Gallium, poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#31, Ga)
(based on the poem “Almost the Best Part”)

Isn’t that moment of expectation
almost the best part?

How it melts in your mouth
and not in your hands…

is it the most

When you think everything is over,
you see
that at 30 degrees C
everything melts away.

And you think you shouldn’t be doing this,
that this can’t be happening,
but on a hot day —
everything is held in peril.

Because as I said,
everything can melt away.

Yeah, I know how they say
it melts in your mouth
and not in your hands,
but after a lick,
it doesn’t have much of a taste,
it’s a bit astringent
and has a metallic taste
that lasts a few hours.
But as I said,
it melts in your mouth
and not in your hands,
but no one even knows
what it tastes like
when it’s molten…

But still,
with a low melting point
and a high boiling point
and no toxic vapor,
it contracts as it melts
(much like water).
It actually floats
on it’s own liquid.

You want to see it
floating away on itself like that,
you want to see
what you think are the laws of nature
being broken,
so you wait for that moment of expectation,
to see that moment of change,
and wonder
it that’s almost the best part.

Francium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kupers


by Janet Kuypers

of Scars Publications
from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#087, Fr)

Thinking of you,
I’m reminded
of someone taking his mother’s guns
and killing her in an elementary school,
then taking out twenty children,
then five more adults,
before taking his own life.

Remembering your destructive ways
reminds me of going to a movie on opening night
before someone walks in,
cloaked in dark clothes
setting off smoke bombs
before killing anyone he could.

Your metallic personality,
you and your radioactive ways,
you decayed anything you touched.

So you wonder why I correlate you
to any and all destruction,
the way you’d be the instrument of death
by slamming so much fuel,
so much metal, so much life
into the tallest building you could find,
killing anything that crossed your path.

And yeah, I’d correlate you
with the government claiming to play nice
while you helped over eighty faithful followers
disintegrate in a fiery cataclysm.

I’ve seen what you can do.
I can’t help but make the connections.

In such a short burst of time,
you’ve killed seven
in a Sikh temple.

I’ve never seen you for long enough
to think I can know what you
might be like in bulk.
As I’ve said,
I’ve only seen you in these short bursts.

But oh,
what you’ve done
in those

I think it’s funny
how you unintentionally
chose Hitler’s birthday
to kill thirteen teens,
injure over twenty more,
on an otherwise average school day.

I know, I know you’re rare,
but when I see you,
the world sees you,
and we can’t forget.
I know it’s such a little amount of you
that exists at any time
throughout the entirety of the Earth,
and I know others
have tried to create you synthetically,
to try to learn from you,
but those amounts have still been too small
to make any difference.

It’s sad, that this is the way
you normally are —
your instability make me think
that you just can’t be real—
and I know that your rampages
usually last no more than twenty,
maybe as long as twenty-two minutes.

I’m just afraid
that you are becoming
more and more common in life.

After all of these years,
you have always been rare,
but your repeated appearances
in our lives scare me.
I know that with you, everything falls apart
so suddenly, so quickly so violently.
How much longer
will we cross our fingers,
while we anticipate
our next chance encounter?

Nobelium poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#102, No)*

I never saw you.
You were the one thing
we were all looking for —
peace —
and we didn’t know
what it would look like
when we found it.

If we found it.

I heard that Sweden
laid claim to you first,
but I swear,
we were all searching for you,
and I think that like most Americans
we would even try to synthesize you
in order to lay claim to you.

Listen to me,
like all Americans,
laying claim to you.
Possessing you.

Maybe you’ve kept yourself
so well hidden
because we’ll never learn
how to live in peace…
Maybe we can only take peace
in small amounts,
mixed with our usual
anger and discontent.

I know you’ve been around
for so very long,
and I can’t remember
how many years
we’ve been searching for you.

Had your hair grown
to silvery white or gray
waiting for us
to truly want peace?
Have you grown rough and metallic
in your impatience with us?
Would you be a hazard to us
if we took you in
in sufficient amounts?

Because, we want to take that chance.
Because we’ve been looking,
and we’ve been waiting for you.
    * The discovery of element 102 was first announced by physicists at the Nobel Institute in Sweden in 1957. The synthesis of element 102 was then claimed in April 1958 at the University of California, Berkeley. Element 102 was first named nobelium (No) by its claimed discoverers in 1957 by scientists at the Nobel Institute in Sweden. The name was later adopted by Berkeley scientists who claimed its discovery in 1959. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially recognised the name nobelium following the Berkeley results. In 1994, and subsequently in 1997, the IUPAC ratified the name nobelium (No) for the element on the basis that it had become entrenched in the literature over the course of 30 years and that Alfred Nobel should be commemorated in this fashion.
Little is known about the element but limited chemical experiments have shown that it forms a stable divalent ion in solution as well as the predicted trivalent ion that is associated with its presence as one of the actinides.
The appearance of this element is unknown, however it is most likely silvery-white or gray and metallic. If sufficient amounts of nobelium were produced, it would pose a radiation hazard.

Tungsten poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

You know, I just adore you so much,
and because you liked my belly ring
and eyebrow rings and lip ring,
I was thinking of getting you a
Tungsten tongue stud for your birthday.
And don’t even ask me “Why Tungsten,”
because it has the same metallic qualities
of gold and even platinum, and hey,
it would sound excellent-cool when
you told your friends it was Tungsten.
And beside, I know how you practice
with your twenty-two and nine mil
down at the gun range, and the lead
shells are expensive when you practice,
and Tungsten shells are actually
more environmentally friendly,
since I know you get into that…
I mean, I really know you, and you
can still be my little eco-freak
and still like shooting stuff, right?
And yeah, I’ve heard some reports
that gun range Tungsten shell casings
sitting on the dirt can seep Tungsten
into the dirt, but hey, I checked,
and Tungsten is not toxic
according to any reports I’ve seen.
Tungsten’s cheaper for bullets than lead,
and then you can say that the stud
through your tongue is made
of the same stuff as the bullets
you shoot from your gun…