From Bolus To Chyme

Bolus (masticated food) enters the stomach through the esophagus via the esophageal sphincter. The stomach releases proteases (protein-digesting enzymes such as pepsin) and hydrochloric acid, which kills or inhibits bacteria and provides the acidic pH of two for the proteases to work. Food is churned by the stomach through muscular contractions of the wall called peristalsis — reducing the volume of the fundus, before looping around the fundus and the body of stomach as the boluses are converted into chyme (partially digested food). Chyme slowly passes through the pyloric sphincter and into the duodenum of the small intestine, where the extraction of nutrients begins. Depending on the quantity and contents of the meal, the stomach will digest the food into chyme anywhere between forty minutes and a few hours. The average human stomach can comfortably hold about a liter of food.

The general malaise that was brought forth by the clocks changing gave us all tiny reasons to favor cosmetic changes to our personalities over the more subtle and endearing ones we’d been endeavoring to attempt. It was cupcake weather, at last, in the swell meandering of photo-snapped pride, and we took the brightness of evening to be a reoccurring misstep in the fortunes of broomed acquiescence to the cooed and tufted chokeholds of other springs gone. It mattered to us whether the harnesses of justice would outweigh other modes of sipping Big-Gulp bravado from those who controlled the volume level of the speakers. Tapping — along with rhinestone-studded tan-tans and lute-and-lyre celebratory gestures — came back into style. Nobody knew where this sudden clash of musical forgiveness came from, or even if it came at all from anywhere; because perhaps it had always just been there, lying kindly below our tonal radar, like a song you sing while you brush your teeth, shave, mop the bathtub, solve a Rubik’s Cube, put on pants, do the dishes or take out the trash: a strain that sings beyond the worst and best you’ve been through. Noticing things was becoming a bit more noticeable in the realms of our conscious efforts to notice and be noticed as much as the morning bells would allow.

In the kinder rendering of it; in the shabby one-foot-behind-the-other regard of casual action; the polished abysmal horror of spitting sunflower seeds to any kind of rhythm or the cadenced spot-on hum of microwaves destroying the nutrient content of our song; we made secret levels that took the pulse of put-off, diesel-spouting dreams. We made hardwired networks of ability to understand and take orders and please others and dress mannequins in a coded color scheme that, we almost had time to hope, would thrust the nature of élan and slurped gumption into a powerful hold on regret and moldy ways of mentation. How were the disposals of disaster set on regurgitate so late in the game? Not a piped word of it around these plain and dreary places of night. More coldness was in store; we prepped and steeled our toes for the worst.

A small, clean place opened up between the threaded mistakes of messy beige clouds. The error-hushed air was an antipode to our ransacked and harried lives. We began to believe in stillness again; in the silence of our occasions. The sky’s opening brought with it the phrase: “Sellers Beware Armed Buyers.” Some of us threw our handguns into distant fungus-lush wells that were well into their saltier days. Most of us remained choppy with reservations about watches that could also be used as poison-dart blowguns. A man with 6 fingers on his left hand and 4 on his right, and no thumbs, made up a new salute for us to use as we passed each other on the road. It was a simple yet esoteric way for us to show our support — for what, we knew not.
A lover of Emmental cheese and clarified butter is among us. He wears suit jackets, bow ties, and chamomile-tea-colored dress shirts along with pajama bottoms. He speaks of graphene nanoribbons and semi-conductor electronics. He rifles grape tomatoes at pigeons and senior citizens. I cannot say more for a time.
Well, there are swindlers of mud here now too. It is absurd to be less cautious than I’ve been, but for some alluvial reason I am approaching dawn’s latest inklings of dark on bamboo stilts; and as the mornings tend to cast shimmerings of blatant and now-lost degrees of change for less washed-out pampering than they used to, I find myself hobbling more over the pocked shore, perhaps attempting to regain the sensation of the last dream I was able to remember having, years ago now, in the tumbled-over files of my head’s to-do-and-not-to-do list. You see, I had a dream that all of our trees were dogs; that unraveled spools of runny color overlapped yak-blood skies and the arid scratch of a bare ocean floor; and the scariest blimp around smiled at a sparrow in midair. I had a dream. I had a dream, you see, that we were all happy campers in rags upon the plinth of wound time’s troubles, and we sojourned with faithless harmers on sidewalk-colored plateaus in search of the dreams we’d lost, or thought perhaps belonged to a movie or a dirty magazine. I screamed, “Do not socle me, you bastards!” It had no effect on anything, in the dream. I had this dream, you see, and it didn’t matter to me at the time, so I left its modes and operations behind. I let it fester and mold and grow heavy with dust. I made myself a grave out of the soldered remains of what it used to mean to me, that dream, edgeless with no center. I once had this dream, and it made me crazy to have it, and now not to have it is worse by far.

Still, there are ascot-and-undershirt evenings like these, still, twice or so in a while. Like when an ex-community-chest soldier with vitiligo and half a nose swung by for a postprandial tipple. He made little noise at first, mostly cherry picking quotes from a tattered King James bible he’d pulled from his coat pocket; but after imbibing a reasonable amount of dolphin milk he made a proclamation:

“Me? I’m just hanging like drapes, like wallpaper, you know? In between? Well, I’ll go strutting abnormally around in a dignified scramble for some lucent destiny to come my way. Let me tell you, I double space my love letters while the TV plays Cheers reruns; I Xerox the sky for blue-toned survival skills; I gimmick the hacks into revealing their true empathy for all that’s bad, sad, or defeated. Me? I’m fast to heal and slow to show fault, in or around the most berserk abracadabra you could think of. I’m chasing breaded alligator-tongue nuggets with sea-anemone gin. I’m passing pith helmets around outside of church. Don’t go getting a feeling that you’re worse off than the shacklers of fancy mice — who are not meaner than most, really. Sleep in your chains, boys. Go ahead. It is a wispy correlation made of splattered bug guts and microphone tops. Bless me. My ambition’s inhibition is nothing to sneeze at. I’m chilling like lettuce. I’m toasting like bread. I’m oranged with tangerined luck. I’m Shenandoahed by a filthy drop step to bellow like Paul Robeson, ‘Going home, going home.’ But I’m going anywhere but. I’m parturient with bad faith and gypsy courage; sleepless with haunting expressions of less-charming curiosity, here or there if it’s not apparently blessed in the start, you know? I go days without stubbing a toe or smashing an insect, sometimes. Sometimes? My footsteps are the only music in the world. And I always mean maybe — to the scattering crows, to the Hot-Toddied and the Brandy-Alexandered, to the fors and the ors, the againsts and the eithers, to the paddling rest-savvy few in the world’s cupola’s catbird seat. Don’t charge me with being edacious or unremarkable in my monumental behavior. I ain’t nobody’s savior. Take it to me, from the corners of a center-less place, the shift from low to lower gets more radio stations than you’d think. Swagger forward with it all; it’s better than staggering. Some things like lost hair: once they go they don’t ever come back.”

So much we don’t know about the lives of others: a plethora of minutiae; an ever revolving mush of radiating facts and specious datum; the distant murmuring of odd thoughts and decent habits and full-sail chiming of memories not yet made. We are rife with mistaken identifiers, cobbled-together jumped-to conclusions, mislabeled character traits and exploits and ruinous click-bait emotion. If this carpet could sing, if this shower could play the banjo about it — we all get to know each other by bits and pieces, spontaneously and in the constant flaw of bob-and-weave jabs at it. A lighter touch to what we don’t get to know in the shouldering of spilled shadows, grilled sentiments smoked to a wave goodbye. A man who once lost his love to the sea now stands on the shore and cackles at the seagulls, chewing sand-dollar bits and mud. There is no way to tell each other apart, except mistake by gruesome mistake.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.