Michael Tims

A Theory of Air

Gaia’s magnetic field snaps back

displeased at being rubbed

the wrong way.

An aurora borealis pungent

and teeming spills over

the invisible edge.

We are all creatures of air.

Hurricane speed currents plunge

ice crystals down to earth’s surface

as electrostatic discharge

organized in previously unexplored

directions, seeding nimbus dust

with reproducing bacteria

on the troposphere mist.

Our cellular progenitors, we carry

their imprint of sky, engulf

other ephemeral bodies

in symbiont desperation, a reverse

sublimation into mutlicellularity,

Gaia intending our existence

to be a lighter resurfacing

less of the organized, arrogant

tissue we now drag through air.


Pinon pine seedlings withstood the sun thrilled

screams of Shanti and Phillip echoing off the mesa for days

yet hardly grew near the grey vibrational

onslaught of oil drilling machines.

Scrub Jays azure and child-like flourished

hiding pinon nuts for winter inside

a crystal of their own whispered song

notes easily shattered.

Honey fed and veiled beneath the sway

of a thousand pine needles kids

leapt at the garrulous birds light swept

returning the shriek of banter.

When deep extraction began, silencing trees

we kneeled in a circle empty like the wind

our children not yet human and kite waves

of jay all gone to white.

The hope of young things everywhere ruptured

suddenly in the acoustic disassembly

pulled down into the bitter noise of night.

The Acoustic Properties of Ancient People

Sandstone butte and rock

arch witness the brine

of ocean loss,

the nomadic erosion of tribes,

new stands of cottonwood

and stunted blackbrush.

In Horseshoe Canyon

triangulate figures,

insect eyes trapped

inside pictographs, wait

where sound echoes loudest

for Coyote’s message:

Watch for a run of finger

streaked blood hard

along the narrows

and helical whispers

twisted into dreamtime.

South along the Mayan trail

within the realm of Chichen Itza

a flutter of equinox shadows

dive down temple steps

quetzal and serpent converge

deeper into the gray

rattler wind a shaman

scatter-claps back

up like mating chirps.

Within this complex also lies

an echo gallery five hundred forty

feet of wall and serious games

separating two altars.

Priests growl softly at one end

like howler monkeys and jaguars,

hiss like snakes

and these perturbations

re-percuss out of thin air

in the middle of the field.

Warriors pressed hard against the cool

rock fresh with ancestral

voice hiding in the stillness

strain to hear family

and animal guides they have called

churn into persistence where

sound echoes loudest

where blood memory crosses

into the living

and cries sweetly

you will all be remembered.

The Unspeakable Sense of Connection


We are all offspring of another cell,

co-evolved to pulse

and explore how much

transformation can be sustained,

circling back to source

to contact with the origin point.

Because, something has marked us –

a dissociative  tune

a reverie

a wildly profligate

neural network

a pattern of sense

of dimensionality

a stream of data.

This room holds a circle.

We are that membrane

breathing in the calculus of flight;

we are firefly light

inside this sphere,


Water Lilly at the Edge of a Dream

My heart shyness wakes slowly

the first cool morning

after a hot day.

Invited into breath

I lay still

to avoid detection.

Remnant of coiled shadow

fades into an uncertain presence,

someone I loved,

and dissipates into sunlight.

As my voice blossoms into sound

I unfold steadfast

to this moment,

unwilling to dissolve

dream into discrete particles.

Instead I ride the wave crest

of luminous haze,

forgetting that my heart had ever

taken a beat outside

this drift of synchronicity,

this inevitable world

of dilute spectral bands settling

into deeper water.


Michael Tims received his BA in English/Writing from George Mason University studying poetry with Peter Klappert, and a PhD from the University of Maryland studying the chemical ecologically of medicinal plants. He has worked in the herbal supplement industry, as a clinical herbalist and an academic researcher/teacher. He created and writes an herbal medicine blog, Bardo’s Calculus.  Currently he is Academic Director for Herbal Programs at Maryland University of Integrative Health.


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