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Black Pearls

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Black Pearls

Pearls begin as foreign materials,
a sharp object, a parasite, even damage,
that makes its way into the body of a mussel,
but the mussel can't manage to eject it.

The irritant-intruder usually enters
while the mussel is feeding or breathing
and to reduce the resulting irritation,
the mollusk begins by secreting

its normal shell-building material,
and these accreting layers of nacre
make up the body of a pearl,
once so very rare and sought after.

A cultured pearl grows in a mussel
induced by artificial irritation,
seeded via the insertion of a bead
to allow mass, commerical pearl cultivation.

The United States is a giant pearl bed
for culturing pearls within a population
used as a cultural medium and seeded
for the wealth-producing irritation created.

Beads for pearl culture are inserted
while The People are feeding or breathing,
dispensed into the food, air and water supply
or injected as part of childhood vaccines.

We swim, literally, in an ocean of chemicals,
over 77,000 manufactured in North America.  In fact,
with a thousand new ones introduced every year,
it's no wonder 4 to 8 hundred are found stored in our fat.

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More than 10,000 are used in the production of food
and over 3,000 wind up in the food itself,
to improve appearance and taste and preserve flavor
and boost profit via longer life on the shelf:

acids, food coloring, acidity regulators,
vegetable gums, emulsifiers, flour treatment agents,

agents for anti-foaming, color retention and anti-flaking,
agents for firming and gelling, for "improving" and for glazing,

flavor enhancers, sweeteners, preservatives and propellents,
mineral salts, anti-oxidants, sequestrants and humectants,

thickeners, stabilizers, solvents and bleaches,
and this is just what goes into the food we're eating.

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Our bodies continuously navigate
and our lungs are continuously awash in
a vast internal and exterior ocean
of ubiquitous environmental toxins:

heavy metals, phthalates, PCBs,
insecticides, herbicides, VOCs,

furans, tordon, pyrethroids, mycotoxins,
asbestos, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, dioxins,

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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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