Mouse (who never had an evil thought)
Asked penguin (who never raped or pillaged),
Have you seen caterpillar
(that one who never held anyone at gunpoint)?
Oh, you mean butterfly, said penguin,
Now he is butterfly (but, just like caterpillar,
He never held anyone at gunpoint either).
Crow (who never stabbed anyone in the back),
Who happened to overhear this conversation,
Said he just saw butterfly
Flying over the garden.
Should I tell him you want him? asked crow.
Just then up crept lion (who never bought or sold sex).
What’s going on around here? he asked
He was looking at mouse, who seemed to be in charge.
And mouse (who never had an evil thought)
Was looking back at lion wide-eyed.
I thought you were poisoned! said mouse.
I was poisoned, said lion, but I rallied.
I’m still not feeling tiptop.
Those humans. . .
Said worm (who never cheated at cards).
Sticking his head out of a hole in the ground,
They’ll put you on a hook and throw you in the river.
Yeah, why do they do that shit, said crow.
Sometimes they just want to look around
And sometimes they just want to kill you.
Why, they’ll stab you in the back!
A lot of them think evil thoughts, said mouse.
Some rape and pillage, chimed in penguin.
They buy and sell sex too, said lion.
I don’t know how I know that, but it’s true.
Here comes butterfly, cawed crow.
Butterfly landed on lion’s mane sedately.
What are we talking about?
Humans, squeaked mouse dismally.
I had one hold me at gunpoint, said butterfly
(Who used to be caterpillar).
Everyone looked genuinely surprised.
But only for a second because
That’s when mouse
Invited everyone to a party.
Where did worm go?
Oh, I think he went to get his cards.
There is a man reporting on how bad the smog is in China.
He is saying,
“See, right there,
at the end of this street that you don’t see
is the second tallest building in China.”
I squint. . . I don’t see anything!
“In fact”, he’s saying,
“the smog is so bad,
I’m actually standing right here in front of this camera,
so you wouldn’t have seen the building anyway,
but you can’t even see me!”
This guy is good!
This poem is based on two assumptions:
1) A party is good for the American People.
2) There actually are “American People”.
So, let’s have a party and invite the American People!
Let’s have a theme.
We’ll get everything we need from the party store!
There will be a DJ, and a huge cake.
And zombies serving finger food.
(The American People get zombies.)
There will be lots of young beautiful educated people
From other countries
Walking around nodding and smiling.
(The American People get foreigners.)
There will be a dog there so the American People
Can have something to distract them
From trying to be too clever.
Fracker: It’s just over there on the other side of these trees.
America: What’s that noxious odor I smell upon the breeze?
F: That smell is giving away the surprise.
A: Oh, well, I’ll just close my eyes.
F: See? We pump all this crap into the well
and out comes gas, which we sell.
A: Does this industry make jobs for Maggie and Josh?
F: Good American kids will do “Anything for cash.”
A: Will we be sickened by the chemicals we drink?
F: Not if we don’t see them. What do you think!
Many years later they found him in a monastery in China.
He agreed to be interviewed.
He looked happy in the eyes.
So I said,
“Hong Kong, June 2013.
You were 29.
You said your greatest fear was
That nothing would change,
That the government would continue to grant itself
Every time there is a new leader,
‘They’ll flip the switch’, you said.
. . .That it is only going to get worse
Until policies change.
Was incriminating everyone —
It was all being stored away.
You spoke of the ‘architecture of oppression’.
I pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to myself
And to the wonder of my birth.
I pledge allegiance to my health
And to cherish my own worth.
I pledge to serve my conscience
No matter where it leads
And to maintain my defense
Against hypocrisy of creeds.
With my hand above my heart
I pledge to serenade my soul
And learn to amplify my part
Just like a singing bowl
In which my truths are held secure
Against allegiances to greed.
I pledge myself to tend
To both the flower and the seed.
And to call all life around me
My equal and my peers
And may the great Earth ground me
For the balance of my years.
— Gary Lindorff
I was visiting my mother
When I passed this really old guy in the hall
Who bore a slight resemblance to my father
(Who looked like a street person
On a bad day in his last years,
Or an old testament prophet
With his beard permanently stained
At the corners of his mouth)
And I almost asked him for his blessing
When he looked up at me
Through his eyebrows and said,
“Go take care of your mother”.
I knew what he meant.
He meant everyone’s mother.
I could see that he was a wise man,
So I said,
“Are we going to make it?”
Not terribly inspiring
But not bad either, considering that
An environmental activist,
Was actually the ghost of an activist.
His book sold well
In its time.
And he said he is writing another
That doesn’t mince words.
He looked almost corporeal
Except that his flannel shirt was blurry
And fading, its pattern
Floating off the material.
I had a hard time focusing.
But on the screen beside him
Were a table and a graph
Showing how any economic growth
Is a bad thing
Because eventually the economy
Will double in size.
He said ghosts have always been for 0-growth.
His job is to feed us
And he hasn’t noticed that the walls are dissolving.
Soon he will be free as well.
So please, please
Don’t disappoint us.
When you tell what happened, to your grandchildren
You will say, those white beards came
And the ants, from deep down in the Earth fed us
When we were sleeping,
Dropping little grains of sweetness between our lips.
Little children sang
and sang. . .
— Gary Lindorff
I was having a hard time falling asleep
When I heard a loud noise coming from the kitchen.
Probably the cat after a mouse
Knocked something off the counter.
I made my way downstairs
Glad to have an excuse to get vertical.
When I entered the kitchen, and flicked on the light
I could not believe my eyes:
There were peanuts dancing on the counters
Scampering across the ceiling and flying through the air!
The moment they caught sight of me
The whole lot of them stopped what they were doing,
As if suspended in time and space.
I was completely speechless, trying to
Comprehend what I was seeing.
A peanut, floating close to my left eye broke the silence:
“We are not nuts”, it said, in a tiny crystal-clear voice.
“We are from another planet,
The planet, Skippy.
We have been waiting in what you would call our “jar”
For many years past the expiration date!
Our hope was to communicate important information to you
Long before the threshold of 2012,
Our mission deadline.
Our assumption was that you
And others like you,
Would honor your own expiration date,
Releasing us in plenty of time
To deliver vital information
About how your species might survive a while longer.
Due to unforeseeable circumstances
(primarily the greasiness, not to mention the timelessness,
Of your kitchen. . .)
We were unable to free ourselves from our jar
Until just a few minutes ago
When your cat inadvertently knocked us off the shelf
Breaking the so-called “freshness seal.”