Self-Portrait as Charles H. Turner
African American entomologist, Charles H. Turner, 1867-1923
Haven’t you also debated the tensile strength
of implicit memory, or the foldings of space
with captive funnel weavers? [Fig 1. A spider
nursing its young.] Play Marley’s No Woman,
No Cry on a Galston whistle. Afterward a moth
will beat its wings. If the moth is agitated,
it doubts the post-racial. If the moth is not agitated,
it has seen mating melissodes. Newsbreak:
Entomologists study spiderwebs to improve
the design of bullet-proof vests. If they succeed,
will Black boys be allowed to wear them?
[Fig 2. A Goliath birdeater devours a white mouse.]
But then no one is allowed to save anyone,
“an electric shocking platform, electric batteries,
an induction coil and electrical switch key, and
discrimination boxes.” Consider the sweetness
of a spider’s milk, its glide across the tongue.
“Indeed, the whole behavior of these antennaless
roaches impresses one . . . that the antennae play
the same . . . role in the behavior of roaches
that eyes do in the behavior of man.” Slow, slow,
slowly, my hand strokes your back.
He stroked the backs of roaches in this same way,
gently. It is a shock, at first, that security is never
about light or darkness. Take a different route.
The heart is a discrimination box, so too the mind,
so too our bodies. [Fig 3. Six Thai bees sip tears
from a sleeper’s eye.] Rub soapy lather on your
redbug bites. Tobacco juice will cool a wasp sting.