How It All Started

Once there was a potent, erratic
particle that contained everything.
And because it contained everything,
it was entirely, acutely self-aware.
It wobbled around massively, creating
space and destroying time, preserving
momentum and reversing entropy.
It played with the speed of light,
just for giggles, and let it run
at a million wavelengths of orange
peel per 9 billion dragonfly flaps.
That was a hoot. Then it fiddled
with vacuum impedance and
the polyester suit electron charges
for a while longer, just because it could.
It got bored, it got excited, it got
forgetful, it recovered. It split, it
combined, it undulated lasciviously.
Eventually, it decided to die, just to
see what would happen. So, it created
and jumped off the edge, falling
at variable speeds until it found one it liked.
Its bottom hit the bottom while its top
was still at the top, and it squirted fragments
of matter that became stars and coffee and
dogs and–oddly, in only two places–unicorns
and flying monkeys. Humans came later,
and because the clever ones liked fireworks,
they grossly misnamed the Big Squirt. That
was ok. Eventually the octopi will wise up
and get their shot at physics; then we’ll see
a thing or eight.

— Michael Kulp

Michael Kulp is a writer and father of two mostly grown children who have survived his shenanigans through smarts they inherited from their mother.

His creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in consumer magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. His first book, Random Stones: A book of poetry was published in 2016.

His work has been included in the following venues: Adventure Racing Magazine, Ancient Paths Literary Magazine, The Backwoodsman, Barrow County (GA) News, Blink-Ink, Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine (UK), Firefly Magazine*, Friday Flash, Fiction, Gravel, Gyroscope Review, Haiku Journal, Ink, Sweat & Tears*, KEROSENE 2012—Burning Man in New York City, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Micropoets Society, Stripped Lit 500*, Three Line Poetry (anthology), Travel Thru History, We Said Go Travel, Where the Mind Dwells (anthology), Yellow Chair Review.


*Accepted for upcoming publication.

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Editor’s Notes: To complement “How It All Started,” the image was chosen from the paper, “Observation of a New Particle with a Mass of 125 GeV.” The event was recorded with the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) detector* in 2012 at a proton-proton center of mass energy of 8 TeV. The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of the SM Higgs boson to a pair of Z bosons, one of which subsequently decays to a pair of electrons (green lines and green towers) and the other Z decays to a pair of muons (red lines). The event could also be due to known standard model background processes.


*The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) smashes groups of protons together at close to the speed of light: 40 million times per second and with seven times the energy of the most powerful accelerators built up to now. Many of these will just be glancing blows but some will be head on collisions and very energetic. When this happens some of the energy of the collision is turned into mass and previously unobserved, short-lived particles – which could give clues about how Nature behaves at a fundamental level – fly out and into the detector.


CMS is a particle detector that is designed to see a wide range of particles and phenomena produced in high-energy collisions in the LHC. Like a cylindrical onion, different layers of detectors measure the different particles, and use this key data to build up a picture of events at the heart of the collision.


Scientists then use this data to search for new phenomena that will help to answer questions such as: What is the Universe really made of and what forces act within it? And what gives everything substance? CMS will also measure the properties of previously discovered particles with unprecedented precision, and be on the lookout for completely new, unpredicted phenomena. (Citation source:

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