Annie Welch and Amy Moffitt

Annie Welch

photo-manipulation of charcoal sketch/collage

Response

Amy Moffitt

Inspiration piece

El Efecto Mariposa
(The Butterfly Effect)

Part of chaos theory proposes
that the flutter of a butterfly’s wings in London
could cause a torrential rainstorm in Buenos Aires.
But let’s not start there.

Let’s start with the existence of chaos theory,
with the mathematical, philosophical,
scientific proposition that the universe
might actually be totally random.
Let’s start with men in well-constructed offices
wearing clean and well-made clothes
proposing that perhaps everything around them
is actually an accident of chance.

And then let me propose another theory:
that it is a particular affectation of the privileged
to believe in this randomness of events.

For the very poor, causality is clear and brutal:
My father left us.
There were no jobs in the village, so we moved to the city.
There were jobs in the city, but also drugs and gangs.
My brother was killed.
The U.S. company closed the factory.
We had no money.
My mother became sick.
I got pregnant.

To them, the causal pathways of events
are as clearly traced as dried riverbeds
that form paths leading to the barrier wall…
the wall that keeps them out, like beggars, like thieves,
like wild animals.

There are no immigration debates
for those on one side of the wall
for whom there is only this trail of events
leading to the inevitable conclusion
that it is better to die trying
than simply to die.

For birds and for butterflies,
such migratory pathways are solely about survival,
finding better nesting and grazing,
a place to raise one’s young.
Butterflies and birds fly over the wall, unobserved,
while a young woman, 3 months pregnant,
prepares to leave at nightfall.

For her, there is no random flutter
of butterfly wings causing storms far away.
There is only a string of events,
like cracked stepping stones, that she follows
to the back of a van at midnight,
to a stranger who promises to drive her to the desert
so she can fly northward
on the migratory pathway to survival.

Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.

2 Comments

  1. statenislandlisa
    Posted March 4, 2011 at 1:15 am | #

    this is beautiful!!! the personal journey goes beyond dogma and theory and hits you right between the eyes. these pieces are in perfect sync. thank you!

  2. Adam F Cornford
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 5:04 am | #

    A lovely poem–and I understand the point about causality. But chaos theory doesn’t say the world is totally random. Obviously it isn’t, or there wouldn’t be a world. Chaos theory is about the border zone between order and disorder. The famous “butterfly effect” is an instance of what’s called nonlinearity, whereby in very large complex systems, there are so many variables that the outcome of certain processes can’t be predicted. Those processes are represented by nonlinear equations–that is, equations that have more than one correct solution. The corporate overlords who create poverty and misery where there need be none think they have everything under control. They don’t. We are the butterflies whose fragile wings will create the storm that will blow them away.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>