They Were Only Invented in 1947, But There Are Now More Transistors on Earth Than There Are Leaves on Trees

And there are an estimated 3 trillion
trees, & are we counting needles as
leaves or not? We cool leaving out pine
& hemlock & spruce, Norwegian & blue
& any other kind of not yet named or
invented spruce? French Guiana leads
the way with 20,226 trees per person,
thanks Google, & Suriname is the highest
percentage of covered-by-trees, with your
country way down the rankings, so don’t
even bother looking, because your old
Cold War enemy is #1 when we’re
talking sheer number of trees inside
her borders, & you’re right we haven’t
even yet contemplated the leaves on
the sugar maples, Japanese maples,
crabapples, dogwoods, birch, walnut,
chestnuts-before-the-blight, oak, & elm
on your street alone. And if you can’t
even win your street, what business do
you have in the local, regional, state, or
federal level? I’ve been to Monaco with
its 0% forested land, its royal state of
arboreal undress, but there’s a cool
story about the prince there leaving
a rose graveside for his gone-too-soon
graceful princess every day after her
death until he had her statuesque beauty
captured in bronze & named a federal
rose garden in her honor. Would you
do that for your beloved? The roses?
The petals? Do you believe in soulmates
that much? Do you believe in anything
that much? In the span of 76 years, an
average lifetime, mankind is capable of
inventing something, shrinking it X fold,
getting so many inside your phone, TV,
clinging to its anachronistic culture radio,
other TV, TVs the kids don’t even watch
anymore, phones, cameras, desktops
& laptops & extra monitors, not to mention
headphones & speakers & appliances
& gizmos & doodads & whatchamacallits,
& who isn’t building their own rocket
ship in their backyard? Another wannabe
cosmic explorer billionaire, & look
I know the Robber Barons were awful,
but at least they left libraries & theaters
& appreciated art & now you wake up
& don’t even know what you believe in
because you’ve been so fixated on cutting
burning deforesting all the good others
are trying to do in the world & when
are you going to realize all the tech
in the world isn’t going to make
communication communion any
easier if you can’t at least—like
one quaking leaf on a windblown
locust tree in flower—make yourself
vulnerable every now & then? 

+ Inspired by The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester (2018), The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester (2013), & “The Locust Tree in Flower” by William Carlos Williams (1935). 

Bob King: I’m an Associate Professor of English at Kent State University at Stark. My recent poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Curio Cabinet Magazine,Olney Magazine, Moot Point Magazine, The Gorko Gazette, Drunk Monkeys, JAKEPaddler Press, Aôthen MagazineThe Purposeful Mayonnaise, Spare Parts Literary Magazine, The Viridian Door, Ink Sweat & Tears, Bullshit Lit, The Red Ogre Review, The Dillydoun Review, Emergence Literary Journal, Narrative Magazine, Muleskinner, Allium: a Journal of Poetry & Prose. I live on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, with my wife & daughters.

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