Wise Words with Bruce Wise


 

The Cambrian Brain Explosion
          by W. S. “Eel” Bericuda

Its eyes are cam’ra-like, its nervous system is complex;
its brain is large; its camouflage is quick; its shape can flex:
Are octopuses aliens from other planetoids,
33,000 protein-coding genes in genome droids?
From nautilus to cuttlefish and squid, has its form come?
Is this the Cambrian Explosion into Kingdom Come?
Has it arrived from distant, future, evolution strains?
Did cryopreserved eggs arrive on Earth from outer Space?
It’s plausible? Some “scientists” believe this could be true,
at least the 33 whose brains exploded with this view.

W. S. “Eel” Bericuda is a poet of sea life and cosmic biodiversity. The reference above is to an article, “Cause of the Cambrian Explosion—Terrestrial or Cosmic?” in the journal, Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Hmmm. Does anyone “out” there believe that Earth is “in” the cosmos, id est, that we could be the aliens, as Jonathan Swift suggested in “Gulliver’s Travels”:

“After much debate, they concluded unanimously, that I was only relplum scalcath, which is interpreted literally lusus naturae, a determination exactly agreeable to the modern philosophy of Europe, whose professors, disdaining the old evasion of occult causes, whereby the followers of Aristotle endeavoured in vain to disguise their ignorance, have invented this wonderful solution of all difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge.”

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Tom Wolfe (1931-2018)
          by Usa W. Celebride

He sailed New-Journalism’s boat into Postmodern’s gulf—
the urban-mannered, social anthropologist Tom Wolfe,
who turned chic pop into flamboyant, boyish, cheeky check,
“shotgun baroque,” as Epstein wrote, rococo hit-the-deck!
He deemed that Hunter Thompson was the Mark Twain of his time?
that pyrotechnic, catch-phrase artist of the flash sublime!
No Hamlet he! though strange indeed! in his cream-coloured suits!
who till the end refused to use computers! no reboots!
Bonfire jovial and trendy neochatterer,
who’d write the bright stuff when he chronicled America.

Usa W. Celebride is a poet of American literature. What he liked about Tom Wolfe’s writing was how he’d try to recreate a scene from three points of view, his subject’s, his own, and others. like me and you, and put it in to one paragraph. He would like his own docupoems and occupoems to do the same thing, to be engaging and immediate, entertaining and informative.

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The Common Person Speaks
          by Bic Ewel, “Erased”
          in memory of Emily

I’m not nobody. No, it seems, I am somebody else.
In fact, it looks like I’m a bunch of other people’s selves.
It seems as if I live around the globe while still at home,
and even that, at times, I can be found in lines in tomes.
And on-line too. You too it seems. How strange this World is.
How can it be that we two are in questions on a quiz?
Don’t tell the Dastards of the Universe. Then they would know.
And they would want to do their best to bury us in snow.
This on-line bog we live within would drown us with its noise,
and we would find ourselves in fame without our peace and poise.

Bic Ewel, “Erased” is a poet of the unknown netizens.

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Traffic Havoc in Jakarta
          by Budi Eas Celewr
          “I’m wanted at the traffic-jam. They’re saving me a seat.”
              —Leonard Cohen, “Boogie Street”

The novelist Seno Gumira Ajidarma wrote
Jakartans spend a decade of their lives in traffic’s choke.
Each day 3.5 million souls commute into its mess;
in cars and cycles they sit stuck in gridlock’s dense arrest.
Of all the cities in the World, Jakarta may be worst,
with Istanbul and Mexico competing for the curse.
They’re chased by Surabaya, Petersburg, Moscow, and Rome;
Bangkok, Guadalajara, Buenos Aires—in the zone.
Some days Jakarta’s roads appear, like giant parking lots,
lines chock-a-block with vehicles, a mass tied up in knots.

Budi Eas Celewr is a poet of Indonesia, who embraces sastra koran (newspaper literature). One of his favourite candies of the moment is Indonesian-made Gin-Gins, with the chill, old Mr. Ginger Root sprawled on his back. Seno Gumira Ajidarma, mentioned in the poem, is an Indonesian writer born in Boston, Massachusetts.

A stanza Budi Eas Celewr likes from Indonesian literature comes from the poem by Sanusi Pane, “Do’a” (Prayer):

Bikin gua, Masinis mulia,
Jadi sekerup dalam masinmu,
Yang menjalankan kapal dunia,
Ke pelabuhan sama ratamu.

(Make me, Great Engineer,
a cog in your machine,
which takes the World’s Ship
to your rest’s harbour.)

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A Jolly Ijala
          by Welard Icubese

I’m like the guinea fowl; my legs are thin, like palm leaf ribs.
Its body’s heavy on this hunter’s shoulders hung like dribs.
If you would go to Owu, do not laugh at antelopes;
to catch them leaping would be one of life’s most happy hopes.
I tried to shoot a guinea fowl, but only hit dead leaf;
I tried to shoot a wild pig, but hit a dead palm tree.
I tried to shoot an antelope, but all that I could hit
was an ant hill; its saw-like horns, leaped far and fast from it.
The pigmy hippo lives along the river in wet muds;
it has a hoe inside its mouth; but that is just its tusk.
I have a bird. I am the child of the ogan palm.
My leaves say ganke-ganke, kankan-kankan when they fall.
I soon will rest, I, Asunwe, the son of Asipa,
and end this hunting song, ijala, with a can of pop.

Welard Icubese is a poet of Nigeria, from whence this ijala, with slight variations, comes from. One of his favourite Nigerian writers is the loquacious parrot: Olatubosun Oladapo.

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Iran Nude [Sic] Deal
          by Delir Ecwabeus

This week, the President withdrew from the Iran nuke deal;
because he thought it wasn’t working well, he didn’t feel;
despite John Kerry’s shadow-diplomatic, strong affirms;
and speeches by Obama and his crew to save its terms.
We know that Xi Jinping and Putin would not pay to play,
nor Merkel, Macron, or Prime Minister Teresa May.

Of course, Iranian administrators are quite mad;
and they’d like to get back at the US for being bad;
so Foreign Minister spokesman Ansari threatened to
reveal all the Westerners bribed just to bring it through.
So numerous on-line reports now threaten to expose
those crony minions of the Emperor who has no clothes.

Delir Ecwabeus is a poet of Iran. He wonders at the troika between Rouhani, Putin and Erdoğan, who don’t much like each other, and have different geo-global goals.

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On Heroes
          by War di Belecuse
          “πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν/ ἡρώων”
              —Homer, The Iliad

There is an awful lot of talk about heroes today,
from General Petraeus to the dying John MacCain.
The latter’s father and grandfather had been famous once,
but he became more famous for his service since Nam’s nonce.
He made his first mark when he crashed in Corpus Christie Bay,
and later when he hit some power lines in southern Spain.
But it’s the fifth plane crash that brought him fame from Vietnam,
if not from those with him in Hanoi Hilton’s torture chambre;
for there as POW one wonders what he said,
which needed to be classified before it could be read.
Then later he became an Arizona senator,
associated with the S & L disaster dirt;
but he was not convicted then of doing anything,
no scandal pressed upon him, and he never had to sing.
He was a strong supporter of America in war:
Iraq, Sudan and Syria, Somalia, and more.
But he himself was not without support from other men,
like General Petraeus, who would not betray his friend,
the general with combat medals—Where was it he fought?
his fellow officers could not remember, or forgot,
the same guy who turned notebooks over to one he seduced:
How could that be a felony, uncharged and him set loose?
But anyway it isn’t they who seem heroic, nor
the recent Presidents elected—Trump, Obama, more.
It’s the brave men and women at fame’s faint periphery,
who overworked and overlooked keep us alive and free.

War di Belecuse is a poet of war.

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In Zion, in the Land of Death
          by Israel W. Ebecud
          “By the waters of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.”
בְּ֜זזָכְרֵ֗נוּ אֶת־צִיּֽוֹן: עַֽל־נַֽהֲר֨וֹת | בָּבֶ֗ל שָׁ֣ם יָ֖שַׁבְנוּ גַּם־בָּכִ֑ינו
              —Psalm 137, Verse 1, Jeremiah

Some 40,000 Palestinians protesting at
th’ Israeli-Gazan border, prepping for a mob attack,
with stones, bombs, burning kites and tires, charged the IDF,
themselves prepared with bullets, tears gas, and a fierce defense.
Hamas forged forward with its mob, the Nakba is their hell;
they can’t accept creation of the state of Israel.
Back then, 70 years ago, in 1948,
the tensions too were sky-high, war-like in the land of hate.
So 60 useless deaths today in the mad tempestry;
while in Jerusalem, the US set its embassy,
where some 3,000 years ago King David made it be
the capital of Israel and Judah—Zion See.
King Solomon, his son, constructed the first Temple Mount,
but Babylonians destroyed it in a fearsome rout,
exiling all the Jews who lived within the city walls,
the agony unbearable, the start of many squalls.
King Cyrus, then, of Persia, let the Jews return back home
to build another Temple till the Greeks destroyed that one.
The Maccabees revolted, but the Romans crushed them all,
King Herod’s renovation and the Jewish hearth and hall.
Jews were exiled from Aelia Capitolina
up through the reign of Christian Emperor named Constantine.
When Muslims came, nonMuslims weren’t accorded any rights,
but when Crusaders came, between their bloody, vicious fights,
new synagogues and churches were constructed on the site,
until the Mamlukes conquered them and banished them from sight.
Next up, the Ottomans marched in and put restrictions on
the Jews and Christians who dared live in old Jerusalem.
But Jews continued streaming back; by 1863,
within Jerusalem they now were the majority.
But after World War I came, and the Ottoman collapse,
Lord Balfour claimed a Jewish homeland in its aftermath;
though he’d not let the shofar blow or Temple-reading scrolls,
enraged, some Muslims killed some Jews, Grim Reaper filled his rolls.
Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab forces next;
its synagogues destroyed and all Jews living there were hexed.
But in the Six Days War, Israelis captured Zion back,
and made Jerusalem their capital despite attack.
Who can unroll this centuries-long war from end to end?
Nobody can because it goes on for millennia.

Israel W. Berecud is a poet of Israel.

 

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