Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Equations of Power

Equations of Power Exiled-in-America Press 2013
The alchemists and old magicians believed that certain words and symbols had power over nature. And in their secret books they inscribed runes, spells, charms which when spoken aloud in the proper circumstances could influence both matter and mind.

Today's scientists also possess (not-so-secret) books written in the special language of mathematics. The spells and charms in these books exert their power not by being spoken aloud but by providing detailed maps of the physical world that can take us places we would otherwise never be able to go.

The "magic" of modern physics resides in a few basic equations which are usually confined to scientific circles. Now psychobotanist Dale Pendell breaks these equations out of their scientific contexts and turns them into verse. Pendell is best known for his Pharmako Trilogy, a deep and original study of mind-altering plant-based substances from coffee, thru cannabis, to Ecstasy and LSD. His work includes a novel The Great Bay, a book about Burning Man (Inspired Madness) and several other books and essays some of which can be found on his website.  Pendell has a clear and distinctive poetic voice which has been likened to William Blake, Gary Snyder and Robinson Jeffers.

The big stars of Equations of Power are Schrödinger's and Maxwell's equations from physics. But Pendell's widely cast net also hauls up the chemistry of gunpowder (The Fire Drug) and of bronze (The Bronze Sword), the natural forces that form serpentine rock and the nautilus shell, nuclear physics, the equivalence of energy and mass and Consciousness Explained. Here are some excerpts from Pendell's new book plus the short poem The Wave Collapse, in which Pendell ponders the central mystery of quantum theory--how do quantum possibility waves "collapse" to form the world's actual facts?

Schrödinger's Wave Equation
Erwin Schrödinger spent the night
in adulterous fornication
with his mistress.
By morning he was thinking
about waves
Wave being wife, or,
on that night, close enough,
the good physicist assumed 
that the energy of the whole thing
was conserved--that a push here
created an equal and opposite
pull there.
The Fire Drug
The violence of the mixture was noted--
some burned faces and a burned-down house.
It took another century or two of experiment,
continually increasing the proportion of nitre--
it seemed impossible to add too much.
At three-quarters, the mixture exploded.

This was new.  They called it huo yao: the fire-drug,
In a bamboo tube, fire shot from the end--
they were strapped to the tips of spears,
launched as rockets, or sealed as bombs.
The Wave Collapse
On the beach where I grew up
     long shore break--
the huge combers breaking
     all at once--
sometime with
     a loud crack
the water
     pulled and stretched
the hollow tube like a
     tunnel of light
barely a foot of water, the
     sand sucked skyward
for one extended and suspended
     moment, different
from the crash of the water
     against the beach sand,
which, at night,
     would shake the house.
One wonders
     how chlorophyll
can be so quiet
     snatching fire
from the sun.

Dale Pendell, the psychobotany guy

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Seven Reconfigured Sacraments

Et introibo ad altare Dei.

1. The Sacrament of Reality
There is no God but Unnamable Mystery;
Any other god is nothing before This.

2. The Sacrament of Baptism
When I first realized
That I was going to die.

3. The Sacrament of Confirmation
The times I recognize
Another of my tribe.

4. The Sacrament of Confession
I did it
And I'm glad.

5. The Sacrament of Thankfulness
This impulse of gratitude
For the complex living paradox
Of my own existence

And the existence of everything else.

And for wonderful companions.

6. The Sacrament of Communion
The times I spent
Alone and naked
With one of the opposite sex.

And everything that came from this.

7. The Sacrament of Love
I will love the Unnamable Mystery
And all of Her lesser Mysteries.

With my whole heart
I will love every part.