The Caste-Priests of Jabberology by Andrew Kozma

The Caste-Priests of Jabberology

Here, they open their mouths, the doors to their temples.

What spills out are river-smoothed pebbles on a drumhead.

Only the elite are given this gift, a font of nonsense.

Nature is a dumb miracle. Never a faithful explanation given.

When mumbling, all words are equally incontrovertible.

This is the ritual: a tongue swollen from sea salt,

ears plugged with wax, eyes dull and silicate.

A thing preserved so long it’s meaningless except as memory.

Speak except when spoken to, accept when spoken to.

The universe is misunderstood. That is its blessing.

Here, they function their eyelids, the dongles to their tumors.

Sip, sip at that blessing. Here, hear a calling.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Andrew Kozma’s poems have appeared in Strange Horizons, The Believer, Redactions, and Bennington Review. His book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3 Press, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award.

Editor’s Notes: “What can SA [South Africa] learn from Mao’s deadly chaos?” by Chris Mann, Mail & Guardian, November 17, 2016: Trofim Lysenko, Stalin’s scientific adviser, rejected genetics as an “expression of the senile decay and degradation of bourgeois culture”. A colleague called scientists who used experiments to verify results “the caste priests of jabberology”. In the book, “The Cold War Politics of Genetic Research: An Introduction to the Lysenko Affair,” William deJong-Lambert discusses “the reaction of a number of biologists in the United States and Great Britain to provide an overview of one of the most important controversies in Twentieth Century biology, the “Lysenko Affair.” … including the interwar eugenics movement, the Scopes Trial, the popularity of Lamarckism as a theory of heredity prior to the synthesis of genetics and Natural Selection, and the Cold War.” In the book, he dismisses scientists and academics who sought to understand problems to be answered by Mendel’s statistics, calling them “caste priests of jabberology.” In a more recent paper, Mendelian statistics is vindicated (https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/ibers/news/archive/2020/january/title-228982-en.html). Ultimately, however, my interpretation of this eloquent poem points to the “caste as a neurotic and psychotic system that has now been transfigured itself as an ethno-religious fascist state,” which is a political sentiment and statement.

Image Credit: abstract art evoking violence (img.wallpapersafari.com)