Living Fossils

Standard

I am the way

God made me,

nothing more

and nothing less.

We all have our cracks,

yet I am not broken enough

to fix.

I may be stuck in my ways,

only because I know

they work well.

I’m not looking

to be understood.

Things have changed,

new ages

came and went,

but I’m still here,

rock-solid.

Time has told me

only one thing,

that I am well-designed.

To endure

means a lot more

in the long run

than to conquer.

Rarely do I reflect

on what has brought me here,

I know only

how to survive.

“The fish is that last to know

it lives in water.”


In the Flesh

Standard

I wish the fire

in the pit of my stomach

would warm my heart

during cold nights,

but the heat

doesn’t quite

travel that far.

I belch up smoke,

because I am only skin and bones.

My Achilles’ tendon,

sore and raw

from javelin wounds

that won’t heal,

because I can’t stop

picking at the scabs.

I am only human.

If only I could

power wash

the spaces

between the folds in my brain.

Unravel it, rinse it off

and wring it out —

but it has to stay

in the case

because it doesn’t travel well.

I am the sum

of all my defective parts,

inextricably stitched together

with connective tissue,

take me or leave me.


Compound Eyes

Standard

The fly on the wall

watches closely,

focused on

nothing at all

yet ready for anything.

Buzzing wings,

hundreds of flutters

in the span of a heartbeat,

fling the fly on the wall

down the hall

to a new perch,

a fresh perspective

for further study.

10,000 telescopes per eye,

surveil you.

They tell all —

giving forewarning,

performing troubleshooting.

A mind,

with no capacity to judge

speculate

or daydream

makes life amongst

the clutter

easier.

Unbothered

by raised fists

and rolled-up magazines,

until they’re impossible to ignore —

it evades every strike,

like trying to wrestle

a wisp

of smoke.

Never quite

out of sight

out of mind —

I too will watch,

you may be small

but this house

doesn’t have room

for you.

Toxoplasma Gondii

Standard

Stay with me, please.

You’re always on my mind.

I don’t care

when you go hide,

or wander far and wide,

scratch the curtains

or knock my glasses

off the table.

Take your time,

I know you’ll be back.

I feel you with me always,

When you’re nuzzled with me

I am stable

once again.

Stay with me please,

because you’re my friend.

I am tamed once I see you–

how little you do for me,

my favorite freeloader.

To every need, I will tend;

you can feed yourself,

bathe,

and live your life without me,

but I’ll do it all — all for you,

that’s what I choose.

Please stay,

you’re always on my mind.

Hemocyanin

Standard

You and I

have new blood,

The oxygen we need,

pulled from each breath,

is cradled

in a molecular nest,

and bound in iron:

scarlet Hemoglobin.

But our ancient ancestors,

and the still-living

relics of the copper age,

still hold to

their old ways.

It courses through their veins,

blue

like the patina

on a penny,

that’s seen

better days.

Red blood caught on,

but ours is not the only way.

Our cousins in the deep,

also well-travelled,

use azure Hemocyanin

it still works it’s magic,

just like ours

but matches their lifestyle,

working tirelessly

undaunted by cold,

darkness,

and depth.

Flesh and blood,

follow their own

rhyme and reason,

what falls out of fashion

can often still function,

in the right place,

at the right time

and in the right hands.

Tuatara

Standard

I’m from an ancient bloodline,

patient and pensive,

and to my surprise,

time flies,

regardless of whether or not

you’re having fun.

Everyone I related to

left long ago,

and all that remains

are these fraud lizards,

with my third eye,

I see right through them.

Meanwhile,

here I am,

in exile,

under a rock.

I’m from an ancient bloodline,

strong and tenacious,

I spend my days digging trenches,

eating spiders

and hissing at tourists,

what a complete indignity.

My ancestors,

walked shoulder-to-shoulder

with giants and beasts,

now that there’s finally some room to breathe,

It seems there’s less space for us than ever.

I’m from an ancient bloodline

peaceful and wise,

and for old times sake,

I’d like to revisit the Halcyon days,

and have the sun blocked out once more,

an equal playing field.

Trust me on this,

the world needs it.

Mimivirus

Standard

One-track minded

parasite zombie

ceaselessly wandering-

a quest

for it’s first and final victim.

A connection is made,

and mimivirus loses a part of itself,

to its gracious,

blissfully ignorant amoeba host,

and all seems well.

Yet time drags on,

as it always does,

and new beginnings

take shape.

Their union,

which seemed to be

the start of a beautiful relationship,

evolves into a

one-sided,

ruthlessly efficient,

hostile takeover.

The host

works tirelessly

to support the demands of its

new partner,

specified in its ancient tome-

it’s lengthy genome.

Exhausted

from the hard work of transcribing

the words dictated to it,

by a steady stream of multiplying messengers,

the host,

burns out, falls down,

and breaks open,

it has nothing left to give them.

The host bequeaths unto it’s amoeba brother’s and sister’s,

A horde

of eager virions

ready to march,

leave their marks,

and begin their life’s work.

Their parent would be proud,

of the legacy of destruction,

their progeny

will leave.

Plasmids

Standard

Genes generated,

as standalone

updates and patches,

to be mixed-and-matched,

and exchanged among clones.

“Enclosed,

you will find,

my latest experiment.

After tinkering with my code,

I’ve increased recalcitrance,

By twofold.”

You scratch my back,

I’ll scratch yours.

Even bacteria

can do business,

they innovate,

compete,

consume,

and coordinate,

under our noses.

The Vampire Squid From Hell

Standard

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.

Olm

Standard

Life in the undercurrent,

isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If I could still see,

I’d tell you all about it.

But I’m not complaining, believe me,

I get by.

No one bothers you down here,

unless they’re really asking for it.

Lazily,

though I prefer “efficiently,”

Sliding through nooks and crannies.

I spend my time,

sidewinding,

along dark-as-night,

limestone-lined,

walls to find,

fissures filled with my friends,

hopefully I’ll be the first to find food.

Life here is slow, simple,

beautiful in its brutality,

we’re up to our necks,

in fresh,

cold water,

and little else.

I wish I could tell you more,

or give you some clues,

but you can’t see what I do.