Three Snow-Diffracted Views of The Green Gallery in Milwaukee

 

( 31°F, 17:52)

Even for Wisconsinites, springtime Milwaukee snows don’t make

sense. Cases of Lakefront Brewery are chilled (definitely chilled) tableneath corrugate desking

I listened to a David Bowie biography in the rental car and watched the front

door like I was a private investigator in a bad 1980s spy movie.

I ran across the street, visions of sliding cable vans careening my down

feather clad body into a snowmush yurt’ed up around a No Parking Tow

Away Zone on Ward Ave. I’m so nimble like a

squirrel nimble.

 

( 32° F, 18:08)

Question commerce as if the things we own

are extrapolations of who I wish to be

-come I scroll I page.turn we price.list we finger.scan we red.dot

 

(29 ° F, 18:56)

Think traveling is glamorous keep thinking

wall to wall glass overlooking the Milwaukee river, the smoke

stacks and frozen mall parking decks. No room service but a server will run

your burger and Single Hop up to your room if you order before 22:00. Collect

and view for ourselves the mythology of people who never come home and they be

-come life stories of spouses who disappear into the blizzard when all they wanted was BBQ from the Pick n Save.

I’ll skip the burger. I’ll stand in

front of the fitness center gym mirroring my wall to wall light fluorescent shadow craft chiseling

home is 2,454 miles away where it’s 70° F and a pot of water is boiling at 100 °F and she

stares into a phone that she never remembers to charge and she is married

to pixels jet lagged on hotel WiFi.

The catalog I want to order from is this:

-I can hear the page turn flipflapping

-I might cut my finger if I edge too quickly

-I have to outlive

-I possess coat sleeves never empty long enough for her to try me on for size,

-wishing that her husband never disappeared in the first

place streets swallowed snowmelt,

heard it slooshing through the pipes in parking deck, my parking

pass with the stripe facing the wrong way keeping me in

-side the undercement box of an elevator whirengine rising falling rising falling,

fraying spacetime, cut after cut.


“Thermodynamics is mainly concerned with the transformations of heat into mechanical work and the opposite transformations of mechanical work into heat. Only in comparatively recent times have physicists recognized that heat is a form of energy that can be changed into other forms of energy.”


 

states Enrico Fermi while beginning

his 1936 monograph on energy, on

transformation, on why during a Manhattan July

the campus trails (y) at Columbia will still reel in

students like firewalkers sweltering in suits where

it makes no difference (Δ) to them that qx = k(dT/dY)

qx = the rate heat conducts from

sun to stone to trouser (k) to the skin of your teeth or

qx = how quickly and how high mercury (Hg)

greets (“Hi!”) a damp kerchief (T) , Morse-code blotting of foreheads.

 

Scurrying across all (100 + x) streets intersecting and bisecting and my-feet-hurt-secting and

I-can’t-possibly-walk-any-further-secting but I’m full of heat, full of heat.

We are the driven, the personified gradients struggling from less to

more (call it passion or call it hot/sore feet) or by feat

alone we want to become, to come

closer just as the day becomes

closer to evening to

change

 

into something else.

to change

into some 

thing else.

 

// previously appeared in modified form in Isotope: A Journal of Nature & Science Writing (Utah State University)


The World’s Preeminent Geneticist Stuck on the Long Island Rail Road


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the greatest minds

and words like genomics, proteomics

gather one letter then a string

citations, handshakes, words

atop DNA tower, cardinal directions

A   T G   C

code-breaking flags; travel to travel through why humans cannot grasp

the genetic defects of train delays

like the electronics behind train delays

ticketing screens assemble letters:

"Connection not found. Please see an associate." inside the hundreds

self sorting, self tunneling, self going

lines grow far, grow long

protein chains of crack-of-dawn commuters cleaved

by the enzymes of coffee lines past

planetary configurations, rack after rack, of postcards revolving on a wire axis

under isothermal conditions people will not change until aspirations

change. (THEY / ME) refuse to evolve and devolve. A new species

of what it means to be better than today

assertive, snapping the newspapers with like reins,

control outcomes predict outcomes mandate outcomes,

sifting the unshifting letters of the news, prospecting for change,

forcefully panning for discovery.