It was after a sweat lodge,
early spring this was,
(l’ll never forget it)
when we raised the flap
the forest was covered in four inches of snow
that had fallen during the last two rounds,
and so it caught us all by surprise.
It was late and dark.
It had stopped falling and was just there
where it wasn’t before,
as we emerged from the lodge.
That’s how nature is sometimes,
it’s like she’s saying,
Oh, you think you’ve figured me out?
We’ll see about that!
So we drove down to that lodge in spring
and we drove back home in winter.
And on the way home a mother moose
and her young one
got out in front of our car,
using our headlights
as their beacon to find their way to Tinmouth
where they finally veered off before the school.
I guess the mother didn’t want to deal
with all that snow in the woods
and she was on a mission;
for two miles we illuminated her way.
Not sure if her own shadow was a hole in the road,
she wove back and forth the whole time.
This slowed us down considerably,
down to maybe 4, 5 miles an hour.
But we were in no hurry.
Having just sweated with a bunch of friends
we were all prayed out,
feeling pretty good,
And we just weren’t in any hurry,
no hurry at all.
A bear saves a crow from drowning.
A baboon and a dog and a deer frolic in a field.
A little girl feeds the crows
And receives gifts from them in exchange.
This is the planet we are living on,
Not that other one that we are beating up.
An Orca lifts up a kayak on its back.
A parrot feeds a puppy its kibble snack.
A raven slides down a snowy roof on a dog dish.
This is the planet we are living on.
Not that other one that we are selling off piecemeal.
A man on death row manages to prove his innocence
Days before his execution.
He leaves his own freedom party,
Walks to the end of the backyard,
Throws his arms around an apple tree
This is the planet we are living on.
Not the one that knows no love.
A deer raises her head to watch me skirting the field.
And as I climb the fence into the orchard
She lowers her head to graze.
This is the planet we live on.
Not the one that we have forgotten.
We used to have picnics on a bayside beach.
My grandmother was too frail to walk on the sand,
So we used to carry her from the car
Which made her grumble,
Which was just grandma.
We never knew how much she hated being carried
Because we were so busy feeling manly,
My brother and I.
And once we got her settled out of the breeze
She would say
“There, this is nice. . .” or something like that
And when you are young you never question a smile.
So that was our permission to run off
Leaving our half-eaten sandwiches
While she sat there under her hat
Facing outward to the bay.
How inspiring is that!
Maybe we should go back to what we were trying to do
When we got discouraged:
Try to scratch together a living selling loosies in the street
As a man of color?
Maybe someone was building a time machine
And they should get back to that!
Teach a friend’s dog to speak for a YouTube video,
Go out in this snowstorm and not come in
Until you find two identical flakes.
Join the campaign to replace the Star Spangled Banner
With Woody’s “This Land is Your Land?”
Because it is our land, damn it.
What a guy, that Romney.
What an inspiration to us all
No matter what our lost cause.
My ax is grinding
All by itself!
I can hear it giving itself to the grinding wheel
Every day when I wake up,
Most nights when I go to bed.
I am just grinding it.
What would I use it for?
To cut down my enemies to size?
To swing against the foundations of the NSA?
To destroy the diabolical machinery
That is excavating the tarsands in Alberta?
To obliterate all the missiles and missile silos
In the US and Russia and China?
To chop through all the walls that Israel has built
Over the years of its morally bankrupt occupation?
To use the butt-end to smash through
The prejudice and thickening armor
That our politicians weld
Around their hearts and minds?
To slice through the artery
That sluices our tax dollars into the military machine?
To sever my connection with all of the dysfunction
Of my paranoid, backwards nation?
Or just to chop through the gate
That keeps the pony of my spirit
Pastured where the grass has long since died?
— Gary Lindorff
But I can’t breathe.
Maybe I’m dying.
I tried to run
But I got caught
Thinking terrible thoughts about my twisted country.
Dangerous and dark thoughts,
Like a German might have thought
When the Nazis were beating up Jews.
And the zeitgeist was shouting at me to stop.
Don’t shoot! I shouted,
Peeing my pants,
I’m the same color as Jesus!
But the zeitgeist
Wasn’t a Christian.
Wasn’t even a white cop.
He was a friggin’ octopus!
And he wasn’t interested in anything I had to say.
I only had enough air to get out one more lie:
America is awesome!
But I was falling
And my sight was obscured by a red curtain
As the zeitgeist pulled me down.
It’s just those CEOs and Senators!
The damn 1%! Can you believe it?
They’re having a keg party in the medicine circle.
But this is our neighborhood. Do you want to join them?
Wait a second! Now they are calling out obscenities to the four directions.
They’re making racist jokes about the president.
Blame it on the booze.
Let’s shake our heads in unison.
Let’s disapprove. My God!
But it looks like fun, being out of control like that
In the medicine circle of all places.
Shall we call it quits on this whole game of life-as-we-know-it
And join the debauchery?
There is plenty of room in that medicine circle
For every kind of greedy, drunken, asinine tom-fool.
Why shouldn’t there be room for people like you and me
Who aren’t doing much right now
Except going to work or not going to work. . .
As long as it’s going to make jobs, let them binge!
I think it will make some jobs.
Maybe they have some kind of grand plan.
Even though they are pasty and stumbling around
And ripping their shirts
And vomiting all over themselves,
They must know something we don’t know
Or they wouldn’t be so rich and powerful.
Don’t you wish you got paid for cutting your toe-nails?
Anyway, I’m torn.
It’s a medicine circle. Isn’t that some kind of Indian thing?
Ebola, “Black River”,
Thank-you for giving your name
To a killer virus.
Those scientists, those doctors,
The ones who discovered the germ,
They looked at a map
And they saw the river Ebola.
That’s a good name!
They almost named it Yambuku
After the town
Where the virus was actually discovered.
It was three o’clock in the morning.
That’s how these things go.
Now in the midst of all the fear,
Paranoia and heroism,
And the usual belated scrambling
To do the right thing,
I am thinking,
What a beautiful name
For that little river in the Congo:
Ebola, Black River.
GL: Well, here we are. I don’t know where to start. What should I call you? Mother? Earth?
Gaia: Either one. Mother is fine. Or Gaia.
GL: OK Gaia. I was going to start by asking if you are really alive but I guess you’ve already answered that. But my guess is that people are anxious to hear it directly from you. So, are you alive?
Gaia: Yes. I know that is hard for your kind to grasp. I am more alive than you because your life depends upon my aliveness. You partake of my aliveness.
GL: Wait a second. So, if the human race migrated to another world, we wouldn’t survive?
Gaia: Well, not exactly, but you would eventually metamorphose into something different than you are now.
GL: So what you are saying is, if we colonized Mars, and those colonists stayed on Mars in isolation, after a certain number of generations, those settlers would start to become Martians?
Gaia: If Mars came back to itself and was able to support human life, their DNA would gradually become Martian DNA.
GL: Oh, our scientists will have fun with that! So, how do you feel about the human race? What we have done to you.
Welcome to Walmart,
How may I help you?
You can start by reading my shirt.
On the front it says: Leave while you can.
On the back: Follow my ass.
Outside the day-sky is black.
There is a static energy crackling from
Every plant and rooftop.
Everything is charged.
There is an acidic tang to the air,
A volatile fried plastic smell.
I am homeless.
I will do anything for food.
Wash your car, clean your garage.
I am a middle-aged starving, fat American.
I see myself crucified on a solar panel.
I do not trust my governor,
My senator, or my president.
And least of all myself.
I tread lightly.
I’ve been trying to grow wings.
Where can I find reading glasses and socks?
I wander the aisles of Walmart
Trying to focus on my inner life.
Every-day-low-prices suckle my brain.
I have a real barcode on my butt.
When I get my glasses and my socks
I will stand in the parking lot.
I will squint at the sun
Which will be smiling
And pointing its bright middle finger
At my car
Which is on fire.
That is the future.
There are no cars in the future,
No bees, no Walmarts.
It isn’t anything like this.
That I promise.
But people will have wings.