

Face this.

Turning Away From the Light

Turning Away From the Light

Turning away from the light

Flashing up, down and crosswise through

The brush, shadows flashing

In the reflected light

 

And across the trail,

He called out, “Please lower the flashlight;

There’s a full moon and enough light

To see.”  The light

 

Went out; there was a shuffling

Of feet on the stones and rocks and

The sound of footsteps moving

Down the trail.  When he turned back,

 

He saw only silence.

All the Biblical Golfers Yelled, “Meta-fore!!!”

All the Biblical Golfers Yelled, “Meta-fore!!!”

The horny, biblical golfer’s drive went astray and he cried, “Fore-play!”  or was the fore-play meta-phor-ical?

The question is, how many strokes did it take him to get it in the hole?  Three, seven, twelve, one hundred-forty-four thousand?

The answer is known only to Crazy John, who is reputed to be the first and Onan-ly golfer on the Isle of Patmos to miss

the putt on all one hundred-forty-four thousand tries not to mention the first three, seven and twelve, all being very important, symbolically.

Exhausted after such an effort, he shouted to the heavens, “Come, Lord Jesus!” fell into a deep sleep for twenty

some years and awoke as an old, Dutch guy in upper-state New York with a long white beard who looked a lot like most Americans’ metaphorical

image of God that they like to take literally and talk about the old man upstairs.  He arose and Rip-ped a 300 yarder in a Wink-le, hopped in his

Van and headed straight to New York City shouting “Fore, fore, fore,” all the way home. Somewhere in the New Jersey distance, a voice was heard shouting,

“Play ball!” Giants were there, but the Saints failed to show. However, Rip and the Seven Sleepers, Christians all, were now awake and cheering in the upper deck along with the

many Muslim mono-theists from Sura Al-Kahf. It was an interfaith game.

The Blonde in the Always Black or White

The Blonde in the Always Black or White

The blonde in the always black or white, at least midsize, mostly huge Beemer SUV pulls out in front (of me), turns right, apparently without giving it a thought as

she adjusts the rear view mirror to check her—make-up, teeth, hair, eye-liner, lashes, whatever related to her head.

Then a really big Detroit truck rams, zooms, flies, rips, past (me again) on the left. “Fools to the left of me, jokers to the right and I’m stuck here in the middle with” myself, blood-pressure rising.

We ride our classic chromium and molybdenum (chromoly for short) Reynold’s 531 “steel’s the real deal” tubing, all Campagnolo (Campy for short) equipped Batavuses ( short for Made in Holland) bi-cycles

through the back roads of downtown Phoenix on a slightly chilly Sunday morning in mid-winter while, I’m sure, Blondie and Macho-man snooze universes apart in bed together.

After the pint-sized preacher with the strawberry toupee, not unlike Robert Redford’s dyed locks, preaches his heart out and flat-out nails the texts about the love of Jesus and how much St. Paul loves the Philippians and how he,

soon to be retired, loves us and his wedded partner and how they want to travel until as he says, “None of us gets out of here alive” to much appreciative laughter. It’s his penultimate goodbye message and I’m wondering what he is going to

do for the ultimate. A dog barks on the outside aisle and the signer’s Doberman perks those perfectly pointed ears. We go to Communion.  I watch the lame, the halt, the wounded, crippled, abused, slim, pudgy, down-right obese,

buxomy man turned woman, little kids, buff guys, two queens with identical toups hold hands, two tall gals with really cute butts seen from behind reach and touch each other on those sweet heart shapes with tender taps, then move

to the center aisle, cup their hands in reverence and move forward. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” I sing harmonic bass to a well-known hymn and stop half way through the last verse because

I’m crying.

Sitting in a Condo in Phoenix, Arizona

Sitting in a Condo in Phoenix, Arizona

Sitting in a condo in Phoenix, Arizona

watching the Waste Management TPC (whatever that means)

Tournament, in a condo, which broke off from Conrad

awhile back and is, in reality, a little short of prime but

better than choice. Phil hit a drive that stopped just short of

the green and settled into the rough.  Sheesh, Phil.

 

Someone sits in a condo in Phoenix, Arizona

watching the Waste Management TPC (He knows what that means)

Tournament.  He has a really nice condo, which didn’t break off from

anything or anyone but which cost in the one percent.

 

Two guys watch a pro in iridescent yellow pants

tossing future memorabilia into the stands while they

wait for Phil now in deep shadows to make just one

more birdie to make it into the weekend so they can both have

the thrill of watching Phil, the Thrill, and the

guy with the iridescent yellow pants when they

 

all wear green because the CEO of Waste Management (kind of conjures

up images of city dumps and stuff not particularly appropriate to top flight pro

golf tournament, but, hey, you take what you can get to keep the

the thing going) wants everyone watching to know how environmentally

 

friendly his company is. Phil marches, humbly, through the tunnel,

smiling sheepishly while the crowd at sixteen is screaming bloody murder

in the sunset as Phil sets up and pulls out a pitching wedge for a hundred-

eighty some yards that he really has to kill and puts it four feet from the pin.

Then Yellow Pants puts it four feet from the pin; then Black Shirt puts

it four feet from the pin and the whole rowdy crowd

 

goes bonkers in the deep shadows. Phil buries it. Black Shirt gets booed. Yellow Pants

watches it roll around the edge of the cup and hears a collective sigh from the shadows.

Wait a minute; the guy in the one percent condo isn’t watching his 64-inch, high-definition,

plasma T.V.  He’s in a corporate box right above the sixteenth tee sitting quietly and calmly

while everyone outside the corporate boxes bellow like Banchees. The Ninety-nine

percenter turns to his wife and

 

asks, “Dear, would you like another glass of the exquisitely dry, citrus-y Pinot Grigio in the

beautiful, black box?”