The Hybrid Branch

John James

Solimán López

We live in a period of hybridisations occurring in all directions.
From biological mutations themselves to major environmental changes.
The art world also presents these hybridisations. Today everything is amplified by technology, from poetry to bio art.

In The Hybrid Branch, Solimán López has versioned and synthesized the poem “Pastoral” by poet John James to turn it into a hybridisation, in which the words become a digital tree and the audio becomes a genetic sequence precisely from the text of the poem.

John James x Solimán López


A peach tree in the snow.
A black cloud in a peach tree in the snow. 

I am talking, now, to a consultant
from the online tax firm
about a form that needs fixing
and this flimsy piece of former wood
wavers in the hand.

In the wind, in the hand.
It could have made peaches, or framed a house’s bones.

Instead it serves as background
for columns of numbers
that signify financial decline.
A real and imminent catastrophe.

It is Greek, catastrophe, meaning “downturn,”
and derives primarily from theater. 

A peach tree in the snow.
Paper leaves in a peach tree in the snow.

Across the street, some men fell a tree,
a rigid pine whose torqued enormity reminds me
of the clustered redwoods lining the campus creek
or logged to build Victorian structures
hulking Telegraph’s curb. 

They put the wood in a machine
that makes wood chips.
The smell of burning gas precipitates
a real and imminent catastrophe.

A peach tree in the snow.
Wood chips in a peach tree in the snow. 

Sheep, deer, wild elk. With their antlers
they terrorize the bark. Anthers.
The purple flowers throw their seed
and other flowers catch it.

Spent stamen, little rusted pistol.
A bullet lodged in the trunk.

My daughter decapitates
dandelions, cradles the heads
in her hand, watches as the old ones
scatter in the real and imminent wind.

They float on unimpeded
in the hand, in the wind. 

A peach tree in the snow.
Shell casings in a peach tree in the snow.

My species is industrious,
dapper and intelligent,
formed in the lucid substance between
the sublime and the belligerent.

Ice caps retire and slip into
a warming, gorgeous sea. 

We place granite on our counters,
white stones in the garden.
We watch the turbines turn.

A black cloud in the snow.
A peach tree in a black cloud in the snow.