i was driving 65 down the old 66 thinking about the ‘67 sox and their 68th game,
listening to 69 love songs for the 70th time and by track 71 i’d forgotten my name.
see in ‘78 all the plans were drawn up and by ‘79 i was free,
and 65 inches is as tall as i’m gonna get and frankly that’s just fine with me.
Boxes and lines meant to represent time.
Our entire lives fitted onto paper,
written in ink or crossed out when we think
that maybe we’ve made better plans. Oh man,
wouldn’t it be funny if we all found
out it didn’t exist? This was all some
dream or cosmic restlessness? Phantom program
simulating our lives much faster than
real time, or slowing things down so we can
take what our unsimulated selves think
is a much needed break, a temporal
vacation from the real real places we
apparently have the technology
to escape from? Oh calendar, you’re wrong.
I was 29 years old when I invented the first time machine (technically a Nonlinear Molecular Teleportation Matrix, if we’re being scientific). Only one other person knows this, and that’s Christian Jherek. So I suppose it’s entirely possible that someone else had invented a similar device before I did, or even since then, and kept it secret, just as I have. Lied and blemished her own image, made a fool out of herself, told her colleagues she was wrong, delusional, that she had made some critical error in the math, when the truth was that she had willingly changed the numbers by herself, ensuring that the calculations would be incorrect, and thus debunking her own theory, which was also slated to form the foundation of her graduate thesis. Made herself into a fool, publicly and professionally, in some sad attempt to save the life of someone she’d just met. And then by doing so, doomed that very same person to his fate.
Or, maybe that’s just me.
Most of my students don’t realize that “Quantum Physiology” is actually a pun. They either assume it’s a typo, or that’s it’s just some uber-academic-sounding class with no prerequisites that fulfills a science requirement and isn’t full of obnoxiously overeager freshmen. The former group is wrong, anyway. In this particular instance, “quantum” is an adjective, meaning “sudden” or “significant,” which then modifies “physiology,” being the study of organic processes or functions of an organism or organisms. But of course, at the same time “quantum” typically refers to physics, being the fundamental unit of quantized physical magnitude in terms of angular momentum, and also the smallest quantity of radiant energy. And so the course is actually focused on the study of significant and / or sudden organic processes, as viewed specifically through the lens of quantum mechanics. For example, there’s a part of the curriculum dedicated to cancer. Not dedicated like, “in honor of” — although I guess that, too — but like an academic concentration on cancer, and the mechanical physics and unbalanced chemical equations that can cause a tumor to form. It’s not about the physical tumor, so much as it’s about the quantum-level behaviors that lead to a certain atomic malfunction which in turn causes to replicate some small but crucial piece of cellular information which then continues to replicate itself ad infinitum until it causes permanent and often ultimately critical damage to the physical body of which it is a larger part.
Basically, it’s the study of the organism as a machine, how math and physics relate to and affect the typical functions of a living thing. So, it’s a pun. Get it?
1. Pushing you in front of the oncoming train. Accidents happen, but this wasn’t one of them.
2. Letting your goldfish die. Lola never did anything to deserve that.
3. Taking the interesting sections of the newspaper in the morning before you woke up.
4. Buying the O.J. with the pulp, even though you hate pulp. I like pulp.
5. Slamming the door when you yelled. I wouldn’t have if you didn’t yell, you know.
6. The thing at your mom’s. I won’t mention it after this.
7. Not believing as much as you did.
8. Thinking that you’d learned to touch like that on someone else’s skin. Whether you did or not wasn’t worthy of an accusation, because we all have.
9. Imagining myself as the ring around your neck, not the ring around your finger.
Today, a fantasy baseball league I am in held their winter meetings. This was a two and a half hour discussion with people in four time zones and two hemispheres. We figured out the rules and guidelines of our upcoming season. No drafting was done, no trades were made — this was merely discussing the minutiae of mechanics for a league where no one makes any money.
One of the later points of discussion (under the “Enduring Freedoms” category) was opening the idea to holding mainly-sardonic elections for a league hall of fame, honoring the famous baseball players who most amuse us. A few options were thrown out for when we would hold these elections: beginning of the season, during the playoffs, after the championship is decided. (You can see why the meetings lasted so long.) During the chatter, I tossed out, “Why not during the all-star break?” No one has any players to pay attention to, and even if you wanted to watch major league baseball games, you only get one in three days. Plenty of time for frivolous balloting. Everyone agreed that this was a good idea, and we moved on.
Later, when the minutes of the meeting were posted (we have an official league secretary who handles writing up the minutes of all meetings), I flipped through to review the proceedings. In doing so, I noted that, due to a clearly understandable and unsurprising error, one of my fellow L.A.-based video chatters received credit for the all-star break idea. I have spent the past hour having to remind myself that this is not a big deal and that there’s no way to subtly or jokingly point out that it should be corrected without having it come across as passive-aggressive and petty. As soon as I convince myself of this, I only have five or so minutes until the desire to grab credit, demand it, rises up again.
I am writing this to confess how small my thoughts can be. To display the weakness of my spirit for you all to see. And, also, to let you know I deserve credit for this marginal suggestion, something that can barely be called an idea.
This is what I’ve become. Maybe this is what I’ve always been.
To be honest, I don’t think
it’s “navel gazing” anymore.
It’s staring, for one thing –
eyes narrowing at the
blink blink blink
as if it’s going to whelp characters
from the mere act of staring –
willing it to whelp – so you
can finally hit “publish.”
Let her walk
Into the river
Let her feet
Touch the sand
Let her breathe
Like its the ocean
Let her know
The son of man
Let the stars
Trace her fingers
Let their shine
Hold her hand
See her feel
Like she’s the ocean
Let her know
The son of man