Far, a day ago, a lecture precedes
a new law, a gallery of men chat,
interests on hand, women behind.

Taught them how to walk but silent 
about how magnets repel, attract, 
a relationship broken in who knew
better, what kind of measure tipped 
the cup forward, backward. Steel 
is stroked against magnetic iron
until it becomes one, why couldn’t 
we be the mothers of knowledge 
while its fathers went to sleep? 

Pulled against forces that struggle
to maintain an idea afloat, women
brushed against each other until 
they became magnetic too, uniting 
their voices was their final blow. 

Tied to natural law, men convinced
us there’s justice in a common law 
forgetful of being as the beautiful.

“Life, liberty, property” remains 
an echo of the commitment to joy 
but what is joy without the good,
the beautiful and cousin sublime?
Were we ever free? Is freedom to
will power our failed contract?  

Irises’ thoughts could redefine 
natural law where the freedom 
is the liberation from fantasy,
not the freedom to want a want
but to stay where I don't want
because I've seen why it's true. 

When that's not enough, realism 
of compassion changes the quō,
an outward direction of attention 
to what is, as it is, the freedom
to love, not to will but being,
processes of gradual maturity.  

The weak become the strongest 
as fear can’t misalign a core
liberated from fictions sold.

Don’t dismiss the ones hidden
in libraries, setting a wake-up
dong. A magnetic flux outgrows
an antique compass of morality
that can't solve our troubles. 

Irises, stand up! Indivisibly, 
deliberately liberated show
us how fantasy doesn't let us 
be aimant, loving stones, 爱石.  

Note: 磁铁 (cí tiě) is the correct translation in Mandarin for a magnet. According to Joseph Needham in the book Science and Civilisation in China, the concept of a loving magnet comes from the Ancient Chinese 慈石, which now would refer to magnetite (cí shí).

I took the literal translation: 爱石 to describe the magnet as a loving stone. 爱 is pronounced ai (ài) pronounced as “I” and 石 is pronounced “she” which references the female aspect of the poem (shí). The end of the poem breaks down the object-subject dictum by saying I|SHE, loving stone, together, magnetized, alluding to a balance between the reader and receiver, female and male, the object and subject, etc. I|SHE would be analogous to intersubjectivity, a balance of fluxes.

When I am talking about irises’ thoughts, I am alluding the philosopher Iris Murdoch as an iris of wisdom.


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