“All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.”— Robert Hass, “Meditation at Lagunitas”
Breaking Up is Hard to Do: A One-Act Play for Glycolysis
Oh my god. I was going through some papers I’d saved from high school and came across a biology test with the following question/answer. Who said Governor’s School wasn’t fun?
6. Metabolic processes can be thought of as a life drama. Select either “making glucose” or “breaking apart glucose” and list the major events, key players and outline the playbill for the drama.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do: A One-Act Play for Glycolysis
Enter glucose (stage left) and enzymes (stage right).
Enzymes approach glucose molecule mencingly, spewing threats to the glucose.
Enzymes: Hey, buddy, what do you think you’re doing in here? Do you think you can just mosey into this here cytoplasm, looking all big and complex like that? C’mere you!
Enzymes corner the glucose molecule.
Glucose: Oh, the humanity!
Enter ATP (stage right)
ATP: What do we have here, boys?
Enzymes: Lookit this big fella here! Thinking he can just come into the cell like that. Let’s teach this boy a lesson.
ATP shrugs off two phosphate groups and hurls them at the glucose molecule.
Glucose: No!!! Tries to dodge phosphate groups, but to no avail. Mr. Glucose has now been phosphorylated.
ADP: It was well worth losing those phosphate groups to take care of this bully. Let’s get out of here.
ADP starts to leave, but first waits for glucose.
Glucose: What’s happening?! I’m—I’m SPLITTING! But I’m so happy together!
Glucose begins to separate into two PGAL molecules at the same time that it emits the phosphate groups back to the ADP. The ADP intercepts the groups offhandedly.
ATP: Ah, good to be back. Now let’s book it. Exit ATP stage left.
Enzymes: Looks like it’s time for us again. C’mere!
Enzymes seize broken-hearted PGAL molecules and strips hydrogen ions and electrons from it, leaving the PGAL molecules with a sense of dejection. The enzymes motion NAD+ over to take the electrons and hydrogen ions.
PGAL: What did I DO to deserve this? All I wanted to do was provide energy, and now look at me! Stripped of my dignity! THEY CAN TAKE MY ELECTRONS, BUT THEY CAN NEVER TAKE MY FREEDOM!
Enter two NAD+ (stage right).
NAD+: Oh yeah? Accepts electrons and hydrogen ions from PGAL, forming NADH.
NADH: What now, big man? Huh? HUH?
Exit NADH stage left at the same time that two pyruvate molecules expulse themselves from NADH’s departure.
Pyruvate: What am I? Who am I? What am I doing here?
Four ATP: We don’t know, but thank you and your ancestors for helping make us!
NADH (from offstage): Yes, thank you! Maybe now you’ll learn: don’t mess with glycolysis.
I’ve had more than a few people ask me, after finding out that I’m bisexual, how a woman can have sex with another woman. How can you have sex if there’s no penis and no penetration? How can a woman lose her virginity if she’s never slept with a man before? Isn’t “lesbian sex” just two women fooling around?
These are valid enough questions given that our and many other societies are inherently heteronormative (basically people assume other people are heterosexual and that this is the “normal” or “default” sexual orientation). It’s such a natural assumption that it’s taken years for the idea that other sexual orientations exist to finally sink in for many people. And aside from extremists or people who outright deny that “homosexuals” exist, I’m glad to say it has begun to sink in, and I’m glad to live in a time to see that it is occurring.
Given that our society still remains, in general, heteronormative, the entire notion of sex as vaginal penetration by a penis is so inherent that it’s no wonder people become confused when things such as same-sex sexual intercourse comes up. Interestingly enough, from my own experiences and observations, I’ve seen that people generally accept the notion of male/male sexual intercourse than female/female sexual intercourse, I assume because males who have sex with males (MSM) still involves the notion of penetration that our society values so deeply. (Sorry to maintain the male/female gender binary, but for the sake of this discussion, it works the best. The spectrum of gender is something that I wholeheartedly know exists and would love to discuss later, though!)
So the ever elusive female/female sex. What is it, then? If you reject the notion that sex = penis + vagina, then this opens up an entire new realm of interpretation of what sex actually is. To me, sex is something personal, something that you can use to connect on a deep level with someone, something that brings both people mutual pleasure and contentment. And I have final stumbled upon a definition of sex that I think describes it most accurately.
"Sex is the engagement in consensual sexual activity that bring you and your partner pleasure."
I absolutely agree. This definition doesn’t assume heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, or any other sexual orientation. There are no genders in this definition, no sexual organs going here or there, no notion that penetration = sex. It’s not about fetishism (bisexual/lesbian woman and sexual objectification/fetishism by heterosexual males is a topic for another day). It’s just the simple notion that, hey, sex is something personal, consensual, and pleasurable. It’s something that makes you and your partner happy. And I couldn’t agree more.
A mashup of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago” and Coldplay’s “Clocks”. Well, not exactly a mashup— it’s literally the two tracks layered over each other, with minimal alterations (key, tempo). Be warned: I can’t listen to the originals anymore; they sound too empty. They are half-songs. (That’s a joke.)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil)
Cayenne pepper to taste
A few dashes of tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz) can of beef broth (or chicken, veggie, etc.)
7 oz salsa
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I got some with garlic and basil already mixed in)
1 can of black beans (or kidney beans, chickpeas, etc.)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped (or green, yellow, orange bell pepper)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, black olives, etc.
Brown ground meat (or cook vegan bits) in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot. Make sure it’s fully cooked. Add taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce, and tomato paste and combine until thoroughly mixed.
Pour in broth and simmer for about five minutes. Add salsa, diced tomatoes, and black beans and simmer for about ten minutes. At the same time, sauté onion and bell pepper until most of the way cooked, then add garlic (make sure not to burn the garlic - cook for 30 seconds to a minute). Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the chili mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the desired consistency (add water if it’s too thick).
Serve and top with sour cream, shredded cheese, black olives, or whatever you’d like! I also served this with pre-made jalapeño cheddar corn bread (although I may try to find a homemade recipe for this, too!).