BRAINS AT WORK

Back at end of May I started this poem and posted this about where the idea came from and the few lines I had at that time.  Since that time I’ve hammered away at it along with doing a lot of other stuff….anyway, down below is the original post and the poem this all turned into …BRAINS AT WORK…about the marvels of what’s in our heads and what it goes about accomplishing day in and day out. Occasionally we’re fortunate enough to ‘reach the moon’ as a result. 

I don’t know where it’ll go or whether I’ll be able to get it to turn into an ‘acceptable’ work of poetry but here’s how this got born and is trying to crawl already. A little glimpse into how my brain deals with this creative facet of my life while it walks down the well-worn path of ‘regular’ day-to-day existence.
Saw the rocket that was going to take off just the other day and all the emotion and hope it seemed to generate – >>> remembered the inspiring Apollo movie about spaceflight and then >>>> Hidden Figures, black female mathematicians movie and >>>>> thought about how the world honors and respects the TRUE big brains that go into getting space travel to work…all the complicated details that go into it…how hard it is to get everything to coordinate and mesh…and what happens when it doesn’t …how you’ve got to run around and scratch your head and improvise… >>>had just gotten up and was revving the human motor up so to speak to start my daily routines…some from motor memory and some from ‘list-type’ memory, and I got to thinking of the human brain and what it takes to do what we don’t even consider important or difficult…but is…and it only takes losing a part of the brain to some disease or condition or motor skills going bad on you….to understand that… so the poem will be an ode to the things we do, some seemingly mundane…and when you think about it and watch it all come together, it can be as complex and awe inspiring as flying to the moon. You just have to look closely and see all the intricate parts. That’s how inspiration works…

AND HERE’ HOW ALL OF THIS STEWING ON THIS CAME OUT —

BRAINS AT WORK

I clapped with glee that night they walked on the moon
when those who dedicated their lives
to mathematics            science            and aviation
got it all to work just right
flashing back to how they had gotten here
lots of thinking till it hurt
lots of dusks to dawn and back again
all kinds of mental gymnastics
the theories bouncing around in fertile heads over the years
turning into formulas and intricate connections
turning into buttons now getting pushed
and knobs and needles on gauges barely shy of the red
and roaring flames belching out impelling astronauts
upward and outward
crossing higher and higher lines in the sky
defying all the ancient forces
the rules            superstitions              and fears
that were keeping them here
Bold endeavor that took the world’s imagination
along for a ride                       a long ride for the ages
there and back   a thrill a minute 
so let’s give credit where it’s due
bowing down to human brains having what it takes
to reach for the heavens                      and maintain an orbit there.

There’s all those astounding feats
making lots of noise and worthy of acclaim
While down here I have both feet firmly planted
in the quiet comfort of my living room
on our dear old Earth
not getting beyond its atmosphere but
letting my mind wander there and elsewhere
and do its own tricks
craving some applause too or at least a nod
For example, knowing how not to get burned on this cup of tea
filling every last space of this crossword puzzle
shaving without drawing blood
singing the old hymns                         dreaming all night in technicolor
fixing the plugged drain                     getting my wife or child to stop crying
selecting the perfect gift or word to make any pain go away
and other chores or acts of kindness  
even the occasional stab at deep thoughts
I am pretty satisfied with my own mental prowess
analyzing what’s come and gone
going down every road crisscrossing this brain
cerebral trips set off by a scent           a melody     or an expression hanging
in the air
wondering How’s it do these things?             Like illusions almost
when you think about it
Amazed that I don’t fall on my face
as I not quite leap off the couch         launching into my daily duties
keeping my balance even as the world spins
not quite landing on the moon but
my brain is firing on all cylinders, or synapses, I guess it is,
not unlike a rocket on its way
brain shooting sparks incessantly as the needs arise
rarely letting me down
folding the laundry just right, even the fitted sheets,
cooking up this recipe
while dancing to some cumbia in the kitchen
brain sending countless messages to muscles
do this task       and that
and later in the calm of the night
coming up with a line
that flows smoothly into another
destined to touch the soul of a reader somewhere
like stirring up dust on the lunar surface
We don’t give it enough credit
Yes, feeling proud of what this brain can accomplish
when I knuckle down             or only let loose its reins
maybe not quite earthshaking computations
not quite conquering outer space
but holding its own on terra firma
still making all the necessary links
remembering most of the moments and details that count
getting the absurdities of life
and stringing words together like so many pearls
that shine softly as the moon
Glancing at the sky
then bending down and running fingers through the dirt
and knowing what it means
and where it comes from.

6.27.20

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