Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Division (2)

This is the second part to the poem I posted at the end of March. It didn't take five months to write, I just left a draft stagnating for a while and have only recently thought to actually finish it.

Division (2)

Look through the lens of a compound microscope
and see the fabric of all living things.
With dish set down
and lamp clicked on
it is visible:
a parent cell,
magnified 100 times,
with a cellophane cytoplasm
and a nucleus; a womb that nurtures
the chaos of chromatin.
From this inert interphase to prophase:
The paired centrosomes part,
linked by microtubule arms
that stretch across the cytoplasm,
clasping hands tightly, making an arch for dancers.
The chromatin then coils into chromosomes,
condensing scribbles into four stringed worms.
In prometaphase the nucleus splinters
like a broken glass bubble,
and the strings morph into
butterflies with DNA wings;
they fly out and
stick to the spindle flowers.
Metaphase is simple:
the butterfly chromosomes are
pushed in line,
and in anaphase they are
ripped in half, the spindles
snapping them back like bungee cords.
In telephase the cell divides,
reaching the final stage of this
split story: cytokinesis.
The two daughters drift apart and
piece themselves together;
the chromosomes wrestle
until they entangle,
and an envelope
curls around them like a shell:
one nucleus, one heart,
and two living cells.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Canned Heat

They were on what must have been one of the last trains to nearly to arrive at Oxford Road Station. Outside the day was thinking about a turn toward a darker form. It would start off from the hills and then take the long road back into the city just as the last of the traffic raced home to beat it. Outside it was the still the great sweat of the summer that just wouldn’t leave off. But it wasn’t as muscular these days and not so demanding of one’s time. People had been wrestling with it for months though. They had hated it and loved it and now they seemed to pity it. Sorry that it had to go, but accepting of that fact as something quite inevitable like run-down batteries or slipping wallpaper. It had been welcomed, especially at first, but like many welcomed too readily and with too much zeal it had soon forgotten itself, got drunk on its own self-involvement and stayed far too long. It was self-inflicted then and was all anyone talked about anymore. They couldn't help talking about it. It waited all day long on the pavements demanding to be addressed. It dozed on park benches so that no-one else could sit down. It ranged across entire buildings so that windows seemed to melt away in giddy shimmers. It sat on cars and then inside cars. It was immobilizing. It was diurnal but waited up all hours. And now even at its lesser strength it still blazed a way into ‘C’ carriage making everyone tired and irritable. Now, looking out of the windows the passengers had nothing but shear jealousy for those hazy houses that came galloping up close to the line with what seemed like instinctive knowledge that a great rush of wind would follow that train and drench every swollen brick in diesel-coolness.