Reverberation of the Genome

Composition XVIII in three parts, Theo van Doesburg

“And so the new thinking now within the scientific community about the way genes and environment interact is more like a piano with our genes as the keyboard, if you will, and the environment as the hands of the pianist. You could play Bach or you could play improvisational jazz—it’s the same keyboard, it’s the same DNA but the environmental messages have changed.”   – Sandra Steingraber

I. The Symbiosis in Diego Rivera

Out of suffering wants and calm core
of the exquisite instrument of cells,
what lives within the human resonates,
buoyant on gravity, in the rock of day
long into night that unfolds over eons,
in layers thick with final insinuations
of human shoulders and their clashes.
After pre-industrial ambition quickened,
it returned to the ground of its making
to extract raw materials and buried fuels.
It’s underneath now, migrating with 2-day
clouds of passenger pigeons that shut down
the sky dark with their bodies flying over
through breath, in the firmament of air,
eating berries and worms, for seed-mind
reaching out in daylight that awakened
the cells, with solar resonance giving shape
to winds that circulate before communicating
through veins. So we’ve carried our weight
through blood-borne matter which the day
engenders, transporting all of it into night.
Where the mind has been an emanation
of symbiosis, competing to survive grows old,
redefining us as we speak. Microorganisms
are an ocean everywhere what we were given
stands, as present labors transport us
to the past-peopled ground floors in time.

II. As the Sun Soars Over Rodin’s Towering Human Figures

Bees following their maps lightly touch
the origin and then return to hives
through the invisibility of air,
where the molecular wilds are burning
with electricity, the apparatus of beauty
in the genome wheeling open in sync
with the overhead stars, however much
of the past or future we might be forgetting,
with the route home planted within
cells of our muscles and bones.
The project of hives is to keep the genome
reaching, interconnecting destinies
of species, where egg-splitting detonations
of fossil thunders achieve critical mass,
when new generations imprint on the world
as they grow up, assuming what they see
is only natural, while childhood
communion bypasses the mind,
sinking rudimentary choruses of belief
into spots where the story concerns
what stays or must go, whether you’d like
a little more future on the plate
with your present or believe mercy cultures
ought to take care of everyone
or the sun at the center of waking
in the solar system ought to be enough
to show where we are and forgive us.

III. In Schoenberg Mind

Every second passes almost
instantly into nothing
we’ll see again, though we’ll recall
what happened to strike us
or connect us with more of the whole,
or what’s fit into a frame developed
and harnessed by central mind
along with two-handed neon clocks
and restoration lofts for the half-classified
high-rise museum of central intelligence.
And yet each second is presence
impossible to measure without activating
large numbers of flora and fauna
with whole systems of elemental support
connected to sources of rivers
and women working the conveyor,
kids forced to crawl down into diamond
mines, chickens mulling around
the barnyard in June overflowing
with mystery where consciousness is
practicing before it performs. Each second
an ethical chance buoys up being here,
present in a working nervous system
with integrative comprehension,
a supersensory emanation of waking
and sleeping outside the frame,
while the collaborating cells specialize
on parts of the philharmonic whole.

IV. Blue Fin in the Seas of Hemingway

So we have a blue-finned
chance and slow light
with gold of the horse’s mane
streaking across the fire door,
heavenly payloads of Friday
with holes opened in being
present, where the petroleum
engines explode, running
chief ruminations off as fast
as possible in whitewashed
conference rooms at high noon.
No one could envision the Earth
without the many incomparable
flights of birds, without tactics
of jays or intelligence of the cells
which is beautiful and urgent,
expressed in design of the body
transformed by consciousness
lifted on wings of the sciences.
Deny this, then we welcome you
to the current-day dark ages.
If they’re viewed in fast forward,
the plants can be seen deciding
which way to grow, as they appear
to be moving like stringy animals,
as if a further day now calls us
for so much that lives inside us
under the blue fin in the spine,
and so much that surrounds us
alive where the brain was designed
by systems of cells to be university
of the body, to invent the mind
as representative of the cells
not only so we’ll hear sticks
cracking but the morning raga.