Nitrium, bonus poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series – based on the original name (before Natrium) for Sodium, #11, Na – by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

(bonus poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series)
based on the original name (before Natrium) for Sodium, #11, Na
started 1/16/15, edited and completed 1/29/15

I’ve been studying elements
in the Periodic Table, and when
I heard the word “Nitrium,”
it made me laugh
(thinking of Nitrous Oxide).
So I looked it up online…
The only thing I could find
was from the Memory Alpha
in Star Trek Wikia,
and they could only guess
that Nitrium was either an alloy
or a metallic element.

But the history buff in me
remembered that Nitrium
is a variant of natrium,
and it was the original name
for the element Sodium.

(I mean, doctors even call
low sodium levels in the blood

So as I read up
at my Star Trek Wikia —
I suddenly realized how
essential this Nitrium really was:

If you remember basic chemistry,
sodium reacts violently with water,
disintegrating, or even exploding
(no no no, you’re thinking of salt,
that’s not straight sodium,
that’s why it mixes with water…)

And as I read, Nitrium
(which was the first name
for Sodium)
was prevalent in asteroids
and it was used
in so many places
in the construction
of Federation starships.

Now, when it comes to our own bodies,
Sodium (or should I say Nitrium)
controls blood pressure
and blood volume —
it’s essential in our bodies
to keep them running smoothly.

So it makes total sense
that Galaxy-glass vessels
used Nitrium in their ships,
from computers, to engines
to their life support systems.

Nitrium was so crucial
to the Cost of Living —
you see, I expanded my research
from Star Trek Wikia
to straight-up Wikipedia
and discovered that parasites
were eating the Nitrium
all over the Enterprise,
jeopardizing the ship’s integrity.

Because as I’ve learned,
with every Periodic Table
element out there
there’s a good side
and a bad side:
if Nitrium is used
all over the Enterprise,
something could easily come along
to destroy it as well.

I mean, think of it
in our own bodies:
when Sodium (or Nitrium)
reacts with water
and forms Sodium Hydroxide,
but this reaction
gets the Hydrogen so hot
that it burns.

And if Nitrium
was the original name for Sodium,
that probably explains why
you never see
a Galaxy-class starship
entering a planet’s atmosphere,
where there’s water in the air.
Because really,
the people at Star Trek learned
that even just a little water in the air
would be enough
to make their starship
around them.

…Really, whenever the Enterprise
actually goed to a planet,
they never land on the planet
with their big Galaxy-class starship,
they send a shuttle,
or they beam someone down,
because in this case,
the water in the air
that’s embedded in the atmosphere,
that water could react
with the Sodium —
oops, I mean,
that water could react
with the Nitrium —
and it might actually
do the Enterprise in.

As I said,
with all the elements
I’ve studied,
there’s a good side
and a bad side to them.
We might desperately need them,
but they also may somehow
do us in
if they’re mixed
in the just the right way.

Because if you sit in a lab
in the twenty-first century,
you can watch this element
react with water in a beaker —
and if you’re going
where no one has gone before
in the twenty-fourth century,
you might have to be sure
your Nitrium-rich ship
finds no water in space,
and finds no parasites
that may eat you
out of your only way home.

After Life | Life Lines | Crime Scene | Pantoum 911 by Jenene Ravesloot



After Life

Four red circles on the wall-to-wall
carpet in the master bedroom where
a bureau used to be; a fake ficus
along the chair rail in the hallway;
peeling wallpaper, peeling paint,
damaged doors, more doors that
lead to other rooms. When they
are turned, glass doorknobs skin
knuckles against the frame.

A threadbare stair runner leads
down to an empty hallway and
an empty living room except for
the dead possum that lies in the
fireplace with a damaged doll.

An open front door creaks on its
hinges like a porch swing while
the usual birds sing in the usual
fading light.

First Published in Skylines,
The Poets’ Club of Chicago,
78th Anniversary Anthology, 2014


Life Lines

Orphanages, foster homes,
parochial schools, marriage,
separation, divorce;
nights on someone else’s
couch; dank rooms rented by
the week in Philly, L.A.,
Miami, and Chicago;
corned beef hash hangouts
tiled subway-white;4 a.m.
bars, sawdust-covered floors,
boilermakers, burgers;
Figaro’s saloon on Oak Street;
jazz until 6 a.m.; indifferent lovers
whose names you can’t recall;
walks alone in the park at noon;
horns, whistles, harbor bells
that used to comfort; the sounds
of rats’ claws behind a bedroom

Crime Scene

Blue morning glories sagging in the rain;
sound of blue rain in blue alley shadows—
the click, click, click of metal against metal,
then, bang, bang, bang.

Three bullets for sure, maybe more somewhere,
no witnesses except perhaps this mewing cat
with matted blood-spattered fur or that smooth
bronze face peeking through the iron bars
of a basement window.

First published in the Chronicles of Scarbo, Second Edition,
2012, 2013. Also published in The Poetry Storehouse, 2014
as an audio file in 2014. Later in 2014, “Crime Scene” was
made into a video poem by Paul Broderick/The Poetry


Pantoum 911

The neighbor’s parrot screams There’s been a crime.
The white oncidiums burn in their pots; they’ve been hexed,
but it’s here on the bed you’ll lie.
You toss and cannot rest.

The white oncidiums burn in their pots; they’ve been hexed.
The tides push in and out like a spoon.
You toss and cannot rest,
begin to hum a childhood tune.

The tides push in and out like a spoon.
Seagulls circle evening’s fading light.
You begin to hum a childhood tune.
Clouds cut the sky. A half-moon takes flight.

Seagulls circle evening’s fading light,
but it’s here on the bed you’ll lie.
Clouds cut the sky. A half-moon takes flight.
The neighbor’s parrot screams There’s been a crime.

Jenene Ravesloot

First published in Loot: Stolen Memories & Tales Out of School,
2008. Later published as a song for the CD White Narcissus, 2009


                                                Jenene Ravesloot Bio

 Jenene Ravesloot is a member of The Poets’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois State Poetry Society, Poets & Patrons, and the TallGrass Writers Guild.

She has written three books of Poetry:

Loot: Stolen Memories & Tales Out of SchoolThe Chronicles of Scarbo, and Floating Worlds.

Jenene has published in The Poetry Storehouse, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Packingtown Review, The Miscreant, After Hours Press, Exact Change Only, Sam Smith’s The Journal in the UK, THIS Literary Magazine, and other online journals, print journals, and anthologies.


Birds on a Chair

birds on chair

I am lost
You are lost
We are lost
in a crowd of one
Our pretty words
rattle the wind we blow.
I am lost
You are lost
We are lost
All are cycles,
but am I a cycle?
That bird.
That bird repeats itself
It’s not the same bird as that bird in my youth,
is it?
It surely looks the same and pauses to look at me
the same.
Is he singing,
“Is that the same person?”
“Is that the same person?”
“Is that the same person?”

……………….david michael jackson

Pablo Neruda Documentaries

Pablo Neruda died at the age 69 allegedly from advanced prostrate cancer just 12 days after the military coup by Pinochet, which unseated his close friend Salvador Allende the left wing reformist President of Chile. Gabriel Garcia Marquez hailed Neruda “the greatest poet of the 20th Century in any language”.

It was well known where his political sympathies lay and he was advised by the Mexican Embassy to go into exile. The day before he was due to leave he was rushed to hospital where he died suddenly. Over forty years suspicions have remained of foul play and that he was poisoned. One of the arguments being that he was a danger to the new government because he would write against their regime from Mexico.

In 2013 a Chilean judge ordered his body be exhumed and autopsied, which was carried out in April of that year. In November, the official report of an international forensic team stated they could find no evidence of his murder. Despite their conclusion, mystery still surrounds the circumstances of his death and the debate and investigation continues.

Even members of his family are divided in their views and the Chilean Communist party point out that this is the 3rd time Pablo Neruda’s body has been exhumed and that many bodies were disposed of through illicit means under the Pinochet regime, in which case the body examined by the foresnic team may not be Pablo Neruda’s body at all.
(Robin Ouzman Hislop)

pablo neruda documentaries
pablo neruda documentaries2
See also Poems of Pablo Neruda
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DEAD SOULS | Poems by Ward Kelley

dead souls poem


From “histories of souls

The Wild Mouse

Where does one find the rim of Death?
Is there an exact point where the living
can reach out and touch small ghostly

souls who would flirt again with simple
mortality? We truly do not need to look
far for the inglorious, ubiquitous rim,

for it doubles as the arc on which
our very hearts revolve around
the universe of our own lives, although

not exactly an ellipse but more like a wild
mouse whose track contains great valleys
with steep hills just beyond capricious curves . . .

we carry it all within, this rim of Death,
but it’s difficult to hear the voices of
the dead who bravely flirt on and on . . .

on and on under the cacophony of us.

The Dead in Hammocks

It’s a matter of learning how to lounge
around correctly, occasionally
planting an obtuse comment,
one here, one there, into a favorite
carnal creature’s mind . . .

but care must be taken to avoid
being overt with such a comment,
for if one will play by the rules,
then certitude must be avoided
completely and resolutely . . .

for truth is only truth when it can
be perceived by various viewers
as their own distinct revelation,
and it is so difficult—the dead
complain about it all the time—
to get these obstinate poets
into the correct mental hammocks.

No Chaste Thoughts

The dead ones wanted to discuss
an obtuse topic, “Let’s talk about sex.”
But this subject has always,
at best, left me confused.

“There are no chaste thoughts,
only chaste words,” they point out,
“for everyone will seek a certain
indifference when enunciating sex,

while in their minds, great
ravishments are taking place.”
Again, where I might understand
the universal point of sex,

I still have this awkward feeling
that there are other, unseen,
compulsions at work upon our flesh.
The dead ones laugh and laugh.

“Come, come now, oh man of clay,
if you suspect us so, why not simply
become a celibate?” And can there be
anything more bothersome than

the laughter of the dead?


There is a whirling in my brain that always
speaks of ephemeral injections of silent,
unspeaking thoughts, fast but frail,
as though butterflies had mated
with hummingbirds . . .

the dead ones say this is possible,
as they whirl and peck, looking
for the soft spots of my soul where
one of their memories might be
injected . . .

” . . . so why would you wish
to know of death?” they cajole
a question as if it were a prank,
” . . . when you do so poorly at
the apprehension of life?”

I would think to answer this—
there are many, many answers,
you know—but the dead ones never
wait for a retort, as if they are often
saddened by their very own human nature.

Dancing in Front of the Glacier

If anything, the dead ones are quite
persistent, or maybe always keen,
to arrive at something succinct—
the word, the precise phrase, the cajoling—
that will produce the correct apprehending.

“If you would just consider
a dance of players,” the dead
ones illustrate, “say, at the base
of a glacier, a ballet of exquisite
limbs, with purity of flesh raised
in an art of physics; see them
play, watch them perform, tapity tap,
and then remove all the bodies
from this scene . . .

what is left in front of the glacier
is us.”

But who can buy such pleasantries?
As if so much importance must be
placed on actually seeing the dead ones . . .

such ingratitude disquiets
them greatly.

As Though

These slight, wispy conversations
with the dead ones are laced with
great perils of the metaphor for
they will go to any length to avoid

the succinct thought unless they are
certain you will interpret the succinct
as metaphor. “You are correct,”
the dead ones smile.

This will not do, will not go through
the layers necessary for communion,
but what else can you ascertain as
they flit and fall all the while calling

out to you as if you offered a salvation
not found on the other side of breath?
“You take yourself far too seriously,”
come the dead ones, calling, calling,

“It is your skin we want most.”

Book of the Dead

These poems do not go, you know,
through the spaces they were meant,
do not flow into the looks askance
or foliate into proper poundings . . .

they do not, do not do so, you know, but
all the while they mark and notate, notch
and draw, hoping to catch the notice of a god
while my soul can scurry unobserved to

somewhere I cannot seem to imagine.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead was a compilation of various charms and incantations meant to convince or trick the gods into allowing the soul to enter paradise.