Strontium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Strontium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#038 Sr)
7/2/13

People seem to think
that they need to eat
a ton of red meat
in order to be strong.

They think eating slaughtered
animal is the only way
a human being is capable
of getting themselves protein.

And I know it may be a tightrope walk
to get what you need —

I know how you
can turn a flame
into satan red
(but that means
we use you
in red flares, or
even red fireworks)…

I know how a part of you
can turn radioactive
(like when the Chernobyl explosion
threw Strontium 90 into the air:

but yeah, we’ve learned,
and can use that Strontium 90
in cancer therapy)…

And since Strontium
can get into your bones
(since it’s similar to calcium),
salt Strontium ranelate
treats osteoarthritis.

The thing is, plants are higher
in Strontium than meat,
and because it’s like calcium
it stays in our bones.

Because when we tested
ancient bones,
Austrian researchers
suggested
that Roman gladiators
were
vegetarians.

(Actually,
they ate
mostly barley,
beans, and
dried fruit.)

So yeah,
the strong,
ruthless
Roman gladiators
(the confident,
self-assured
Roman gladiators)
were
vegetarians.

Sorry, but I’ve heard
of how run down firemen
started feeling better
after they cut out meat
(metaphorically, I mean,
they didn’t actually cut any meat,
no animals were harmed
in this experiment
in making people healthier)…

Because if just the right Strontium
can help your bones,
and it is more common
in plants than animals,
maybe people can realize
that they don’t need to eat
a ton of red meat
in order to be strong.
Because with a plant-based diet,
a little Strontium
can go a long way.

Lawrencium, Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Lawrencium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#103, Lr)

I’ve always tried to figure you out.
I could never pinpoint your true destiny.
All I know
is that your radio
activity to me
left my bones so brittle.
I know your heart is a hand grenade.
You’ve made my skin so paper thin.
You’re corroded me
until my lips
are forever shut.

Californium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem from Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Californium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#98, Cf)
reflecting on the poem “i am the woman who loves pain”
10/23/13

They tell me that I am settling.
They tell me this is not love.

I keep telling myself
there’s nothing natural about you,
but when I try to take you in,
it seems you work your way
deep into my bones
and I just can’t get rid of you.

It’s like I just can’t get
of the idea of you
out of my head.

But you try to tear me apart
if you ever actually stay with me.

So when it comes to you,
I seem to be
the woman who loves pain.

Because I know you’ll do
the same things,
act the same way.
I’ve gotten used to it.

I look for you,
and whenever I find you…
Everything tarnishes
when we’re together,
but… I don’t know any better.
I don’t know how to stay away.

They keep telling me
that this is not love.

But I’ve never felt love,
and although I am hurting with you,
it’s better than hurting alone.

And you always leave
before I get the chance
to feel attached,
you think,
so you turn away
and you belive
you leave scott-free.
So, okay.
If that is what you do,
then… Don’t worry.
Despite what you do,
despite how you always
seem to react so much
when you’re with me,
I’ll still go across the country for you
I don’t know how many times.
I see your lights,
I see your glow,
because you still
intrigue me so.

I can’t help it.
I don’t know any better.
I must love this pain.
I keep coming back for more.