Volume 15, Issue 2 October 2015
The Brain Issue
VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2015
...there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind. VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941)
On the Creation of Consiousness
The Brain Issue
My Cheerful Asymmetry
A Memory Buried in Years
Wave of Light
The Final Stair
The Permanence of Memory
Suicide Notes of my Former Self
My Lady: Desiree
I Was Told to Use My Head
A bowl full of brains
HUGH FISHER BREANNA KETTLES LYDIA MAINVILLE
Neuroscience and Neuro-Limits
LAURIER MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION GROUP DR. DON MORGENSON
AVETHOS YHREN KIRAN BHULLAR SARAH
VICTORIA MACEDO DONNIQUE WILLIAMS REBECCA ALLISON
JOSEPH BRANNAN JOSEPH BRANNAN
ALEXANDRIA SCHNEIDER JOSHUA HOWE
AC ANONYMOUS AMANDA SCHEIFELE CHARIS HESKETH BRENDAN FARDY J. MOORS
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Carina Rampelt email@example.com
Production Manager Brendan Fardy firstname.lastname@example.org
Literary Editor Breanna Kettles email@example.com
Art/Photography Manager Amanda Scheifele firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotions Manager Alexandria Schneider email@example.com
Web Editor Lydia Mainville firstname.lastname@example.org
Brantford Manager Vacant
Art/Photography Intern Christina Manocchio email@example.com
Rebecca Allison, Joseph Branna, Jonathan Collie, Eric Dewar, Charis Hesketh, Victoria Macedo, Donnique Williams
AC Anonymous, Kiran Bhullar, Hugh Fisher, Rebecca Fletcher, Joshua Howe, Maria Kouznetsova, Victoria Macedo, MHEG, Dr. Don Morgenson, J. Moors, Sarah, Avethos Yhren
The Brain Issue You have a beautiful brain. No, that’s not meant to be a cheesy pick-up line. I mean it—the way your synapses fire, sending and receiving nerve impulses, translating sensation from your nerve endings into perception—it’s incredible. Electric. Entrancing. All day long your body sends you little messages: it’s cool outside, the leaves are turning colour, that drink is hot—don’t touch!—that form your perception of your environment. And you send messages back: telling that foot to move, that hand to react, or that eyelid to blink. You are alive and you are electric. Sometimes we’re aware of our own astonishing human charge; an idea crackles around the corners of your mind and you call it a brainstorm. (Or “liiiiiightbulb” if you’re channeling Gru from Despicable Me). You tingle with curiosity and delight. Yet other times, the current we carry feels like the worst kinds of thunderstorms, filled with clouds of anger, grief, anxiety, or pain. In this issue, we put on our rubber safety gear to investigate our human wiring. We open the fuse box, trying to make sense of our very selves: What makes us light up? What sparks our enthusiasm and joy? And, conversely, what makes us short-circuit and crash? As the semester gets busier, please don’t forget to care for your mind. Taking care of your health and happiness is just as important as anything else you’ll learn at university. And you can start with the magazine you’re holding in your hands—take a moment, kick your feet up, and marvel at the miracle you carry between your ears. This issue is for you.
ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Bryan Stephens Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Care Schummer Vice Chair Abdiasis Issa Treasurer John Pehar Director Rafey Sattar Director Thomas Lillo Community Director Fred Kuntz Community Director Gary Doyle Community Director Angela Foster Corporate Secretary Laura Buck
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COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors.
Carina Rampelt Editor-in-Chief
The Brain by JONATHAN COLLIE The complexity of the brain is always something that has inspired me. The design explores how our passions and experiences grow to shape us as a person. When I think of the brain, I think of it as being a system with each individual part working together to form something huge. The gears within the design symbolize the complexity of the brain and how little we may truly know about the brain and its undetermined potential.
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NEXT ISSUE Romance On stands Winter 2016
On the Creation of Consciousness AVETHOS YRHEN
And I was And you were here?
IE N COLL JONAT HA
THE BRAIN ISSUE KIRAN BHULLAR
Maybe I do defy all logic. Perhaps I’m a walking, talking contradiction. They tell me, “you’re being irrational, illogical,” “shut your mind off for a while,” “pause, you’ll be at peace.” But what if peace is something only to be found deep beneath the ground? What if? What if shutting my mind off means, there is no longer any fight in me? That there is no longer any life in me? So I ask them, “Where’s the logic in that?”
Self-Care Tips LAURIER MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION GROUP There are various ways that you can take care of yourself, most of which require little effort or time commitment. These are just SOME of the simple things that you can do for yourself. Add to this list or even create your own. Make it a priority to take care of you! When you have a busy schedule, take time for yourself to help you feel more refreshed and focused:
1. Participate in activities that will get your body moving, like exercise, dance or sports. 2. Don’t ignore all your aches and pains. Do something nice for your body, like a massage or a warm shower or bath. 3. Try to find elements of humour in your situation, as laughter is the best medicine. 4. Recognize when you need comfort and then seek comfort in a soothing beverage, a warm blanket, a nice smelling candle, or by spending time with a good friend. 5. Take a mental health day off from school when you need a break. 6. Journal your thoughts, or write a story or poem. Writing may provide a much needed release and an opportunity for reflection. 7. Do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time – don’t put it off any longer! 8. Take a spiritual retreat through meditation, mindfulness, prayer, or attending a religious service. 9. Engage in a hobby that you enjoy, such as art, crafts, carpentry, or mechanics. 10. Transport yourself into another world. Take some time to get lost in a book or movie to help you temporarily escape. Daydreaming is another great way to feel like you’ve had a mini-vacation from everyday life. 8
11. Get some sun. A 15 minute sun-break can help you gain your daily requirement for Vitamin D, as well as revitalize your energy levels. 12. Give yourself time to grow and achieve your goals. You may not be where you want to be yet, but celebrate the fact that you are moving in your preferred direction. 13. Crying and laughing are great ways to release emotions that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been holding in. 14. Be playful or silly. Bring out the kid in you by playing in the park, blowing bubbles, drawing with crayons or finger paint, or singing your favourite song aloud. 15. Seek good supports, such as family, friends, romantic partner, or counsellor.
References: Tips for Self-Care. Retrieved from http://www.kalimunro.com/tips_self-care.html; Feeling Blue? Twenty-five self-care tips that Oprah didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell you. Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/33085/feeling_ blue_twenty_five_selfcare_tips.html; Self-Help: Self Care. Retrieved from http://www.wwu.edu/chw/counseling/subpages/subselfhelp/selfsoothing.shtml
Stigma SARAH Crazy. Emo. Disrespectful. Lazy. Shot like paintballs. The words spread, the hits bruise and they say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all in fun. Unreliable. Unreasonable. Untenable. Undesired. Labels. Stuck with glue, sticking where they are not wanted, where they block our paths. Needy. Attention Seeking. Selfish. Moody. Friends and classmates jump on the wagon. The wheels keep rolling and rolling, plowing over anything in their path, picking up speed. Think. Question. Learn. Act. There are Brakes. Glue is not Permanent. Paint can be Wiped Away.
11 CARINA RAMPELT
Wave of Light VICTORIA MACEDO Pajamas on, feet tucked under sheets, socks off. Lights out at 10pm. Dark apartment, window open, breeze blowing through your eardrums. Ambulance siren below. Coming closer, closer gone. Lights still out, it is now 10:05pm. Dark apartment, eyes closed, mind open. Mentally checking off all of the things you’ve completed today. Satisfaction. Yet again. *Ding* Light bulb turns on. Inside your brain. It travels through your every thought, your every idea, your every worry, your every hope. Anxious? Ecstatic? Crazed? Only you know; but so you thought. Your past revisited. Your present impermanent. Your future? Unknown. The light bulb is still on. Its location is wherever you want to take it. Wherever you need to take it. For however long it needs to stay there. It’s now 10:45pm. Time continues to pass, but you have control. Finally. The light bulb dims but those waves are still rolling. This time, you’ve fallen asleep.
Musical Mind DONNIQUE WILLIAMS Thoughts are not like music. They don’t have to make sense. Coherence. That’s an arbitrary rule for dynasties past. Chaos. Wilderness. Insensibility. That is beauty. Music captures it. Legendary symbols, a code of sounds that mean nothing to the naked non-musical eye. The symbols only come alive when he closes his physical eyes, listens with his fingertips, with the flinching of his cheeks, with the intensity of hazel eyes that decode the dashes and hallow circles. Until there it goes. Stops and goes. Stops and goes, only because he hasn’t mastered the harmony of code and fingertips. Of gentleness and passionate touch. So he stops. Stares. Flinches his rosy cheeks and presses on. Uncompromising. Insensible. Noisy. Incessant. Beautiful. Chaotic. Like flying thoughts reaching for higher heights, collapsing on the clouds below. Never ceasing to reach farther each time. No completeness. Not yet. No sense. Not to anyone but him. No sense, not to anything. But music.
HUGH FISHER Four walls surrounded us on the wrong side of sanity. The doors continued to sway from my entrance, and with each mesmerizing swing came a thick swell of emotion. It’d been too long since I’d last visited, and yet the room felt as if it were filled with the same recycled air I’d breathed all those months before. She was at the edge of the bed, a look of confusion drawn across her face. Something about my being there had captivated her, unsettled her, perhaps even frightened her. I couldn’t be sure; I didn’t know what to expect. Absolute silence. It was the first time I’d ever experienced it, but it wasn’t as beautiful as I’d imagined. Only the carts of medication rattling past the door managed to crack the crystal quiet. And even that wasn’t so much a sound as it was a tremor sent through the floor that quaked beneath us. Everything was white. Everything in the room was so damn clean I wouldn’t touch any of it. It was unnatural, I thought, to be that correct—everything in its place, wiped fresh of all meaning. To my right there was a window, and on the sill rested a fading plant. I could tell it missed the real world simply by the way it’d grown—contorting itself up against the stained glass, soaking up what little sunlight managed to leak through. I looked away and found memories, on top the desk in photographs. She followed my eyes and found them, too. But no matter how long she observed them, I knew, their images would never reflect those in her mind. Then I caught my own eyes inside a frame and quickly shifted attention. On top the furniture rested a collection of paintings, their colours quickly receding back into their canvases. Some of them were almost entirely bare, but one in particular pulled me in. It seemed strangely fresh in such a listless setting. In the painting was a home, a familiar place with a lavish garden sprouting in shades of purple and blue under the sunlight. And behind the home there was only darkness. Wind, rain and sleet wiped out the surrounding neighborhood, but the beauty of this place remained untouched. Her eyes flashed in my direction and mine dropped to the blank tiles below. I didn’t know where to start. There I noticed the blanket lying at her feet, poking out from beneath the bed. I remembered it well, each thread hand-sewn together in a web of bright colours. Now it was tucked away, somewhere out of sight, degraded to normalcy. I couldn’t stand it. The minutes passed like hours as I watched the sun slowly falling under the horizon like a capsizing ship. The room filled with shadows, and the fading plant was launched into a world of obscurity, its beauty more obvious than ever as it fought off the darkness. And in the solitude of twilight, dark and light became one. The cruel night was on its way, and all I wanted to do was go home, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave her. I met her gaze, finally, and it endured in a kind of wonderment. I noticed she was smaller than last time. Completely absent minded that her hair was in a tousle, she seemed out of context in a way, an improper gear in an otherwise flawless mechanism. It was a strange feeling, watching her. It was as if the walls were closing in, and I feared they wouldn’t fit her and I both with the clean, white tension trapped between us. I probably should have left, but there was feeling there. It was buried deep, but surviving. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, only that it existed and was of paramount importance. And I wondered if it would eventually resurface, and whether either of us would recognize it when it did. I longed for her to be glad to see me. I ached for a day to come when she might glance over at the corner of seemingly empty photographs and find me looking back at her. And, in that moment, not even the painting of our summer home could split my attention from my beautiful grandmother, because something was finally happening to in her eyes—clouds were forming; they were threatening to rain. She shuffled for a moment, as if uncomfortable. Then let out her concern, the one so present in her stare. With her few mumbled words the silence was shattered, my reality was torn, and for the first time in my life, I experienced heartbreak. “Who are you?”
Mental Workspace REBECCA ALLISON
The mental workspace, Clear, Prepared, Empty. Neurons scan the hallowed halls of the hypothalamus, For a memory, A thought, An emotion, Inspiration, A place to begin. Hair cells growing weary, Of the tapping sound of a pen, Motor neurons, Readily awaiting chemical instruction. Hormones, Encouraging further production of adrenaline, In a fruitless attempt to force productivity. And yet a blank page remains.
The Permanence of Memory JOSEPH BRANNAN You can use the brain of an animal mushed up, with water, to tan a hide.
You can use the lump between your ears to move mountains, (if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bigger than a mustard seed) if you feed it right.
You can use the mind of a child to create empires (or art) depending on what you teach her.
You can create peace or war, if your words are not careful, because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll stick.
You can pass on old tales for millennia to bright new minds, or kill them softly in disuse.
Please exercise caution when operating your brain and ensure that both yourself and all nearby persons are wearing the relevant safety equipment.
Missing Marbles Mar Many Minds Mourning May’s Mayoral Mayhem BREANNA KETTLES LITERARY EDITOR
Hundreds, thousands, millions of reports of lost marbles are sweeping the globe as people everywhere are beginning to realize that they, in fact, have not been aware of the location of their marble-based faculties since around the time their life-expectancy was infinity, because they were two. One such report, filed on May 8th reads: Lost – one set of marbles – gently used since 1995. Last seen on an unknown Saturday in 2003 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, somewhere between reruns of Rupert Bear and supper time. Their original owner misses them dearly, and is offering a substantial reward of bear hugs for their safe return. Of the improbable number of ads placed in the past few months, sadly very few have had positive results. One community member who had not placed an ad, seemed oddly content about his marble-free state. “I don’t know why you folks have been using a marble-based system all these years in the first place. Everyone’s better off not worrying about where all those things end up anyway.” The man then picked up a large sack, whose contents clattered together in a sound that seemed suspiciously similar to glass marbles, and left the city, whistling. Other citizens have vocalized concern over whether or not the marbles were important at all, since we seem to have gotten along just fine since their apparent disappearance. “It’s almost like we’re meant to lose them, you know?” A first-year philosophy major explained dreamily. “We lose them when we understand what the world expects of us, and so we sacrifice our marbles for the greater good.” Her view is not shared by all, however, as youth and adults alike are frantically scrambling to reassemble their marble-less lives, despite not realizing that this was the case until the mayor’s emergency press conference that sparked the controversy.
“I am retiring,” Mayor Bryan Stephens announced last May. “Due to the fact that I have recently lost my marbles, and feel that without them I cannot properly lead our beloved city.” He then tossed a smoke bomb to the stadium floor, and was gone when the smoke cleared. Several groups have formed search parties for the lost marbles, and are currently combing local schools, homes, and highly-judgmental family functions for any clues as to why the disappearances have continued en masse, completely unnoticed until now. If you have any information as to why it has become a social norm to be without your marbles, please do not hesitate to call 226-867-5309 and ask for Jenny.
JOSEPH BRANNAN What do you call an institution for higher learning founded to give free education to large African mammals? Hippocampus.
My Cheerful Asymmetry LYDIA MAINVILLE
In the waiting room this morning, I heard on the radio that the left side of the face is more expressive than the right because it is controlled by the right side of the brain, which plays a more dominant role in emotional processing. I know it’s not so simple, but how funny it is to think that all this time, my crooked smile may have been the work of my brain’s right hemisphere. I don’t mind it so much anymore.
Neuroscience and Neuro-limits DR. DON MORGENSON
Every introductory psychology student, or any well informed student, has heard of Phineas P. Gage and his unfortunate accident. In Vermont, 1848, a meter-long tamping iron rod sparked an explosion. The rod shot upward and penetrated the jaw and frontal cortex of railway foreman Gage. The accident gave Gage a brand new personality and gave students of brain damage an iconic case. Transformed from an amiable and responsible foreman into a temperamental and irresponsible workman, the iron, according to Kathryn Schulz (The Nation) “...also drilled a hole in Cartesian dualism, that intuitive distinction we all make between our minds and our brains.” While in the past we waited, some impatiently, for such accidents to occur so we could study the behavioral consequences, today, scientists have developed minimally invasive techniques for studying the human brain, and brain imaging is one very “hot” topic. Such interest is quite understandable. The human brain, a fully portable “computer”, weighing a mere 1350 grams (1.5 kilos) has some of the following remarkable features: The ability to program its own reproduction as well its own destruction; a memory capacity for most stimulus inputs for 70 years or more; the discriminative capacity to distinguish between a Chardonnay and a vintage Bordeaux wine; can detect the difference between the scents of Chanel and Oscar de la Renta; can assist in refining our social skills; and can determine whether a small sphere traveling from the mound, thrown by R.A. Dickey is a knuckler or a slider. The human brain is just such a computer with its at least one hundred billion nerve cells reaching out to as many as 200,000 other nerve cells, into coordinating networks of stunning complexity. All the while our brains are pulling out order from what appears to be a complex chaos, it is busy laying down memory tracts, tissue centers giving rise to lust and love, setting the clock for slumber, propelling movements which become ballet, imagining a Virginia Woolf novel, composing a Beethoven symphony or filling a van Gogh canvas. And given the brain’s capacity, we are very willing to invest in brain studies. Our government has created a Canada Brain Research Fund whose millions of dollars will be matched by the Brain Canada Foundation. With a fascinated public fully on board it is a lucrative business, as well. Just take a minute to peruse those related volumes on the book shelves – “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”; “Thinking: Fast and Slow”; “The Brain That Changes Itself ”; and “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife”.
It is commonplace how the mass media find a little something and then run with it, sensationalizing early as well as very modest findings. For example, an article which ran in The Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch!) trumpeted: “How Neuroscience Can Help to Find True Love” and argued that when you see “That very special person, your brain’s neurons go wild.” Of course most neuroscientists would eschew such a silly conclusion, but in that highly competitive neuroscience environment (finite number of research grants) some scientists share the responsibility, as they hasten to publish premature conclusions. But the mass press + social media are the main culprits in promising much more than can be delivered, given the current state of our knowledge regarding the human brain. At the forefront are all of those fMRI (functionalMRI) studies reporting that when a part of the brain lights up, that part of the brain which “lights up” is solely responsible for the behavior being tested. In reality, the brain works as an orchestra with many different sections working together to make a final harmonic contribution. Just one example - Robert Schulman (“Brain Imaging”) writes that we have this useful concept of a “working memory”, but the activity described by this construct is widely distributed across at least 30 contributing regions of the brain. Still we hear that emotion is centralized in the amygdala; executive control centers and complex decision making are located in the prefrontal lobes, etc. All of which is very misleading to say little of how reductionistic such statements may be. While we might be tempted, reading Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” or marveling in front of Carel Fabritius’ “The Goldfinch”, such an aesthetic experiences cannot be reduced to which parts of the brain light up or its many neuronal correlates. Our studies of the brain are indeed, in their infancy. All told, what we now know about the brain is a long distance from any conclusive map of functional analysis of the human brain. A brain simple enough to be understood is much too simple to produce that human mind able to understand it. Of course the brain creates and ultimately controls the emergent mind, which in turn, influences the brain. That human mind seeking to understand the brain remains one of the great scientific challenges of modern times. Our task is certainly not to ignore evidentiary arguments or scientific data, but rather to actively harvest the exciting gains made by neuroscience and what facts and data do exist, but at all times understanding the significant limits of science and those data bases. This makes the posture of humility in the face of that compelling mystery of the human brain, so vitally important.
“Our brains are pulling out order from what appears to be a complex chaos...”
A Memory Buried in Years REBECCA FLETCHER
“Do you ever think about suicide?” Hannah tore away from her tea, and three different thoughts to look across the table. “Why do you ask?” Ian shrugged. “Curious.” The silence of thought fell over the pair, and Hannah returned to her mind, only to find that her previous thoughts had escaped on the breeze of her mind. A memory had taken its place.
She is standing before the weeping girl under the tall pine tree in the school yard. The girl’s slender shoulders are shaking with a helpless fear that no fifth-grader should know. “I suppose we all think about it sometimes. It’s a little bleak for three in the afternoon conversation though, don’t you think?” Her companion was intentionally focusing on his cup of coffee. He’d forgotten to ask the barista for lactose-free milk again, and was wary of whether the stomach pain later was worth it. Hannah noted that he’d been increasingly forgetful lately. “I just sort of wished we talked about other options, instead of labeling it ‘sad’ or ‘cowardly’.”
She wishes that she knew what to say to comfort the girl she barely knows, but had begun to consider a friend. Not one word in her too-large vocabulary can properly convey her desire to help. No gesture feels sincere enough. So she watched, useless against the pained creature curled up before her. “There are always other options though. Loads of people get help, and find another way.” Ian began bobbing his head from side to side, a sure sign that he was becoming annoyed with her cavalier responses. “That’s not the kind of other option I mean. You’re thinking of the happy-ending as the goal of help.” “And you’re not.” “I’m talking about if something like assisted suicide is morally-justified. People are always focusing on reasons to not kill yourself, but a lot of the moral worries can be bypassed if you get someone else to do it for you. So if your best friend came up to you, and wanted you to off them, should you?”
Every other kid on the playground is laughing up a storm. A basketball pounds on the asphalt court nearby like the drumbeat that follows the hangman to the gallows. Two hundred and thirty-eight students and yard-patrolling teachers, out enjoying the sun. Two face off in the shadow of a pine tree. “Jesus, man! Don’t say stuff like that!” Hannah nearly choked on her gulp of tea. “That’s awful to think about.” Her voice was much quieter when she saw the look on Ian’s face. “Yeah, I guess it’d make me a monster to ask a friend to cope with killing me for the rest of their life…”
“Hannah? Will you do me a favour?” a small voice asks. She paused, hearing the drumming basketball somewhere out of sight and time. “What are you saying?”
The girl lifts her head from her knees. Her eyes are dark and hollow, like a dead tree. Ian glances up from his coffee at last. His face is a blank slate. She can’t tell if he’s being serious anymore. “Hannah?”
Will you kill me?
Suicide Notes of my Former Self Note 1 Call me Mrs. Doubtfire Call me Teddy Roosevelt Call me John Keating oh captain my captain Some call me the world’s greatest dad Or genie if you know I’ve been a dad Ive been a teacher I’ve been a lost boy But the one character I’ve never played Is Robin Williams
Note 2 Fuck you all You never knew What I’ve suffered through Through it all I’ve been appalled At the sight you’ve come to love
Note 3 Time is of the essence As I have so little left And my watches reflect My mind, my mind and time gone by The time is being taken Taken, but I’ll take control Keep the clocks As I have lost Anything I could laugh about
(and how I write my own) ALEXANDRIA SCHNEIDER
Note 4 You’re only given a little spark of madness if you lose that, you’re nothing (and) death is nature’s way of telling you your table is ready (so) we use comedy as a cathartic way to deal with trauma (and) no matter what anyone tells you words and ideas could change the world I’ve quoted it all knowing it once meant something An idea that my life is mine for taking
Note 5 Call me Mrs. Doubtfire As you have all come to know She makes up The father you know You never knew What I’ve suffered through The papers never tell The stories locked behind doors The time is being taken Taken, but I’ll take control My life is mine alone Please don’t say you know Death is nature’s way Of saying your table is ready Recall the days of laughter Funny should not be fleeting I want you all to remember The man that you knew Not the death of a man But the life that grew I did not want you all to see What a disease could do to me Rip me of my well-being Nothing but a sight of pity Always find a way to laugh Always find a reason to smile Always remember I’m still around Always remember Robin Williams
My Lady: Desiree JOSHUA HOWE I came home once in late May, to find my Lady Desiree, Upon my chair within my room; In black garments she did consume, Meager remnants of hallowed light, And with it my pure, snowy white; Bleeding from my heart day and night, Unbeatable. Every single following day, I now see my Lady Desiree, Sapping life from beautiful notes, Picking dark corners where she dotes, On none but me, or so it seems, As my petals wilt her eyes gleam; Colour begins to fade to grey, Locked in my room always to stay, In the arms of my Lady Desiree, Alone.
Eventually they arrive, Friendly hands to help me drive, In cautious force my Girl away, Indeed, my Lady Desiree, With hugs and squeezes and curt nods, Putting to trial the evil odds, Dismantling my Lady fast, And damning shivers into the past, Thank you. But still yet on most somber nights, When mirth has tired of winning fights, A whiff of her hair floats around, Upon the air with tension bound; And I long to be taken away, By my lovely Lady Desiree, Forevermore.
Brain Storm AC ANONYMOUS
Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About EVERYTHING. About my powers of: Influence, capacity, creation, autonomy, impatience, and misarchism. But there are more. My neurons link to other worlds where, in turn, these worlds think back. Today is cloudless and bright, but a storm is brewing, so I think I must choose door number two and follow the transmitters.
Tokophobia AC ANONYMOUS
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 The fear of child birth has far greater implications than simply forcing melons through the womb. There’s a storm overhead and I’m downing in fluid - There’s an amniotic flood because when it’s time to open my eyes for the first time, My life will already be full of LIES and that’s just torture.
Neurons and Transmitters
Sunday, April 26th, 2015 I have this indescribable power. It’s like a mighty gust of the unknown Except it isn’t. It’s like a group of mothers. But it’s not. Instead, I can call out to it to fill my head and answer any question. There doesn’t seem to be a limit, but therein lies its only weakness: With so many doors to open, each linked in some manner and no telling where they lead... where should I begin?
I Was Told to Use My Head AMANDA SCHEIFELE
It’s a mad mad mad world out there. First, you need to choose anywhere: the stationary shop sounds nice – I need a new planner. But what parts of speech? “The. Weather. Is. Blue – well, more grey I’d say.” Move beside her – oh but not too beside! and don’t forget the forget-me-nots! (they match her cheeks) Geeze pink is a bewildering lobe.
Sounds like perennial. Sweet streams over bumpy moss. A golden ribbon through her hair looks like a streak of my grandmother’s gold. I used to play with it when I was a child, shining and slithering up and out of my little fingers. Perceiving a galaxy of gold like the inner skin of a ring, yellow is a beautiful lobe.
They say that the first thing you forget about someone is their voice. But I always remember. That one flash of a laugh, that one hand motion of an explanation, the one smile of a memory, the head tilt of confusion, those crescent moon eyes cracking at the corners from dusty pressure oh wait... Ya blue is a forgetful lobe.
My breathing is typical. I assume. Well, now that I detect it, it’s rather uncertain. Was it always this slow? What if I’m about to crumple?
Coordinate. If we have to walk single file, walk with her left foot first. Don’t slouch. But don’t look too rigid either. How about we try normal? Normal is relative! The whole point is that you don’t notice ‘normal’ until it’s compromised so how can you tell if you’re fine when you’re not even aware until it’s kidnapped! Red is a frustrating lobe.
Then I’d be breathing sooner wouldn’t I...? Some busker is terribly live outside! oh. it’s just the reverberation of my blood. White is a very self-aware lobe.
Eyes. Eyes everywhere, even on the blind, where hands become eyes. Eyes become hands gently lifting up. Feeling the white hills of the back then slipping down and over the curves where the length of her neck is as smooth as a robin’s red breast and her hair as soft and firm as the primaries. Green is an intoxicating lobe.
The Final Stair MARIA KOUZNETSOVA
Today, I reached the final stair. I didn’t know it until just now, since I was enshrouded by a fog of immediate concerns, but when I took a minute to look up, I saw before me a door. It was the same old unremarkable door that had been there before—that had been there all my life, in fact— that seemingly unattainable door, just too high to step through, and until now, too far away to even think about. This time, when I looked at it, there seemed to be something different. Instead of frowning at me as it had done throughout my uphill journey, its surface appeared softer, as though its harsh edges had completely disappeared; I saw for the first time the intricate carvings covering its entire surface. The door looked beautiful, now I thought about it—it was even illuminated in a bright golden glow. I cast my eyes about for the source of light. My gaze came to rest on the previously unoccupied space below the door: a stair. Not just any stair, I can assure you. This particular stair radiated a blazing golden aura that warmed everything it touched. Unlike the door, it was quite plain; its sole decoration was a sort of trim along the top edges. If it weren’t for the trim, I might be afraid to step on it for fear of disturbing its polished surface. But besides all this, the stair was beckoning: it was inviting me to enter the door. Just then, I realized what this step really meant. I had been told that it would appear, that I would be one of the lucky ones who would see it through the fog without a fan. And here it was, a reward for my hard work, and a blessing. I also understood that I had an opportunity to look back at all the trials that had come and gone during my travels. From atop this elevation, this peak in my adventure, I would be able to see all the hills, valleys, forests, and pastures I had encountered. But before I moved, it occurred to me that I might spend so much time looking at the landscape before me and reminiscing at every blade of grass, pebble, and dewdrop that I might forget about the stair waiting patiently behind me. Even worse, what if the landscape was still covered in the fog I had just left, which would swallow up my eyes when I turned around? Perhaps there was no need to look back one last time. After all, I could picture every minute detail in my mind. I paused for a moment, trying to decide. Then the solution came: when I left, I would be carrying the landscape along with me in my heart, never to be lost. And surely, I could look back later, for where there is a door, there are almost always windows. My courage had gathered during this unanticipated pause; it was time. As I planted my feet on the stair—confidently, but nonetheless with care—four words reverberated through my soul: I have a future.
Mind Games CHARIS HESKETH
Let’s play a mind game shall we Don’t be afraid it’s just between you and me You say one thing and I think another I guess you’re winning now Maybe I shouldn’t bother. Round 2 is coming up And I can feel you intoxicating me Making me lose my train of thought Making me lose my dignity Now in the final round I have figured you out I can make you run in circles I can make you believe in miracles Like a naive teenager in love This mind game is just between you and me Now it’s my turn to make you lose your thoughts It’s my turn to make you lose your dignity.
A bowl full of brains BRENDAN FARDY A bowl full of brains, a bowlful of brains Signal and check blind spots, which lurk between lanes Commissures link hemispheres, from left and from right To right and left also, step into the light With rods and with cones, retinas part eye, part brain The primary commissure, the pride of the mane But no lions exist, in the cranium’s core Just structures aplenty, for lobes there are four The corpus callosum, makes two halves a whole But bottomless still, are these brains in this bowl No white matter here, nor grey matter there Just candy indeed, but remain aware When the bowl has been emptied, the candy consumed When the bottom’s been swept, when the brains have been broomed A brain still remains, and it’s ripe with potential Action potential, these axons, they’re mental Voltage gated, the channels, they’ve waited But brains are but tools, educate them in schools And they’ll swim with the sharks, in the depths of the pools Like dolphins in oceans, perception of motions Hardwired brains have spinal devotions From pia to arachnoid, and then out to dura mater Each meninx protects, meninges shield until later In this bowlful of brains, these things don’t exist With candy-fuelled imagination, please peer through the mist A real brain is great, exquisite, divine But the brains in this bowl, don’t touch them, they’re mine.
Thoughts J. MOORS
In images I see in books The brain is smooth, rounded A large united mass Each curved ridge perfectly snug Why then, does mine feel Shattered A mess of pieces, Sharp edges Fragmented beyond repair Each corner trying to fit My thoughts cannot flow Smoothly across nerves But jump about Searching, stopping Stuck In an incoherent mess of matter