Pages Give Air to Scorpions and Poetry to Peoples

"Book Lungs" are respiratory tissues used in the process of atmospheric gas exchange. Arachnids have book lungs. Scorpions and spiders and ticks. There is no other order of land-dwelling creatures that uses books for breath. Book lungs are quite literally an arrangement of page like sheets of hemolymph saturated tissues that collect as pages do into 'books'. Spiders and scorpions use these air/life 'books' to maximize the total surface area of hemolymphic tissues exposed to the air. Therefore it can be said that these 'books' optimally maximize (for spiders) the amount of gas exchanged with the environment. Modern arachnids have enjoyed this system of respiration without any determinable evolutionary changes for at least 410 million years.




Nick Aster

You woke me up. My sleep was nervous anyways.
That morning, I noticed that your eyes looked empty.
                          Blank, like the eyes of a Golem.

You took me by my left hand, with both of your hands, through the front door of our house.   
We were out in the yard but it was different; the yard was overtaken this morning by a tree
that was so tall
and so wide
that upon seeing it I forgot completely the world.
                          The banalities of God’s firmament and God’s light.

This tree had stopped the wind.
All I could here was the secret mumbling of rain on cast-off leaves. Oak Leaves.
Oak Leaves the size of gravestones.
Oak Tree.
You said, “Climb with me.”
You told me, “Up at the top Nick,
                       all of the letters in your mouth,
                       all those sounds crouching behind your teeth, will escape back into this world
                       tumbling off your tongue.
Your letters will remember their childhood. They will once again be made of camels
mountain ranges
and the silhouette of man’s first dwellings.
                             Houses made of stretched hide and branches blocking the sundown.
This is what letters and sounds looked like when they first crept from God’s thunderous throat,
wiggled free through God’s lips.
Letters that could deafen the ears of the universe with their precision.
                             Up at the top Colin,
                             You will know God because You will be God.
                             You know your Mouth and your Mouth is God
                             because the world was built on sound.”

“Climb!” You told me.
I could almost feel the earth tense under my feet,
tighten under the colossus of the Oak Tree.

“I’m frightened by its height,” I replied.
“You cannot fall when you are with me,”
you said.

So I left the ground I recognized.
I climbed with you.
Soon my palms were thick with sap and blood and I was deep in an air I had never tasted.
I climbed with you for days.
We slept in holes the size of train-tunnels in the trunk of the Oak Tree.
You made rests for our heads out of leaves and the handfuls of cloud that you stole from the sky.

When we reached the top, my hair had become long and the color of Aspen bark.
I could feel it brush against my cheeks.
Your eyes had become so blue that it looked they weren’t eyes at all;
they were like windows that showed me the deep,
eternal and forever sky
always behind your head.

At the top of the Oak Tree you said, “look.”
You were sitting on the loftiest branch.
“Look,” you said.
And you pointed down towards the earth I had almost forgotten completely,
down towards the air that still carried familiar flavors.
I leaned out over a branch that was as thick as an elephant’s leg and waited for the clouds to part
so that I could see.
                              See how far we had climbed.

Underneath the clouds below, I saw nothing.                                       No familiar ground.
Just the blue ramble of sky.                           Miles of it.                      Years of it.
Only a gasp of nothingness below our wooden perch.
You saw that I looked frightened and you said, “look!”
and you pointed straight above your head.
Hundreds—thousands!- of feet above us, where the sky belonged, I could see the earth.
The ground that I recognized.
Soil and grass and camels and houses arced above us; a dirty firmament.
“Where then, are the roots of this Oak Tree?” I asked you,
“I see no loam or water below us.”
You smiled and told me that you were going to jump and that I needed to follow.
“Which direction will we fall? Up       to the ground, or down into the sky?” I asked.

         “We will fall so far down into the sky that God will forget the words that made us and the
words that made the world. We will fall until we become clouds. When we are clouds and we are
made up of hundreds—thousands!- of little pieces, the rain and the wind will spread us all over
the sky so that we’ll be able to see everything on earth all at once. All of our tiny little pieces will
be everywhere, all over the earth, all at once.”

I told you that I was scared and that I didn’t want to be a cloud.
And you told me that I was a cloud and that I was only dreaming I wasn’t.

I watched you walk out along the spine of a great leaf
                                                                                                                        and leap.


                          your              s   t   e   p   s


                                                                                     the edge of the leaf

and it bent down towards the sky under my weight.

I looked up at the earth above. I could see the stars starting to glimmer-about.
Little scabs of brightness behind the rivers and canyons overhead.
It started to rain.
Each drop was as big as the moon looks reflected on calm water.
I slipped away from the Oak Tree because my hands were wet and I fell down into the sky.


It was still raining when I woke up.
I could see everywhere in the world, all at once:

The snow.
         The streetlamps.
                                                                  The perfection of windows during the twilight.

The shadows cast by waves on the ocean in the moments right before they crash in on
themselves… shadows, like a spot on the sun.

                                                                   The fallen tree, swaddled in moss and splintered to ruin.

I could see you guiding me (still laden and waterlogged with dreams and sleep)
out the front door and onto the cool mourning grass.
I could see my newly awakened eyes widening,
                                             (down in the world below)
in disbelief at the sheer height of the Oak Tree in our front yard.

1 comment:

  1. Your an amazing writer. Your going to make it. Don't let anybody make you feel like you can't. I believe in you.