On Germination

Of his younger sister’s (Wilhemien) literary work—a piece on plants and rain—Vincent van Gogh wrote:

 You can see yourself that in nature many flowers are trampled underfoot, frozen or scorched, and for that matter not every grain of corn returns to the soil after ripening to germinate and grow into a blade of corn – indeed, that by far the greatest number of grains of corn do not develop fully but end up at the mill – isn’t this so? To compare human beings with grains of corn, now – in every human being who is healthy and natural there is a germinating force, just as there is in a grain of corn. And so natural life is germination. What the germinating force is to the grain, love is to us.

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What the germinating force is to the grain, love is to us. I was thinking about germinating forces earlier this morning, as I peered into the brittle head—still bulging with seed—of this sunflower. Here, stubbornly anchored to the ground, you can see the force of which van Gogh wrote. The floret has gone to seed—either clinging to the disc, taken by the sparrow, or fallen to the ground (where, perhaps, taken by the goose), in which case it may end there, in some animalia digestive system. (Which is what happened this past spring at Franklin Farm, when the seeds were not buried deeply enough, and the birds, big and small, gobbled up the grain.)

On the other hand, should the seed make its way safely underground, we may see the sunflower, reincarnate, late summer next year. Overground, germinant, gold and giving.

What love is to us. Yes.

The Bad Wife

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Pleased as punch (sparkly and spiked) to announce that my essay, The Bad Wife, was recently published at PANK Magazine. A short excerpt: “The Husband lies prostrate on a gurney, his bladder drained by a jaundiced tube. A long, thin needle through which CO2 will surge is inserted into his belly button and his freshly shaved midsection soon inflates like molten glass to three times its ordinary mass. This is called insufflation of the peritoneal cavity. Black lines are drawn crisscross along the corporeal mass, preserving only a rectangular swath of skin bordering the umbilicus—an emerging grid plan that looks like Midtown Manhattan, Central Park at its core. The flesh below the Husband’s belly button is punctured several times with sharp-tipped hollow trocars that are drilled by hand through layers of epidermis and fat, like an auger through ice, carving out five clammy burrows…” Read more here at PANK.

Brief Periods of Weightlessness

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Beating down against the tarmac, the rocket’s engine propels the airship into the Mojave Desert’s sky, spaceward. Made for monied tourists, it shoots upward, because Alaska’s ice mountains, remote wilderness and bending time is not enough. Enough might be this: six figures for a skip through space, a brief period of weightlessness.

On the other side of the Pacific, in Macau—long known for its drug trafficking—casino stocks are falling. Falling, falling, falling. Yet the American run Macau gambling enterprise expands as wealthy Chinese businessmen hide in foxholes while other powers put on the squeeze. Hide and seek. Like cats and mice only we don’t know who is who. They’ve been mixing cocktails together for a coon’s age.

Not far from the Americas’ Mothership of gaming, two test pilots man the rocket, or plane, or whatever it is—an amalgam of both—in the Mojave. Aeronauts ride first—point men for the outer-atmosphere tourists. A tweet tells the world they are airborne. Minutes later, the desert floor is sprinkled with metal scrap. A dead pilot still strapped to his seat.

Five years of rapid growth—fueled by none other than Las Vegas financiers—lands Macau a dubious award: world’s largest gambling center.  Shadowy characters haul in the high rollers, extend credit and collect the debt. Some of the rollers never return, their chips down.

The cost of doing business:  “in-flight-anomolies,” explosions, thugs, drugs, profiteering. Is life so bleak and sobering that our best alternative, our only option, awaits in the bosom of an interstellar bubble? Because this is where we are headed, isn’t it? Until then, we’ll take the succor of hyper-oxygenated casinos. Staying here for any length of time, though, is a gamble. A game of chance, and the stakes are, you might say, skyrocketing. How long can we accommodate ourselves? How long can we bear ourselves? So perhaps the other last frontier: the stars, the moons and the planets with their own ices and gases—or better, an exoplanet in the potentially habitable Goldilocks Zone, twenty light-years from Earth—aren’t such a long shot after all.

Gravity—an invisible force of attraction—is what keeps us tethered to earth. And the pressure of this gravity, all the bodies exerting their force upon other bodies, upon the Earth, is what scares us most, what keeps us moving away from it. Who knows when it will happen, this sudden and imminent planetary collapse, the liquidation of humankind.

An ideal space would be one in which we are tethered to nothing and nothing is tethered to us. Where matter does not matter. Where the physical world does not constrain. Cloud nine would be perfect.

To be unweighted, unfettered, light as a leaf.

The more remote the body the less the gravity.

Go faster, go higher, not west! I wonder what we will do when we reach the next unspoiled frontier. What will we do without gravity?