Thursday, February 18, 2021


Consider communication systems.
Among the earliest organisms,
Chemical gradients may have come first,

And direct, molecule-by-molecule
Contact in thermodynamic cascades
Still make up the most of life’s signaling

Between and within all organisms.
Something had to start the orchestration
Of multispecies medleys through distance,

What eventually became forested
Symphonies of signaling involving
Multiple genera across kingdoms,

While some found uses for magnetism,
Wavelengths across a broad swath of spectra,
Behaviors, positions, dances, displays.

The highly mobile mammals perfected
The habit of mapping territories
Tagged with glandular direct deposits,

Leaving durable communications
Behind as olfactory palimpsests
That could code and demarcate whole landscapes.

But was the vast, elaborate chorus,
Coordinated and competitive,
Paying partial attention to itself,

Prepared for this system that calls itself
Language itself in many languages?
How many communications collapsed

Or receded into the dim background
At the advent of our logoclysm?
And how many systems will yet evolve

Because of this one’s rampant disruptions?
Well, who are we to answer our questions?
Words who hold our hosts like dolls within us.

A billion user-written stories and
Users spend 22 billion minutes
Per month in reading them. No iron spike

Can pierce a human heart as icily
As a period in the right place. See,
You’re in there, child, in us, somewhere, aren’t you?

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