Where I am from Valleys holler back through the landscape A plateau, forested, skyscrapered, golf coursed In June rain, rivers climb their floodplains uncaring Shale and mud slip away, creeks continue their cutting work Seeking the bedrock bones
We know you want us to behave. Daily, we catalog our grievances for all you deny us: burnt, crumbling bits of bacon, the warmth of your body at rest. From the floor, we cannot comfort you. Outside, it’s not much better. You say NO to skunks sunning, wasps nesting, a visiting Pekingese. We don’t stop to talk to friends, even the nice ones with cookies in their pockets. WE’RE TRAINING, you yell. When the road ends in the woods, you begin to relax. There, under the mulberries, the chokeberries, the bitternut hickories, you loosen your grip on our leashes. We hear you breathing. Sometimes, you unclip your tethers from around our necks. Here, we teach you. Let’s scamper after chipmunks and find deer dens hidden in the tall grass. Let’s lap rainwater from cloudy puddles and run with tongues lolling not to log the mileage but because it feels good. You, who has been so busy teaching, do you see the crane perched on one foot, balancing at the precise point where the creek water kisses the silty dirt? Our lessons can resume when we finish with the woods—spent and panting, with cold extremities and racing heartbeats. But for now, let’s enjoy the air beneath the canopy of this glorious birch. Let’s feel its coolness on our noses. Does it not smell sacred to you? After all, what are the woods for, if not an invitation to pray.
The memories of this gorge at the bottom of the hill, I turned every rock, Watching time stand still. Through the middle of a city Itself weaned on the milled forge, Runs long our playground of a Jurassic gorge. With lakes drawn for mans gain, Come taste the smell Lofting throughout The urban reigns. E.C.
Do not touch your face/ Don’t forget to say grace.
To save ourselves who has a clue/ Of what on Earth to do/ Why not stampede for toilet tissue?/ To the main topic here this is no discontinuity/ And to mark Earth Day’s first half century/ Why not consider a bike build subversity?/ Ride sustainability in perpetuity.
No ransom for royalty will mine be/ Nor lock-it-up pathology/ Not Harley or Honda or Norton Commando/ But the lightweight familiar/ Low carbon to go./ From random origins re- integrating/ Derailleur, freewheel, basket for freight bearing/ Soon very likely it’s calling for riding/ And the bell still can ring./ New brakes and cables/ The seat looks like torture/ But entirely consistent with enhancing our future/ Sustainable practice in practice!/ Environmental crisis prophylaxis!
On this rare and sacred sanctuary/ Our esteemed enduring Big Rock#3/ The lately most salient reality/ Is a pair of close siblings calling more frequently/ Each indisposed to gestures of leniency/ Make no mistake their common ontogeny/ Pandemics and climate change and what other progeny?/ For much higher impact the twosome synergetic/ Now target the inimical myopic diathetic/ High caution to many conventions endemic.
Who can doubt it, we’re today in a crucible/ The experience now could be just dress rehearsal/ Will the pandemic itself take a reversal? / And where does virus definition/ Include stasis as condition? / Among the instruments of adjustment/ A virus is a perfect complement/ For restoring peace on this firmament/ Why choose then, resentment, lamentment? / For responses judicious and decent/ There is good record of precedent.
The once familiar “normal”/ So easy to invoke/ Reinstated, undebated/ Means ever more of gag and choke/ There’s formidable arsenal to provoke./ For some reason lately, a misunderstanding/ Our apprehending needs expanding/ There’s inversion of perception/ Demanding honest interrogation/ Identify contagion, identify aberration/ And which is defence, which prosecution?
Homeostasis fits well in the Earthly equation/ Ever useful, effective, self calibration/ Consider James Lovelock’s wise surmise/ In fact no big surprise/ Regarding Gaia he did hypothesize/ Planet Earth as living entity/ Almost in herself, singularity/ Expect then, with alacrity, tenacity/ Prompt response of immunity/ To thoughtless societal effrontery.
Last year, all heard it/ Eleven years remained/ For an anthropocene unrestrained/ A dangerous, too costly imbalance/ Much too long maintained/ The pushing of plastic and singing ka-ching/ As cultural purpose, how inspiring ?/ A recipe only for more grief to bring.
•••••••( i )•••••••
When arrive the legions of benevolent alien/ To encamp and proceed in every nation/ On thorough campaigns of brain transplantation/ Any limit to the dreamscape imagination?/ And how deep is the mind’s addiction/ To the most outrageous fiction?/ But if such good fortune ever eventuates/ Please save me a place/ In the first line of candidates
•••••••( ii )•••••••
How did airtravel become so sanctified?/ A Late cornerstone of economies/ Fostering capricious dependencies/ Precluded through all human history/ A response now to a deficiency?/ Manifestation of a desperation?/ Where prosperity surpasses creativity and imagination?/ For now it’s a dose of banality/ Though once a sensation/ Converging with a TV generation/ Deep torpor on the couch, but poised with remote/ All have acquaintance with this anecdote.
Extrapolate to a bizarre possibility/ Slight stretch to the venerated normalcy/ A brief holiday in a remote galaxy/ Or ten days on beautiful Alpha Centauri?/ Equally vacuous, specious, injudicious/ One might choose Sirius/ IT IS after all, ALL ABOUT US/ For US right now its no sacrifice/ Externalize costs and roll the dice/ Transit a STEAL at twice the price/ Many the options exoticus/ For us of a culture capricious.
So be not deterred/ All costs are deferred/ Simply a shift of depredations/ Bequeath it all to future generations/ Promote further the state of desolation.
How keenly felt the tough privations/ By those avoiding such vacations?/ If they’re needed to “save your neck”/ Best consider VR tech/ Or support your local holodeck.
•••••••( iii )•••••••
Swat not that mosquito/ Do an earthworm rescue/ They fit this earthscape better than we do/ To be here they have more right than we do/ It’s a heavy charge that in essence/ To many would be a big offence/ Any volunteers as counsel for defense?
You find no earthworm administrations/ Of edentate regulations/ Do they insist on air conditionations?/ How much hope of their support/ For yet another airport?/ Or PT lumber for garden, playground or dock/ Or the big commute and more gridlock?/ Or would they often concede/ That THERE IS a “noxious weed”/ And with big consensus, all agreed/ Chemical warfare will meet the need/ How bad is earthworm halitosis/ From digital world hypnosis?/ Their own boredom and desperation/ For flash and dazzle stimulation/ Or expressing that a life well spent/ Is a craze of commitment to synthetic scent?/
There is INDEED much malodorum/ Why not slag the real odium?/ For us of current edition humanity/ Knowing the factor/ Of tumorgenic or hormone disruptor/ Elicits “Why on earth would that matter?” •••••••••••••
Earth Day EVERY day, all must insist/ A denial of futures if the choice is resist/ A tragedy is no inevitability/ All can be worthy of Rock# Three/ We’re all of the same waters/ From the primal asteroid showers.
Once again the town breathes hot and arid panting at the base of a California mountain range that runs from west to east. We pride ourselves on a canopy of trees in a drought stressed landscape, strive to maintain this gentle shady dream.
After each rain my heart eases, relaxes its clenched fist. With enough of a drench I hear the root hairs drinking for a couple of weeks anyway.
At least there’s snow in the Sierra Madre, mother of waters, for the coming year. I can imagine damp meadows of magenta shooting stars and glowing panther lilies, petals arching backwards from their mottled throats, preening beside stream banks.
But rumors of El Nino moisture don’t put juices in the bushes of our chaparral landscape. I’m all tensed up again.
I try to maintain an outlook more geological than botanical, have a little more trust in the depth of roots, but at 90 degrees on Valentine’s Day, no clouds in a sharp blue sky, all these hopes of green may be unrealistic. Better to love the paddles of opuntia, eat nopales and sweet Indian fig, called sabra in Hebrew in another thorny land, to love the spiny cholla, shining golden in the glare, that hosts the cactus wren, and get comfortable with boulders and gravel.
And doesn’t the syrupy sunlight rest sweetly on my closed eyelids? And wasn’t that sleeveless February evening delicious against my skin?