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Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

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Ecoepic Part I.
The Evolution of Tumorous Times

(excerpts)

In the beginning
13 ± 2 billion years ago
Before creation
Before the start of any race
There was a nothingness, a void
A vacuum full of time
And curvature of empty space
Mass was negative
And traveled faster
Than the speed of light
If there was any
And numbers were only imaginary

Then, on Day One . . . .

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Earth's vapors cooled
Dark clouds drooled
Moon and rain provided rhythm
Primordial soups bestirred by tides
The hope of life abiding within them
Simple elements in the first three rows
Ionized and radicalized by radiation
Formed increasingly complex structures
Heteroatomic combinations
Carboxyl and amino groups
Stereospecific methylenes
Phosphorylribosyl purines and pyrimidines
Diffusing colliding condensing contriving
The ternary secrets of self-replication

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Amphipathic fatty acids
Spontaneously coalesced
Into semipermeable microspheres
Sequestering proteins and DNA
This went on for a billion years
Then near the end of the Second Day
A germ of life appeared

That dubious progenitor
Divided multiplied swam and crawled
Differentiated, discovered sex
Simple organisms evolved
In which each cell suppressed its self
Its ego subsumed by that of the whole
A cooperative community
One body one soul one mind one will
Seeking its fill, defying the laws of entropy
Filtering sifting mutating drifting
Lifting up out of the sea.

And that was Day Three . . . .

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And on Day Four
The gods thought all was good

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Whole biomes slithered up and down
The longitudes at less than snail speed
Breathing in phase with the changing albedo
As glaciers advanced and receded

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. . . . .
Making Day Five a difficult time
For anything to grow

Meanwhile
Eons of sunlight had been converted
To photosynthetic fossil fuels
Huge reserves of free energy
Hidden away like family jewels
In the basements of antiquity
Deep in subterranean pools
Waiting for a gifted species
To discover and learn to use


At last on Day Six
Emerged homo sapiens
Endowed with much advantage
With clever thumbs we beat our drums
Elaborated thoughts and language . . .

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We joined together for the hunt
Domesticated fowl and cattle
Cultivated grain and fruit
Gave the horse a saddle
A stirrup a halter a harness a bit
A wagon a plow a buggy to pull
We tanned hides combed cotton
Wove wool

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We specialized, industrialized
All resources were assailed
Men in white coats hypothesized
Science and technology prevailed
Antibiotics insecticides
Internal combustion engines
Subatomic electricity
Satellite communications

We were so smart we understood all
But that about which we dared not think:
The nature of that mysterious force
That draws our species toward the brink

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Many people perceived the danger
And tried their best to publicize
Yet institutions were slow to change
Collectively we seemed paralyzed

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Virgin forests almost depleted
Lumber was needed for second homes
Wrap-around decks, pressure-treated
With cupric arsenate and hexavalent chrome

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That pain in your chest
That lump on your breast
Is it malignant or benign?
CANCER
The name of a tropic
Or an astrological sign


Under which
A single cell becomes confused
By a molecule never before seen
An impostor a synthetic ruse
That slithers into the space between
Opposing faces of DNA bases
Causing a frame shift point mutation
De-repressing the ego gene
Triggering unchecked replication

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Oh how I yearn for humorous rhymes
Or that Jesus would return from heaven
With a miracle for these tumorous times
Dear God it’s been too long Day Seven.



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