Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Time Of The Dinosaurs

The room was silent. At the podium, Malcolm frowned. The eminent mathematician was not accustomed to being told he had not thought through his ideas. “What’s your point,” he said.

Levine appeared indifferent to the tension in the room. “Just this,” he said. “During the Cretaceous, Dinosauria were widely distributed across the planet. We have found their remains on every continent, and in every climatic zone—even in the Antarctic. Now. If their extinction was really the result of their behavior, and not the consequence of a catastrophe, or a disease, or a change in plant life, or any of the other broad-scale explanations that have been proposed, then it seems to me highly unlikely that they all changed their behavior at the same time, everywhere. And that in turn means that there may well be some remnants of these animals still alive on the earth. Why couldn’t you look for them?”

“You could,” Malcolm said, coldly, “if that amused you. And if you had no more compelling use for your time.”

Michael Crichton
“The Lost World”

The front of the donut shop parking lot
has an entrance and separate exit
connecting to this suburb’s largest street.

The back of the donut shop parking lot
has a single exit to a side street.

People often drive in through that exit
at the back of the parking lot because
it’s near the donut shop’s drive-thru window.

But before people drive in the wrong way
they always pause on the side street to check
if there are any police in the lot.

There are times, a kind of daily rhythm,
when the donut shop parking lot doesn’t
contain even a single police car.

Some people take advantage of those times
to drive in through the parking lot’s exit
in the back by the donut shop’s drive-thru.

I wonder if there are times, I wonder
if there is a kind of daily rhythm,
people in the donut shop parking lot
could take advantage of when driving out?

I wonder if there are times, I wonder
if there is a kind of daily rhythm,
someone might notice if they pause to check
before driving out through the back exit?

I wonder if there are times, I wonder
if there is a kind of daily rhythm,
where if you time it just right you drive out
onto unpaved ground where dinosaurs walk?

Tricky rhythms on odd time signatures
can create an odd beat and an odd beat
can play melodies that take you places.

I recently bought a complicated
metronome able to superimpose
tricky rhythms on odd time signatures.

This metronome runs on batteries so
it will work even off the beaten path.

I wonder if there’s a tricky rhythm
a wild melody could be built on for
playing in the time of the dinosaurs?

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