I’m often asked by parents what advice can I give them to help get kids interested in science? And I have only one bit of advice. Get out of their way. Kids are born curious. Period. I don’t care about your economic background. I don’t care what town you’re born in, what city, what country. If you’re a child, you are curious about your environment. You’re overturning rocks. You’re plucking leaves off of trees and petals off of flowers, looking inside, and you’re doing things that create disorder in the lives of the adults around you.
And so then so what do adults do? They say, “Don’t pluck the petals off the flowers. I just spent money on that. Don’t play with the egg. It might break. Don’t….” Everything is a don’t. We spend the first year teaching them to walk and talk and the rest of their lives telling them to shut up and sit down.
So you get out of their way. And you know what you do? You put things in their midst that help them explore. Help ‘em explore. Why don’t you get a pair of binoculars, just leave it there one day? Watch ‘em pick it up. And watch ‘em look around. They’ll do all kinds of things with it.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (via senoranelson)
i still feel the braille of your jacket in my hand from
when i clapped you on the back of it there, there
because i didn’t know what to do with my hands
and i didn’t know you could even hug that tight
which is to say, that you even hugged at all.
i always thought you only ever hugged your knees
or the air thick with the art school smoker’s cough of the stars
constellated over rooftops glazed with gravel that the
back of your jacket will always recognize before it
recognizes splayed out fingers and their
tarnished mood rings like bells when they meet the
nubs of copper button ends.
there’s something disarming in the way he says goodbye: like he
doesn’t want you to leave. because i mean, we all secretly
want each other to leave, eventually
except sometimes when we don’t and that’s
when we squeeze just a bit harder before reducing each other to pixels.
his jacket is embedded into the fate line bisecting my palm. i have rivers of
denim trying to leak silt into the smirks on my skin and that’s probably why i don’t like to wear pants anymore
i like how stockings feel like cilantro,
laughing under its breath into my skin.
there’s mesh i like to wear, like my legs are salmon
that broke the surface of their watered down atmosphere,
taking the nets with them because they got sick of being
scrutinized in the deli, limp and nervous
on the dinner plate next to your crackers.
Fuck Your Crackers
says the Salmon, blowing the ringed ghosts of cloves
through cocktail sauce lips and into your face.
Fish are the birds of water, they cut through the atmosphere that tadpoles inhabit by your ankles the same way birds cut through clouds of charcoal that cracked asphalt canvases sneeze into the ozone
layered with thinning membrane
so if salmon would wear mesh then
i bet that birds with legs ignorant to the brush
of wind strokes and the glaze from the tops
of cumulonimbus candycorns
would wear leopard printed nylon,
skin like the Rogue Archduke Of The Jungle.
There would be robins with legs fit for sock drawer spreads,
magazines and twilit marathons through orangelit alleyways
with rusty clutches oxidized to catch loose threads from leopard
skin that makes it easier to cut through
puddles of mountain dew bottle caps and
cigarette butts like collected drops of acid rain
hungry for tadpoles.
robins mate for life, finding love within the buddy system,
navigating misty back alleys with whistles
that ricochet off the copper buttons on the denim
draping the shoulders of rooftop romantics sliding down fire escapes.
when they return to empty nests, i like to tell myself that their chest is crimson because the Serengeti is staining their feathers from the other side.
when he returns to an empty kitchen, i like to tell myself that his nails
are dirty with tobacco from under the tongues of urban window boxes
that sprout mint leaves that the moonlight spills over for
so it’s okay when he scratches too hard.
botany and skin cells:
fertilizer where trenches used to be.
The internet says: “Most healthy leopards prefer wild prey to humans. Injured, sickly, or struggling cats may resort to hunting humans and become habituated to it. Although usually slightly smaller than a human, an adult leopard is much more powerful and easily capable of killing them.”
In short, when in danger, the leopard can be a man-eater.
they don’t like it when you find your spots:
the gazelle isn’t supposed to know
that when provoked, it can be a man eater.
the gazelle isn’t supposed to know
it can pounce on its prey. the gazelle isn’t
supposed to know
that it’s not really a gazelle,
but a panther with a bird in its chest.
I took a look at your hands once, buzzing with pixels that leaked through
the back of your phone. i could see myself there
if i squint into the braille of your knuckles, layered with asphalt
over membraned canvas over ricocheting pops that snap
future power chords back into place, i can see where the
gravel sneered into your skin like silt from the orangelit
nostrils over back alley fire escapes.
we never touched hands but that’s because no one
ever knows what to do with their hands when the birds
live inside chest cavities. Leave them crossed, or knuckled into fists
waiting in your pockets for when anyone gets too close.
red breasted robins you can’t reach
to protect so you wear animal hyde or denim
and you watch for rusty nails looking
to collect the rings that spot or
bounce off your skin.
i listen for the clink between ringed metal and nubbed copper where my fingers meet your jacket and i recognize the sound,
clipped from the oxidized clutches of the alleys
that grab for my legs when I cut through them.
I know you would never lurk there, waiting to pounce
for gazelles, but there are so many that would. They
wear your jacket.
Go to the rooftops when you can’t sleep, but remember that you can’t fly the way the wings inside your chest can. Trust me not to crush it when I hug you. Trust I won’t cage you and
I’ll trust you not to pierce your nails into my skin when you sense
the Serengeti whistling beneath it.
can we just take a moment to imagine little cute nine-year-old hermione reading matilda
and peering into this book about a smart, bookish girl who could move things with her mind
and then can you imagine her concentrating very hard on the books on the bookshelf and slowly, slowly, getting them to move
If you have to treat me differently because you heard I’m a feminist, you subconsciously realize that there is something wrong with your normal behavior.
This is so true for a whole assortment of things but I’ve never been able to put it into words. Like when people find out I’m queer and they suddenly act less homophobic. I have relatives who magically stop showing their racist tendencies around people of color. Just because you don’t display your prejudice around the people you’re prejudiced against doesn’t make you a good person - it still means you’re shitty, but also extra shitty because you realize your behavior is offensive and you only display it around people who won’t be immediately harmed.