pearl farming

in my insomnial
wonderings as i
lay staring up
into the darkness
my mind mining misery
forming empty verse
or a question conspires
to insert itself in
my soft tissue
sometimes causing a
pearl to grow
as i lacquer layers
of translucency
over this foreign
substance subcutaneously
irritating my emotional

i know that i am
an inverted cactus
with needles growing
inward to poke and prick
my sense of self worth
pearl sacs of misshapen
lumps tightly packed
cysts across my tender

i watched a documentary
on pearl farming
appalled at the steps
of nurturing of tending
inserting wedges to pry
the clam open
too far will kill it
but fortunately
one dead clam provides
enough nacre to inject
fifteen others (in
the gonads usually)
placed back in the
water where it takes
six weeks to see if
the clam will ever
recover from the trauma
only for the cycle
to begin again

i lay here, unsleeping
, contemplating the
torture of clams for
what amounts to
sexual innuendo and
something to be clutched
in bouts of indignation
how there is no limit
to how far humans will go
to inflict pain
as long as the end result
is something pretty
spinning balls of nacre
hoping to coat
the interior despondency
enough to make something
pretty enough that
even i can see it
but we cannot make pearls
without torturing clams
maybe we cannot make art
without torturing ourselves

in the end
i see that
it is all man-made
organic doesn’t mean
what it used to

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