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Hi, I'm Daniel Riggins, a fourth-year medical student living in the Bronx.

danielriggins.com

 

She used to climb the mango trees
with rope looped around her waist.
The bees would buzz around her head, drunk
on the scent of rotten fruit.
She liked to trap them in zip-lock bags
so she could eye their stingers up close.

 

I can recognize the feeling now--when I get all feathered up in a puff; when I get fixated on my next regurgitational attack--forgetting that people are people that I could love.

 

I'm always clenching my everything.

 

Who forgot to cube that orange and eat it? Why is it whole on its own?

 

You probably don't want to eat bugs and I think that's a problem

2 min read

I was talking tonight with one of my favorite sparring partners about one of my favorite topics--eating bugs. Most people (including myself) viscerally react with disgust at the idea of eating a cricket. That's a valid feeling. Most people in the United States grew up associating bugs with filth and disease. I'm sure some of us as toddlers were about to eat a bug and then Mom or Dad ripped it out of our hands, sternly telling us that bugs are not food. Fine.

The problem is that as our population continues to grow and our climate continues to...change, our traditional food sources may not be inadequate to feed everybody. Bugs like the cricket or mealworm are nutritious, fairly easy to raise, and resource efficient.

With that in mind, I find it frustrating that the biggest obstacle to expanding our use of these critters for food is everyone's collective cultural disgust.

I readily concede to my sparring partner that a person's opinions and choices cannot be divorced from emotion, nor should they. Emotions are a valid means of evaluating the world around you. But I don't think they are sufficient reason to reject an idea without engaging with its possible merits.

Maybe if there were an obvious alternative means of supplying the world with cheap, sustainable food, entomophagy would be an amusing, hypothetical, what-if question. But until that's the case, your emotions are not enough. I reject the notion that feelings are immutable. They can and should change if the context demands it. Now let's go make some chocolate-chirp cookies!

 

Part 3 of my Miami Beach flash poems, read the ongoing collection here (https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/Miami-Beach-Poems-6fCU80zJhEm0dqAvt9WTb)

one Airbnb,
two rooms, three beds,
and five dudes;
sounds of snoring bubble
into my dreams;

in an early hour, I wake
to hear one loud SMACK
against a mattress
in other room--

the snoring stops;

I drift back to sleep, fearing
that I could be next

 

Part 2 of Miami Beach Flash Poems

lady walks up to the edge
of my sand fort and
asks me what I’m doing;

I tell her--
“I just like digging holes,”

she walks away muttering--
“he’s weird”

I kick back in the cool shade
of my creation
and take it as a compliment

(https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/Miami-Beach-Poems-6fCU80zJhEm0dqAvt9WTb)

 

First flash poem in a series on Miami Beach:

drifting jellyfish drives swimmers
from the water like cascades of dominoes,

man wraps a towel
around his muscular arm
and nudges the jelly out to sea;

woman asks--
“is he single?”

 

Along with being funny-as-hell, Aziz Ansari's "Master of None" led me to seriously reevaluate my personal words/choices in a new light. It features a decidedly millennial perspective that feels truthful, while also hungrily seeking voices from all sorts of other backgrounds. It made me laugh a lot, and then I thought a lot. It's on Netflix. Check it out.

 

September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month. Pain is the classic *invisible illness*. You likely have a close loved one who suffers from chronic pain. While likely at the forefront of their daily consciousness, you might rarely think about it. I think this is a good time to remember empathy for *anyone* whose daily struggles are not immediately apparent.