Platinum poem by Janet Kuypers

Platinum

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

A secretary for a trading company
at the Chicago Board of Trade
started dating a trader
(even though he was a trader,
he seemed like a nice guy) —
and after he asked her to marry him
and they were engaged,
she cheating on him
by having an affair with a coworker.
They broke off their engagement
until he forgave her
and offered her an engagement ring
with a huge solitary diamond
in a thick Platinum setting.
Looking like white gold,
Platinum was more expensive,
so she was pleased
she got him to spend
more money on her.

Well, they married,
but within a few years
they were divorced.

It’s a shame that marriage
couldn’t last as long
as that Platinum engagement ring,
made out of one of the strongest
metal elements in the Periodic Table.

I wonder what they did with that ring.
I hope they returned it,
so a stronger couple
could better accentuate
that stronger Platinum ring
and be a better match for all time.

Because I know the Platinum Metal Group
elements are really strong and durable,
because Platinum’s been used in everything
from razor edges to prevent corrosion
to spark plugs, so they can be hotter
and have a longer life.

So yeah, because of Platinum’s
resistance to heat,
it makes sense that Platinum is used
in catalytic converters in cars too —
temporarily pulling the nitrogen
and carbon atoms from
nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide
until they can re-bond
into water and less dangerous byproducts
for the environment.

Because Platinum can really stand the heat,
Platinum’s used for temperature detectors
and high-accuracy electronic thermometers,
and some parts that are launched into space
have been made out of Platinum
because they could not only
withstand the temperatures,
but also prevent corrosion,
so everything being blasted off into space
could stand everything
the Universe may throw at them.

So with Platinum being so resistant to corrosion,
it makes sense that Platinum parts
are in computers, and even in parts
for neurosurgery… I’ve even heard
(though I don’t know the details)
that Platinum may be used
in cancer medication too.
(Wow, that would be great to hear,
if Platinum could also possibly
help people with cancer…)

But when I mentioned Platinum
to someone recently,
the only thing they thought
it was for was
“wealth accumulation”.
And I thought, “For what?
Like buying gold bars?”
Because even though I see
“Cash for Gold” ads,
I haven’t seen people or places
making “Cash for Platinum” calls,
but wealth accumulation must be right,
it has a higher value than gold,
and as we’ve discovered,
it could also be strobng enough
for a wedding band
to truly withstand
the test of time.

Osmium poem by Janet Kuypers

Osmium

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

Hearing the word “Osmium” recently
(and not knowing what the word means),
the only thing that popped into my head
was the Osmonds,
Then I had this crazy 1970s flashback
to watching the Donny and Marie Osmond show,
her singing “I’m a Little Bit Country”
and him singing “I’m a Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll”
(and listening to that ‘70s song now,
you’d swear that Donny Osmond
has no Motown in his soul)…
But when I was little, I even had
the Donny and Marie Barbie-styled
dolls and play set, which even had
a stage where they could sing —
they had microphones — and this
is the best part — the Donny and Marie
dolls had holes through their hands
(if only these holes leaked blood, so the
Donny and Marie stigmata was complete)
so microphones could lock into their hands.

I guess Donny and Marie dolls
had the stigmata so they could
have that strong bond
with the microphone,
like their strong Osmond
family bond.

Because I’m sure
a family bond
is harder than anything.

And no, I didn’t know what “Osmium” was,
but Osmium is a blue-gray
to blue-black transition metal,
and as far as elements go,
it’s actually the densest
hard transition metal
in the platinum family,
that actually remains lustrous,
even at higher temperatures.

And you know,
I’ve got a medical bracelet
I have to wear all the time…
If my medical bracelet
was made out of Osmium
it would probably last forever
and look really cool too…

But then again,
because it’s so dense and so hard,
it’s probably too brittle
to shape into a bracelet.
But I’m sure they use Osmium
in applications where durability
and hardness are needed,
like in the constant varying pressure
in fountain pen nibs,
or very repetitive and exacting
electrical contacts.

And the other thing that’s a bummer
about the densest element
in the Periodic Table
is that Osmium is actually
the least abundant element
in the earth’s crust…
So I guess it makes sense
that since it’s only obtained
during copper and nickel mining,
it would probably be used
for such small objects
like fountain pen nibs
and electrical circuitry
when these minute things
need to last.

And yeah, the thing is,
Osmium can also be used
for fingerprint detection,
and it can even stain fatty tissue
for optical and electron microscopy.
So it’s excellent-cool
that Osmium can also be used
on a microscopic level like that
to help us out so much too…

So, maybe if something
as dense and hard as Osmium
is actually quite rare here,
it’s a good thing
we’ve learned to utilize
such small amounts
of this dense element
for so many things
to help us out so much in life.

Through a Glass Darkly. A Poem by Robin Ouzman Hislop. 1999.

Part. 1.

Arrow pivots arc
& the archer is transfixed
between space & flight.

Moving from towards
Finite from infinite arrow
Appears & disappears.

Angst of the arrow,
As string tautens. Bow stretches.
& the arrow flies.

At the speed of light
Arrow pierces crow’s black heart
Through a glass darkly.

*

The long day crane drops
Its breaking neck into a
Concrete theatre pit.

Through a glass darkly
Everyone imprisons in
Shadows of the glass.

In the telescope
Power & force in chaos
Become the deluge.

Attract & repulse,
Elements that twin the day
Into a weird world.

Day & night revert
To fleshly brutality:
Wounds of stars & dust.

*

The livestock rustler
At Stonehenge is beheaded
By an angry mob

& buried beneath
An ignominious stone slab
Beyond the Temple.

We dig him up to
Redeem him his ill won fame
& bury again.

*

A bleached pine branch floats,
Its sodden joint wrenched in a
Grotesque scream or smile.

Diabolical
In familiarity
Of brutality.

Light obscurity
Absorbed into distances
Impossible to judge.

*

Watching two women,
As they talk, as they fall in
Love, gentle as doves.

Beat of the Metro,
Their eyes concealing desires
In secret kisses.

I walked through the streets
Of the gay crowded faces
Far far away on

The Isle of Capri.* – (Dusty Springfield – Sharks of Tibirius)
So long ago, Sappho, in
Beauty everywhere.

*

Even cycles of time
Begin & remain at odds
With cycles of time.

One many in many
One any poem writes one
Many in many one.

We scratch out the craft
Of days as etched upon stone,
We engrave epitaphs.

The moon in water
swallows the mirror & shines
Through a glass darkly.

Part 2. Gorilla Sky.

1.)

i.

First came the salad days
Fresh in sweet pods & green mush,
Then as the squeezed juices churned bitter
There came,
Chaos, Diaspora, turmoil, shattering
& splitting,
There came,
Dissension, conflict, sickness & loss of love,
Our earth”s archetypes rent asunder
& cast to the corners of the earth in their antagonisms.
On this tortured rainbow,
On this threshold of kiss
On black lips, Earth Mother,
Your black omnipotent tongue
Licks this heart’s red blood
Trickling to feed a handful of stars
Flight through the spheres.

ii.

Gorilla sky,
Pug nose, sad eyes
in wrinkled bags.

Drenched in
my dressing gown,
I watch cockroaches
singing in the rain.

iii.

Top of the
morning to you
top tilted top
hat tilted top
sky to passers bye
& I why, why,
why wonder
don’t look now
look away, look
away, look away
does she presence
beauty everywhere
all the milk
white spilt heaven
gone west, gone west:
if you were
the only girl
in the world
& I was
the only boy.

iv.

Ancestor of the stars
of sun & moon
of the first day,
the first sky, the first cry.

Ancestor of the wilderness
of earth’s heart’s blood,
descendant ancestor,
ancestor of the spheres,
ancestor of first fears
of 10.000 straw dog years,
ancestor of the mortal day:

who has left,
who was never here,
who will not return
but who has been
in existence somewhere,
ancestor of earth, sea
& the Gorilla sky.

Part. 3. Lord of the Mice.

1.)

i.

At times I write in my white cell
in which the light shines through.

I scratch in black ink
& watch vertigo cracks
for spiders to appear.

Outside is pandemonium,
a one word poem.

Inside is the silent white wall
with only the turn of the page.

ii.

Georgian coquette,
ruffles & coifed
wigette wrought
in cream meringue:
ostrich plumes
delicately silhouetted.

iii.

Keep your back straight
Keep your shoulders back
Keep your diaphragm in
& your chin level, look straight
Ahead, keep a stone face,
Wear dark glasses, listen to
The wind & walk on, walk on
…………..& you”ll never………..

iv.*

Through a Glass Darkly:
one difference lies in that writing &
translation were more or less simultaneous,
we were always under the spell of the originals
& therefore did not need to re capture past moods.

* Derived from Foreword to
Doctor Brodies Report.
J.L.B & N.T. di. Gi.

v.

Alpha & Omega.

The cat stretches
Like a penis
Trembling into repose
But poised. Cat
God, Cat Goddess,
Sleek as silk,
Lick themselves asleep

& the mice
Begin to play

Where I scratch

Lord of the Mice,
The galley boy
On the burning deck,
The rubbish man
Up to the neck.

I wash the floor
On which I slip.
I carry the rubbish
Out to the tip.

Part 4. Feet.

1.)

i.

Flat feet
Down at heel.
Black feet
Running on before.
Washed feet
Alms after ablutions.

ii.

My dreams are living memories
In other worlds from which I speak.
Immanence is in my imagination
As imminence is also distance.

iii.

Love is like a violin *
Play it long & strong
& you might leap or win.
Play it weak & thin
& you might weep or grin.

* Ken Dodd.

iv.

Photo Gene @ 13.

I know, I know,
I know you. You
Were conscious
Then, as I now, as
You look at me,
As if you know
Me, as if you know
I know & yet we
Are not, we are as
Other lifetimes, we
Are as strangers as
I remember your
Light is the same
Still as mine now
In present reducto.

2.)

i.

Life is the bird’s song as it leaves its
throat. Life breaks on its own wing.

Ravens & vultures patrol light limits
over burning precipices, rock flames
that keep the dark side of the hill,

Where stray cub or foal would fall
forever on that fell, even as the seethed
kid knows the first light of instant
blindness, as life shines on in the dust.

ii.

The years seem as puddles
In the rain, as I step through
Mud, gravel & watery obscurity.
The door creaks, the knee weaks,
The roof leaks.

iii.*

The curtain falls to ruffles & applause.
The phantom auditorium rises up the walls.
The queen in yellow meringue pirouettes,
Two massive guard henchmen are her gate.
Like pillars of Hercules they stand
& out on the land
The multi-mob glittering robot
Infantrymen parade
Up & down in salute;
& you go on, you go on &
merengue.

& this is the way the world ends
Not with a bang or a whimper
But suddenly as you write it.

iv.

Bitter frost is on the ground
Hoar is on the brow
Feet tread as though on sand
No tracks left in dew.

This the wilderness, this the threshold
This the world, mirage & wall
This the place yet still to be crossed
This the face & shadow to fall.

Yet the wall will fall in its place
& imprison no garden to an orison
Bound to time in veiled space,
Where arms beckon a tinkling caravan.

FIN.
***
Robin Ouzman Hislop 1999