Amber Blossom

Amber Blossom

Jacob Vinson

An amber blossom grows before my eyes
Attune with the shining of the autumn sun
Rising at dawn like a deep violin crescendo
Slightly wilted for lack of love’s nourishment

It smiles at me with a kind passion
Emitting its own light
Whispering at me with sweet pleasantries
Wanting me to come near
Needing to be healed

My pupils shrink with curious delight
Should I pick this flower or let it bask
In natures wondrous beauty?

Would it be better off with me,
With my broken heart its only shelter?

Could we cure each others scars,
As we lie under the open stars?

Oh, amber blossom, you intrigue me
Like no other flower before
You emanate a beaming radiance
That makes me want you ever more

If I leave, will our paths ever again intertwine?
Will I regret taking a different direction-
Regret not showing you affection?
That fear of these unknown truths
Tingles throughout my spine

I don’t want to taint your soul
For I am broken and weak
But just your soft presence
Makes my heart begin to speak-
Words filled with hope that can only come true
If I stay close to you

Oh, amber blossom
You are my world
We’ll grow together
A new life shall be unfurled

Full of contentment and splendor
Adventure and unending joy
You are so magnificent and desirable-
Rivaling Helen of Troy

Oh, amber blossom
Could it be true
That we’ll see every radiant sunset-
Every rising moon
Within each others delicate view?

Oh, amber blossom
Can it be so?
Do we belong together?

Only time will tell-
Only God can know



Jacob Vinson

Turn your third eye to the sky
Take a deep breath
And fly

Grab the reigns of your soul
And thrust it upwards
Towards the stars
And breathe in deeply

Never again question the past
Never question the future
Take aim to the heavens
And never look back

Ignite the wick that is your hope
And look through a different scope
A kaleidoscope of unique joy
A myriad of shapes and pieces-
Lost fragments of time and memory
All within view

Put together the pieces
One by one
Each is a voyage
On a finely written page

Write the story of your life while dreaming
In this unknown place full of unseen feelings
Each chapter with beautiful prose, gleaming

Close the finished tale
Smile and breathe out a revelation
A new world of your creation
Your last chance at salvation

Awake renewed, my child
Like a newly sowed seed, ready to sprout
Saved from fear and cleansed from doubt
Your desolate world has been turned inside out
You are now at peace
In a garment, woven with soft fleece
Garnished with gold, silver, and jewel
Your soul has met its final renewal

You may rest, my child
No more nightmares of the cruel and wild
Just my voice in your palace of white
Where there is never a bad night
Where happiness is always in sight
You’ll never again be alone or scared
My arms are around you
A perfect life is ours to be shared
I am your guardian
I am prepared

Within Flames


Staring through…

Alluring, enticing

The embers fight

Through rising light

Brightening the dead of night


Hungry, wanting

A catalyst, a source of energy

A reason to live, to grow

To consume and ravage

Anything that gets in its way


What a monster you are

What a fiendish entity

As I use you for warmth

You use me to feed you

Any forgotten stems or twigs

Who have seen better days

But never, ever again


Not another spring will they bloom,

Blossom and grow towards the sunlight

Now they are yours to keep

Inside your quivering heart


Please remember their journey

Don’t forget the dead

For a spot of rain is all it takes

For you to meet your own demise


But if you keep this promise

To be humble, modest and meek

I will remember you


Keep me warm just one last time

Or try to devour me

It is your choice now

A Cure for Cancer?

Toxin From Coral-reef Bacteria Could Become Next-generation Cancer Drug

Toxin From Coral-reef Bacteria Could Become Next-generation Cancer Drug

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2007) — University of Michigan (U-M) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers have acquired a new molecular tool that could help them transform a toxin from coral-reef bacteria into a next-generation cancer drug.

A clump of L. majuscula bacteria collected from a reef is shown underwater off Panama. These bacteria create a potent toxin that has proven effective against several human cancers in laboratory tests. (Credit: Image courtesy of Scripps Institute Of Oceanography)

A clump of L. majuscula bacteria collected from a reef is shown underwater off Panama. These bacteria create a potent toxin that has proven effective against several human cancers in laboratory tests. (Credit: Image courtesy of Scripps Institute Of Oceanography)

U-M Life Sciences Institute researchers David Sherman and Janet Smith led a cross-disciplinary team that uncovered new functions for an ancient, well-known family of proteins found in many organisms, from microbes to humans.

The discovery of new roles for the GNAT family of proteins adds weapons to the arsenal of “synthetic biologists” who rearrange the building blocks of natural substances in an effort to make better pharmaceuticals, said Sherman, director of LSI’s Center for Chemical Genomics and the Hans W. Valteich professor of medicinal chemistry at the U-M College of Pharmacy.

“Nature usually gives us sub-optimal drug candidates,” Sherman said. “But we can chop them apart and reassemble them at will to engineer compounds that may have better properties as drugs.”

The Sherman team, along with William Gerwick of Scripps’ Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UC San Diego, analyze chemical compounds pulled from marine organisms living in coral reef sediments, blue-green algae, sponges and soft corals. They look for substances, such as bacterial toxins, that can kill or disable cancer cells in the laboratory. Currently, more than a dozen such compounds from marine sources are in pre-clinical or clinical trials as cancer therapeutics.

One such substance is curacin A, a leading anti-cancer drug candidate first derived from a Caribbean coral reef cyanobacterium, L. majuscula, in 1994 by Gerwick’s group. In the lab, curacin A is effective against colon, kidney and breast cancer cell lines.

Sherman and his colleagues have been trying to understand how the biochemical machines inside L. majuscula assemble the curacin A molecule. In 2004, the group published a blueprint showing all the proteins that are responsible for making the curacin A molecular chain.

Since then, they’ve focused on determining the functions of the roughly 60 biological catalysts used in the assembly line-like curacin A synthesis process. The team’s latest finding is that the first links in the curacin-A chain include a member of the GNAT family of proteins, a group of enzymes that has long been known to play roles in gene regulation, hormone synthesis and antibiotic resistance.

The big surprise was finding that a GNAT enzyme helps initiate the chain-building process that forms curacin A. “It’s a totally new function for these GNAT enzymes,” Sherman said.

“Decoding these biosynthetic pathways is like trying to understand a series of hieroglyphics,” he said. “And this GNAT discovery is like finding the Rosetta stone. It helps us decipher previously unknown or misunderstood symbols.”

While Sherman’s group carried out the enzymology for the study, Smith’s team captured X-ray crystallography images of the GNAT enzyme’s structure. Smith is director of LSI’s Center for Structural Biology. Gerwick’s team made the original discovery of curacin A and provided the cyanobacterial DNA for this study.

L. majuscula is a cyanobacterium, which are among the oldest organisms on Earth. Roughly 3 billion years ago, cyanobacteria began producing atmospheric oxygen that, much later, allowed more complex life forms to emerge. In the L. majuscula bacterium, the curacin A toxin likely performs a defense function, possibly protecting the microbe from predators.

This research is detailed in the November 9 issue of the journal Science.

At Last

Douse the flame in my heart

I’ll heat it right back up

But you can do it yourself

With only the blink of your eyes

Unknowing and clever, I see you

But never know what you hide

I’ll still follow your eyes

I’ll ride against the wind

I’ll play the game and take the fall

Tarnish the burning of my love

Crush the dreams of my future

The big fish eats the little one

It’s okay now, I won’t worry

I’m by your side through it all

Cause I can’t stand to stay cold

I won’t stand to be alone

In this depressing, cruel world

It’s time to take away the atrophy

Time to take away my mistakes

Where I can finally take the step towards

Compassion, love, dreams, and hope

So that one day when the light breaks

The uneasy and shady clouds in my mind

I may be, at last

Genuinely and truly

Tearless and passionately


Stretching & Stress

Stretching & Stress

When you see a cat doing an outrageous stretch that makes you chuckle, you may not realize these stretches are important for its health. Likewise, regularly stretching your own muscles improves flexibility; prevents muscle stiffness, strain and soreness; and leaves you feeling refreshed.

Because stretching improves blood flow throughout your body, it’s important for muscular health, and it’s the cheapest way to relieve stress. Taking just 15 minutes out of your day to stretch can be incredibly therapeutic — both for your muscles and your mental well-being.

If you sit in front of a computer most of the day, you not only face the mental stresses of your day, you can build up extreme tension in your back, neck and shoulder muscles. It’s important to take a few minutes every couple of hours to stretch — you’ll feel more productive and alert, and you’ll feel less stress.

Here’s a simple stretch you can do in your office to relieve tension and stress. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your side. Slowly exhale, and bend your body at the waist allowing your head and arms to hang loosely toward the ground (your upper body should be completely relaxed, as though your arms, neck, shoulders and torso have “gone limp”). Stay in that position until you have completely exhaled the air from your lungs. As you inhale, slowly stack one vertebra on top of another to stand up straight. When you get to your shoulder area, gently roll your shoulders back and very slowly straighten your neck until your head is upright. Then slowly exhale through your mouth. Not only does this simple stretch refresh all parts of your body, it encourages proper posture and opens your chest cavity for optimal breathing.

It’s important to listen to your body as you stretch. If a particular motion is painful, make the necessary modifications so you don’t over-exert yourself. Keep at it, because the more you stretch, the easier it gets, and the more flexible you’ll become. (Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)

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