A divorce lawyer who attended my Practical Neuro-Literacy program in New Hampshire earlier this month just sent me 58–yes, 58–short poems inspired by the presentation. Raymond Foss has given me permission to post them, and I’ll start with the one pasted below.

The title –“When a Big Dog Attacks”– refers to a slide–the head of a ferocious, slavering black dog–that I use to illustrate the power of implicit memory and of the amygdala, a very old area  of the emotional (limbic) brain that activates immediate, powerful responses such as fear, outrage, and grief when emotion-saturated memory patterns are triggered.

That slide, and the accompanying “amygdala hijack” segment of the program,  inspired this poem:


I have seen them, losing control

their response engrained

the stimuli perhaps hidden

from my sight, subtle

but instant, visceral, reacting

as when a big dog attacks

seeing the manifestation

body language, reason

changed in an instant

the programmed reactions

deep within their brains

something instinctive

primal, primitive

learned long before

when the big dog attacks

the same in the court

in settlement, resolution

on cue devolving,

by a word, an action,

a mere twitch of a micro-muscle

back into survival, not thinking

losing perspective, losing control

losing their case

 Copyright June 2012, Raymond Foss.


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