DECLASSIFIED: Vestigial Structures

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Click here to read the original poem.

Life can make a person feel dreadfully small.

The very act of realizing that your body is a number of well-refined subsystems acting in accordance with one another is just one of them, and one I find myself drawn to every so often.

So I may be, in essence, a machine but how finely-tuned? How well-oiled?

I function, with some minor hiccups here and there. But I’m only human, and humankind is not evolution’s crowning achievement.

Evolution is not necessarily “survival of the fittest.” Evolution is throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. It is a game of inches; it’s about finding the rules of survival and bending them into a pretzel. It’s about how heavily you can game the system.

Humans have some kinks to work out, for sure. Our minds are powerful and flexible, but there are vestiges of bygone eras long since past encoded in the way we organize ourselves (I.E. tribalism), and process the world.

No human alive NEEDS their tonsils or their tailbones. But they also don’t impede the way we go about or business enough to be dealt with by the drip, drip, drip of natural selection.

But we have what we’ve got, regardless of our ability to use it.

This is what inspired me to write Vestigial Structures. Those bits of me left over from when I definitely wasn’t human.

The Vampire Squid From Hell

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Hell’s ninth circle,

Cocytus,

was very different from the previous eight-

marked by eternal darkness,

freezing cold,

and pervasive lonesomeness.

Denied contact,

denied comfort,

denied death,

all within are peers,

with Earth’s

worst-of-the-worst,

as even the Devil himself

shares this fate.

In the ocean,

in depths so great,

not even light reaches,

lives Vampyroteuthis Infernalis:

Vampire Squid From Hell.

Black Sheep of the family

Vampyroteuthis’ environment

Demands no siphon,

Demands no camouflage,

Demands no color,

but, nevertheless, they make due,

and use the familiar deception,

to get by.

Bright blue,

pulsing photophores,

at the top of its head,

and tips of its tentacles

bring light,

to its dreary life,

and dissuade the monsters,

lurking in the shadows,

from attack.

It wraps,

its tentacles around its body,

exposing the bristles underneath,

to keep more brave beasts at bay.

But when it’s in real trouble,

it squirts ink,

thick and glary,

alive with dazling bacteria,

and closes the glowing “eyes”

on top of its head,

to foster the misconception,

it has gotten away.

The Vampire Squid,

cares little for your perception,

because what’s in a name?

It uses the hand it’s dealt,

and finds its daily bread,

by any means necessary.

You’d be Surprised

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At the open-air bazaar of ideas hangs

A smog of apocrypha,

So thick,

You could bottle it,

For any one eager and gullible enough,

To buy.

Yet filtering the miasma,

Of misinformation,

For its kernels of truth,

Shows how easy it is,

For certainty to be crowded-out

by lies.

It covers your face,

With thick soot,

The smell lingers

And stains your clothes-

The gasses

will burn your eyes.

But just because the truth is scarce,

Does not mean it’s not worth the trouble,

Of uncovering-

Keep your hazmat suit handy,

And your goggles on.

Prospecting is a hard days work,

For little pay,

But, nevertheless,

You will find it enriching

If you see it through.

Ransomware

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With one careless,

Errant click,

The line I cast,

With which to phish,

Had gotten a bite.

I seemed to be his boss “Theresa”

But with an “e,”

At the end.

He completed his normal routine,

Without another thought,

Input his username,

Password,

Then hit “send,”

And when I felt the time right,

I reeled him in.

His company put all their eggs in this one basket,

So I took liberty,

To scramble them.

For a small fee,

I will unencrypt,

What they so graciously

Gave me,

At my own discretion.

Phishing is not a contact sport,

It is not fraught with danger,

You can lounge in your robe,

And not move from where you sit,

Still,

I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart.

What webs we weave,

When we practice to deceive,

But at least there’s some money in it.

Northern Life

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Lapland has it’s ups and downs,

as static as it might seem.

Friendly people and bitter cold,

a lonely taiga with polar wildlife, plenty of fish to eat,

also the sun sometimes shines through midnight.

You take the bad with the good,

because even the blackest night,

filled with every far-away,

twinkling,

long-dead star,

can erupt with sudden energy.

Swirls of shimmering turquoise,

undulating orange ribbons,

crashing waves of purple,

meet swinging arcs of neon green,

all before disappearing,

like steam blown away from a cup of tea.

Ribbons of light,

electrify,

the air,

while pristine snow,

about your feet,

grounds you,

like white space on a canvas.

You take the good with the bad here,

just so long as you can witness all of it.

Planned Obsolescence

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You can put lipstick on a pig,

but at the end of the day,

the shade may just go out of style,

because of controversey

over animal-testing.

I’m telling you this,

on perhaps the most important invention

of our time,

using architecture and infrastructure,

built by brilliant minds

and billions of tax dollars-

that is being sold back to you monthly,

bundled with cable TV and a landline,

that serve as expensive

background noise,

A smartphone accomplishes all of this,

Just don’t let it shatter, bend or explode.

Cars these days,

are safer than ever before,

because fender-benders,

smash their plastic bumpers,

spiderweb-crack their Plexiglas,

and collapse their every crumple zone,

like an empty tissue box,

to be thrown in the trash,

and left out on the curb every Tuesday.

It’s very hard

To practice what you preach,

When screaming,

“Waste not want not,”

While standing at the summit,

Of your own personal

massive garbage heap.

The Inhibitionist’s Lament

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Sara is all wrapped-up,

In her happy place,

her humble living space.

The novel,

on her night table,

Has dust on it’s near-mint jacket.

Her desk,

Has an eclectic collection,

of clutter,

tchotchkes,

trash,

and unfinished business.

The floor is adorned,

with the finest once-worn

clothes, yet, under her bed,

was where she hid the rest of her mess.

She spent her time in warmth and comfort,

Pushing away remnants of waste and excess,

To the back of her mind,

and the last uncovered corners,

of her room.

“Tomorrow,”

she said yesterday,

“I should have to bite the bullet and pick this stuff up,”

It’s 2:18 P.M.

and she has not yet left bed.

But this is the life of the inhibitionist,

Spend your life covering your problems,

Until they become too hard to deal with.

“If at once you don’t succeed,

Recede,

Recede,

Recede.”