Head Lost Illuminating | John Liles

1 min read


Voltage-gated pathways are depolarized
and pore-forming membrane proteins
allow calcium influx from adjacent solutions.

(Cell insides become saturated)

Excitation is mossy fiber running
southbound head-stems and paired shoots
through once-relaxed tissue.


You’ve established rules,
preventative measures

gut-principles and patterns
of self-reflection lost
in the feeling

you are held to
head noise
and further itches

(say it’s all removable)


Head lost illuminating
small thoughts each concurrent
unoccurring moment hoped – 
just wishing this warm attention

throw out
teeth for it

insist on restarting
the sore spots


Involuntary and won’t down-regulate,
particular defenses are stress-receptor 
bound fidgets and the feeling follows.

But the cortisol is excessive, hyperactive
little amygdala leaps and pounces
predispose biological tiffs
as tragic. You shout and scrape in 
attendant panic.


Adrenal genesis of the headspace is

The capacity to panic is

You receive stimuli and suffer 

Emotional force across synapses to a target cell,
this endpoint you wallow towards,
feel further but can’t

John Liles is a poet, science writer, and living mammal. His chapbook, Following the dog down, was the recipient of the Omnidawn Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Journal, filling station, Rust+Moth, Arcadia, inter/rupture, decomP, and elsewhere. On a good day, he’s a dog and we don’t need to overthink it.