‘The Planetary Procession’ by John Tuttle

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Centered in our island universe
Sits the galactic star enthroned
A sun to our own world
Yet a star insignificant
In the grandest of designs.

During time and life’s evolution
Nine celestial bodies, only eight at times
Complete their revolutions
Around a dying ball of plasma
Emitting a luster all search for.

An infant in comparison
To its planetary neighbors
Mercury’s mercurial temperatures
Differ greatly
Between day and night.

Mercury’s adjacent sister
The venomous Venus
Named after goddess of love
With sulfuric acid for rain
And Venusian volcanism on which to stand.

Then there’s our own Earth
With its green pastures,
Waters azure and Navy blue,
Its earthly odors, worldly things,
And lifeforms of great array.

The Bringer of War is up
Stained scarlet as of blood
Marred with mares nd marks
Intriguing us for decades,
Mars who was the lover of Venus.

Black holes, white holes,
Dark energy and light
The traveler passes
Hoping not to be guided astray
Even by a field of asteroids.

Now come giant globes of gas
The Jovians they are named
And Jupiter is their king
With a jovial size himself
As the cosmos expands, his eye shrinks.

Saturn’s satire is a halo
But it winds around the waist.
Called ‘lord of the rings’ by some
Saturn is saturated in hydrogen
Gravity keeping the sphere inflated.

Uranus ranks high among the names
That bring laughter to children
When bodily urges are on the mind.
Ice breaking, ground shattering
Revealing the sun as true.

As inept as Neptune may be
Spinnign upon its messed-up axis
It may also be home
To diamond-crystal rain
Enough to make anyone quite rich.

Poor little Pluto, so planate and puny
‘Tis neither giant nor gaseous.
Like an ominous variable
“Planet X” it had been dubbed
Yet its definition always varies.

Dark matter one week
But once finally spotted
A definite planet was made out
Then reclassified a dwarf the next
Now back to “planetoid,” not very unique.

We wonder how they got there
What roles they still have to play
Or dare to think they’re like fingerprints
Something left behind after fowl play
Or a Master’s hand painting all the day.

Questions spin around in my head
Much as the planets around their sun or is it their father?
There are similar galaxies out there
Filled with both their stars
And their unnamed pedestrians.

We are not alone.

‘Repetitive Forms Around Me’ by John Tuttle

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Those common signs I see around me,
They do exist. Examples:
Stalagtites – I saw them
In a cave’s esophogus
Like darkened perpetual icicles.

Grease – I’ve seen it in the kitchen
Coagulating, solidifying, stiffening
Not unlike the liquid of the lake
Covering the basin with brittle sheet
But not more than a season.

Likewise, the times are seasoned;
Winter with snow like salt sprinkling,
And autumn with soft leaflets
Like the cinnamon on oatmeal.
Golden honey too is poured in.

The honey was the bees’ preservatives
Which we confiscated in a trade
For simple water and artificial sugar.
Sweet nectar sits in shelved jars
Awaiting a price tag and consumption.

The strawberries Mom bought yesterday
Are getting white fuzz in their pores,
Reminding it’s not too late to shave,
To remove this weight hiding me
From those with an unkindly gaze.

Tuataras are like mini cyclopses
With a third eye that’s not what it seems
Not like yours or mine
Yet still it senses the light of moon and star.
But even tuataras don’t know why it’s there.

A droplet or a driplet rolling
Vibrating as it goes across the car window
Reminds me of brighter, warmer days
When working beneath the sun beating
Sweat beaded up and crawled down my face.

As the steam rises from the river running
In times where air and water are different
Fluctuating vastly between their temperatures
So now I glance over at my coffee
From which there rises steam fuming also.

Once enkindled, flames lick their friends
Like a dog, they continue to caress their comrades.
Not moistened, instead the fuel dries up
It cracks, it shrivels, it decomposes in heat
The fire consumes all once lit.

One time at school I stared at a map
Hanging on the wall in the library
Not during geography, mind you,
This I did of my own free will.
And in the nations I saw shapes of animals.

Africa and Europe when combined
To my eyes resemble a canine
I looked to the Americas and tilted the world on its side
Now North ans South together made a duck
And Greenland appeared as a wolf on the hunt.

The rest was a pale azure
And I wondered how much of those seas
Could really be explored
Full of bubbly, tentacled marine creatures
Those like the squid, jellyfish, anemone, nautilus.

Those tentacle crawlies remind me of spaghetti
Stringy, each appendage is dangling loose
The meatballs, three at most, are mixed in
Seeming to me like eyeballs forever sealed.
No matter; I can’t eat them on Friday.

Fish have mosaic-like scales; so do serpents
But they are different and not for weighing.
A male lion has a mane as does a stallion.
But the horse’s is not the same.
The hair lays flat against his neck.

In a way, the mythical brutes fabricated
By the uneducated ancients do exist:
The Kraken: on a smaller scale, I’m sure
The Dragon: minus the firebreathing lungs
Even the unicorn: an equine with a horn of a prehistoric bovine.

Thus in veritably everything I see
And all the things I experience and do
I learn about my surroundings,
Those both far and near
To compare and comprehend them.

‘Jungle Clashing Within’ by John Tuttle

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art by John Tuttle

The city of slums and shining sights
Is not as clean as country road.
They contrast one another.
Neither can be docile or tamed.

Each holds its own dangers
As well as unique delights
These varying dominions of coexistence
Between architecture and natural habitat.

The concrete jungle, ruled by wall and stoplight,
Cannot remove Nature’s foothold.
Vines of ivy crawling ever upward and outward
Mingle on buildings’ sides, grafitti-covered.

Cracks in pavement serve as furrows
For weeds and arbor seedlings
As underfoot they’re trampled
By all the busy passers-by.

A forest of steel, glass, and brick,
A city to be quite precise,
Appreciates flower and rooftop garden
But forgets what gifts they bring.

‘The Perfect Utopia — For How Long’ by John Tuttle

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art by John Tuttle

Many of the organisms on the planet coexist in a vast harmonious ecosystem, a natural utopia, the most perfect earthling utopia. Symbiosis is a part of citizenship. It’s not kindness. Simply, symbiosis is the right thing to do. The mutual goodwill and aid ensure the survival of all. The spider hangs her webbed hammock betwixt the trees. Wind shapes the faces of stone. Algae and moss reduce the condemned structures to heaps of rubble. The ants, the construction workers, build up and dig beneath. The bees produce golden honey for their children, the generation of the future.

And likewise, songbirds nestle their eggs warmly aloft in the arbor. Leaves fall softly and silently in the autumn. Flower and leaf fade and pass; they move on. Spores move into the unoccupied neighborhood, and fungus takes the place of flower. The foot of the tree feels for soil. Roots cling to present life. Leaves of scarlet cover grass so green. And a snow comes in its due time.

Snow: blanket so white, blanket so light. Snow protects the underworld from frost and chilling bite. Spring dawns upon the world. The white blanket disappears effortlessly and with ease. Hibernation’s sweet call lessens, retreating for the year. A new sort of age begins, starts afresh, repeats itself. The calendar is not a block of time but rather a belt annually renewed. Like the food chain, seasons seem to be a perpetual cycle, linked one to another. Yet in none of these does oil hunter or forester rest. Humanity does not only inhibit a utopia for its own kind, but it invades and drains the safe haven of nature itself.