Career, community, Learning, Purpose

Showing Up for Public Research

Frank Morrison A Student

One of the many benefits of working in higher education is easy access to learning opportunities. On any given day, a dozen activities show up on the calendar. Anyone on campus, and usually community folks too, can drop in on brown bags, seminars, conferences, performances, or dissertation defenses. Cost and distance are taken care of, so the only limiting factors are motivation and time.

I don’t take nearly as much advantage of this abundance as I could, but does this surprise anyone? I’m guessing others out there don’t read poetry or clock enough hours of sleep, both of which gratify a tired soul. As often as not, we fail to act as champions of our own happiness. Sometimes laziness leads the charge. Halfheartedly, of course.

Continue reading “Showing Up for Public Research”

Growing Up, Things I Can

51. Things I Can Rearrange: The Parts that Remain

What they learned is that the jellyfish heal themselves by swimming. As a wounded jellyfish struggles to move through the water with its remaining limbs, its muscles contract and relax. This movement creates forces that push on the body’s elastic, jelly-like material, reshaping it until the limbs are once again evenly spaced.

– Nell Greenfield Boyce, National Public Radio, June 15, 2015

She began by cursing
the one who was sitting closest
when the ache came bristling up
like bull thistle invading the raw acre
of her name,
deaf to the suggestion
that correlation is insufficient grounds
for blame. It hurt
to move.

A doctor then
coached her in probing
the thorny soil
with her arms wrapped in sackcloth
and her feet dangling
several inches above
the earth. Digging stripped the music
from her fingers.

A quest then
beguiled her to scale
a cliff abrading with every grip
that gained her purchase
and she maybe saw the promised petroglyph
or was it northern lights
before the trail slipped off
the map. Blisters boiled over
each of the five senses
leaving scars.

A clan then
promised her walls to place
eyes and the bones behind them, to wake
to a face she’d recognize
anywhere so long as where falls within
the proper dimension. She splintered
her teeth
on the doorframe.

A child then
a fight then
a task then
a loss then
it hurt to move

Alchemy then
whispered the sorcery
of conversion and she listened and called it
work, animating metaphor and
fusing symbol to object
until the fetal wings she was sure were the source
of the ache finally split
wide her scapulae and unfurled

Lifting an eddy of sloughed skin,
pollen and fallen leaf
before slumping then
going limp.
It hurts to be

exactly this.

A turning then
lurches her
into the shape left by the pain
which happens to be the only one of her
that remains
happens to be all
she is.

What we learn is that the wounded heal themselves
by moving.

In this broken skin
we walk
eventually.

Love

What Floor Miss

Conflicting reports from the annual meeting of the International Society of Astrophysicists point to a schism over explanations for several recent anomalies in terrestrial cycles. The majority opinion, presented in an official statement from the Society’s board earlier this week, is that a slight bump in the lunar atmosphere has brought on a stretching of the orbital band, as it may be called. This variation is presented as a simple matter of a correction for the expansion of the universe since the Big Bang, the pace of which is popularly considered invariable but is understood in physical and astronomical sciences to be anything but. Hiccups in other portions of the galaxy are recorded several times a year and there is reason to believe these exceptions are very well the norm.  Continue reading “What Floor Miss”

Love, Poetry

Happy 100 Days: 48

The observer effect
has us drawing a bead
on a thing no longer
where it was
no longer even where it is
because we ask
too much
about the mechanics
of its motion
and try to hold it still
while we examine
the connective tissue
of the thing no longer
connected
because we ask too much
of love
as if it could be both light
and velocity
showing us the way
while also ferrying
the you and me
out of our forever
dissolving membranes and over
the threshold
as if we would not get lost
as if we could both stop
to gaze in wonder
and race past
ourselves
at the same time