“Waterfall” from Linen Paper

“Take the papers…Try to make something out of them that is more than you have now.” Josef Albers, abstract painter, theorist, paper folder

The textbook says “proteins are the workhorses
of the cells” and guess what? They do origami.
Alpha helices become beta sheets, aka paper fans.
From there: barrels, propellers, jelly rolls.
Mine are filling garbage bags and dumpsters—
my foot drags, I arrive in a slant.
The artful contortionists in my brain have
left the building. Or would, given the chance.
They pleat and crease and nothing matches up.

Mountain, valley I can do. Crimps, petals, gate,
stair, squash, cushion, rabbit ear closed sink
reverse swivel I might be getting lost.
Huzita-Hatori axioms & mathematics
are screwing me over, my head is crammed with
paper trash and it’s hard to get anything done.

Show your work, I say to my proteins, then
forget how to take the next step forward.
My hands shake. I don’t let go
when someone offers to take my plate.
I used to be codified, now I’m just
confusing. Menger sponges made of playing cards,
scattered on the floor. Where’s the chiyogami
when you need it? Show your work faster, damn it.

Here’s what I want my operations to look like:
the crisp rush of water, wet-folded and
arcing like a woman in love. A polar sine wave,
ice flow in motion, singularly beautiful.

It was taught at Bauhaus, later
at Black Mountain. It can be learned but
I need Mi-Teintes watercolor paper
pulp-dyed, cotton, fine grain on one side,
honeycombed on the other. Maybe.

Here are three boxes by a patient recovering
from brain surgery, folded from pages of
their medical chart. Precision is key and
there may be a thousand ways to say that including
elegant and efficient. I shake and zigzag down
hallways this side, that side, this side, fuck.
Laughter, when I don’t bust my ass on this ice.

What are you looking for?