Pod Mind


Dolphins use more of their brains’ capabilities than we do. The efficiency of their mode of communication becomes obvious in the wild, when they all move together as a unit, surf the waves at the same moment, make direction-changes simultaneously  … How can we develop instant, open communication like this? When we have no secrets, no hidden agendas, no negative reactions. This is achieved through truthfulness, integrity, and Pod or Group Mind.

— Joan Ocean, on her years of experience swimming with dolphins


Why do some people who swim with dolphins and whales feel so profoundly affected by the experience, perhaps even healed, or changed forever? Often they describe it as pure joy.   Cetaceans do seem to know something we haven’t quite figured out yet as they wordlessly and synchronistically move together — something about community and oneness, and something about play and the space of joy itself which is so abundant that it seems a bit foreign and even miraculous to us. Maybe that’s why sometimes, in their presence, we feel like are receiving answers long before we know the questions.


Why do we say we “fall” in love?
          A rain barrel overflowing

Question Michelle Tennison,  Answer Mark Harris, (2016)



The Secret Life of Words

All the Things You Said

All the Things You Said,    digital art collage by Josephine R. Unglaub

Is it possible that words themselves have a kind of life force or inherent energetic signature that has been forgotten?  According to Maurice Nadeau in The History of Surrealism, Andre Breton attached extreme importance to word games because “they showed that words had their own lives, that they were creators of energy, and that they could henceforth command thought.” (Breton’s words in italics).

What is conversation?
          Elephants outfitted for battle

Question Michelle Tennison,  Answer Mark Harris (2016)

Who hears but me hears all

— Surrealist proverb, Paul Eluard and Benjamin Peret


What is a dream?
          The voice of a monkey out in the darkness

Q&A Session with Mary Ellen Binkele and Michelle Tennison (1999)

Where did the melody for Amazing Grace come from?

          Under the ivy on the wall, a flock of birds singing

Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Mark Harris (2016)

How do we know when to forgive ourselves?
          Music only you can hear

Q&A Session with Paul Cunniff, Sharon Cunniff, Mary Ellen Binkele, and Michelle Tennison

What is the real meaning of being alone?

          Trying to hold hands with the sound of the ocean

Question Christopher Herold,  Answer Michelle Tennison (2017)





The above poem is from Burl, one of my favorite haiku collections of all time, written by Mark Harris and published by Red Moon Press.
As are these:






to be
five instars in


Mark was kind enough to play a round of Questions and Answers with me. The results are still resonating and expanding for me, months later. Some have already appeared on A Lit Jellyfish. Here are a few more:


Is fear necessary?
          Lessons learned from despair


What is group hypnosis?
          It’s like crossing a field of dry goldenrod stalks


Why are the ice caps melting?
          A moth fluttering in a closed hand


Questions Michelle Tennison,  Answers Mark Harris (2016)

I admit that two-and-two-makes-four is an excellent thing, but if all things are to be praised, I should say that two-and-two makes five is also a delightful thing.

–Feodor Dostoevsky

What is the secret life of numbers?
          A black spot just outside your field of vision

Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Mark Harris (2016)

How long is a moment?
          Remember me

Question Mary Ellen Binkele, Answer Michelle Tennison (2016)

“We are Determined to Create a Revolution.”

Surrealism is not a new means of expression, nor a simpler one, nor even a metaphysic of poetry. It is a means of total liberation of the mind and of everything resembling it. 

  —Andre Breton, Surrealist tract, 1925


Is there a way out?
          (searching for) a lost oar

Question Mark Harris, Answer Michelle Tennison (2016)


When am I no longer me?
          The light fades to this point, the snakes come out

Question Harry Hudson, Answer Michelle Tennison (2004)