Emerging Ideas

David Fore: Poems

David Livingstone Fore is a researcher and designer living in Oakland, California. His most recent work explores relationships between climate changes taking place in the world and those taking place in our bodies.

The flood inside our heads

It’s not just you

A shuttle bus of
researchers chatter on
and on about
what a difference a degree makes

                                                     Surely you know cracks one wise wag what you can count never really counts

As the others parry
and feint I let my eyes fall to
my ten-year-old running shoes whose criss-cross laces lead me to try
and work out
the precise formula for
calculating what we need to have already done about it all except
that we didn’t do much of
anything at
all did we ipso
facto so now what ?

due course we arrive at
the our final destination which is when I notice I missed the third eye from
the top on
the right side of
the left shoe

And you?

How are you doing?

How do you feel ?

Your body never lies which you know
because your body tells you so

That tickle in
the back of
your throat turns into
a trickle then into
a cough that turns into
a headache that won’t go away which turns into
a fever that won’t either

Searches are initiated then messages exchanged

Overnight a regiment of
vials clad in
orange takes up
position along
your fly-baked windowsill

Your lungs fill with
and your brains begin to boil as the airwaves carry word of
the collapse of
the Front where other better metaphors have gone to slaughter

Your ears fill with
the roar of
tides as sweat spills from
your face like meltwater

Your world is swamped until
it shrinks to
the space delimited by
anodized aluminum rails that guard your bed set at
the sleepless center of
this daymare-nightmare-daytime-nighttime-nightmare hospitilian sturm und

Here you fall between
the drip
and the knife

You breath in then out

New world same as the old one
without you .

Takin what they givin
More than you could ever want

She rises earlier than the rest of
us combined to get to
her job at
the bakery before

I get sleep in an hour longer
but then it’s my job to roust the boys
and send them along
their sleepy-headed circuits from
bed to
bathroom to
table back to
bathroom then out
the backdoor to inspect the garden where we say hi/bye to
the snails
and butterflies
and bees
and beetles

Must. Keep. Them. Moving

They pile into
our tin can car then I strap them into
their plastic-armored seats
and we drive off as they show off their scuffed-up elbows
and perform knock-knock jokes
and hatch intricate plans for
interstellar travel
with thousand-word sentences
amd star eyes to guide them

Finally we arrive at
the tilting bungalow known to
all as Kidz Kastle
with its mint-green trim
and cranky screen door graced by
a faded flock of
ladybug appliques

The boys used to cry when I left them in
the caring arms of
but they have adapted like good mammals
and these days before
I can make my way around they are already bursting out of
their restraints
and kicking open the door
and racing across
the lawn to see who gets there first

Deprived of
one last whiff of
their exalted crowns

Fatherly obsolescence is a feature not a bug

The operators of
the lab where I work moved us out to
some distanced suburb
with space enough for
cubes set six feet apart transforming
my 15-minute walk into
a commute of
60 miles which is the distance Sacagawea
and Lewis
and Clark would cover each week by

I throw the car into
and set out on
my drive accompanied only by
the static of
the broken car radio
and the sound of
my threadbare tires whose every rotation drives another nail into
our common coffin

Guilty as charged !

When I arrive I assume the position at
my desk with
its floor-to-
ceiling windows that neatly frame the Rainbirds as they cast graceful arcs of
water across
a vast expanse of
grass that nobody ever runs through anymore

Forever happens when we stop paying attention

I want to invite the outside inside
and the inside out
but the panes are sealed tight as a eunuch’s honor
and I am not in
charge of
the thermostat

The single most dangerous idea is that somebody else will do it

the next eight hours I dispatch invisible robots to mine clouds of
data bearing on
the velocity of
our possible futures all of
which meet at
the same vanishing point

Pencils down eyes forward

I hit submit
and head back to
the city listening to
the trance whirl of
my tires like so many murmurations of
monastery monks liberated at
last from
any rope of


Fair to say we passed that exit long ago


I ease the car to
a stop
and hush along
the side of
the house to
the backyard where I spy the boys whole
if still incomplete

They are kneeling at
the side of
their mother amidst
our carrots
and radishes
and arugula
and tomatoes
and corn
and cucumbers
and beans

When she senses me she turns around
and presses her palms to
her breast

She reaches up to reveal a dozen gloriously green pods of
peas for
our dinner .

Beyond our breed?
Down to zero

So easily we startle at
the sound of
a blade of
grass breaking beneath
the paw of
a predator

Darwin bequeathed unto
us some pretty amazing amygdala exquisitely tuned to
frenetic frequencies of
& present dangers

As waters warm
& rise we remain senseless as frogs

You’re soaking in
it Madge!

No shit Sherlock

But we must do something you say

Something other than screwing in
compact fluorescent light bulbs?

Other than marching through
burning precincts?

Than snarling back at
the fall of

Ashes ashes
& all that jazz


Can you feel it?

It’s bearing down on
us eleventy-million miles a

1–2–3 let’s leap into
the insubstantial air
& down to
zero where we touch bottom
& spring up
& break the surface of
an untold world.


David Livingstone Fore is a researcher and designer living in Oakland, California. He makes software for medical and industrial settings and he has published research in peer-reviewed medical journals. He has published poetry and fiction in a broad range of literary magazines. His most recent work explores relationships between climate changes taking place in the world and those taking place in our bodies.




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