Poetry

Mass Caffeination

Here in this open
 -air sanctuary
 of societal approval,
 we observe
 or partake in
 the mass consumption
 of a certain readily available
 psychostimulant.
 
Our daily routines
 feature the regular
 infusion and dissolution
 of certain botanicals
 into hot water,
 giving bitter brews
 that one may choose
 to sweeten
 (naturally
                or otherwise).
 
When one consumes
 the aromatic
           tea of Southwest China/
                  cocoa of Central America/
                         coffee of Northeast Africa,
 one is in fact
 casually taking
 a non-prescription drug:
 a xanthine
 called caffeine.
 So it may pay
 for us to know something
 of caffeine’s pharmacodynamics.
 
After absorbing
 thru the small intestine,
 flowing in the blood
                                     s
                                  t
                                     r
                                 e
                                     a
                                 m
 and crossing
 the blood---------------------brain barrier,
 the
                 C
      C        Y   
      I        C        
                 L
 molecules
 of caffeine
 bind to adenosine
 receptors in the brain.
 This process,
 known as antagonism,
 prevents adenosine
 (an endogenous protein)
 from locking
 into its binding
 sites and eliciting
 its natural effect –
 CNS depression.
 Thus,
 at approximately
 an hour post-consumption,
 the caffeine reaches
 sufficiently high
 blood plasma concentrations
 to effectively
 fight fatigue
 and focus the faculties.
 
We can take a
 pharmacological view
 of coffee/cocoa/tea
 as, essentially, just a vehicle
 for a popular chemical –
 that dependable xanthine
 that gives a welcome buzz.

 We’re as free
 as cathemeral owls
 to reap the benefits
 of one of the few
 legally non-prescription
 performance-enhancing drugs.