New poem:

The pipe

The pipe is longer than long.
No one knows where it starts
Or where it ends.
It carries our dreams.
It carries our stories.
You can put your ear to it and hear beautiful singing.
That is the sound of the spirit running through it,
The spirit of the beautiful beasts
Who used to people this land.
We make offerings to it,
Offerings of flowers and hair,
For without it we would not be here.
The pipe is our mother, our father,
It is our teacher,
It is our communion.
It is where we will go when we die:
Our spirits will be sucked in.
When the pipe sweats
We collect the droplets
To baptize our newborns,
And to anoint the dead,
To heal the sick.

Notes toward a manifesto

I want more of these things:
Peace, happiness, friendship;
I have these things:
Home, dreams, loving companionship;
I will fight for these things:
Truth, freedom of speech, nature;
I will cultivate these things:
Kale, garlic, blueberries;
I will bury these things:
Cynicism, angst, racism;
I will reject these things:
Meaningless taboos, business as usual, patriarchy;
I will value these things:
Conscience, openness, selflessness;
I will nurture these things:
Patience, courage, friendship;
I will overcome these things:
Complacency, skepticism, regret;
I will study these things:
Globalism, human rights, women’s rights;
I will exercise these things:
Voice, spontaneity, joy;
I will contemplate these things:
Spirit, mystery, destiny;
I will deplore these things:
Gun violence, incarceration and the death penalty, addiction;
I will liberate these things:
Imagination, linear thinking, two-party politics;
I will support these things:
Animal rights, freedom to protest, LBGT rights;
I will look forward to these things:
Health, long life, self-acceptance;
I will oppose these things:
Nuclear technology, war, capitalism;
I will be these things:
A liberated human being, a dreamer, a revolutionary.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Sliding scale

The physical thisness
of the question
available qualities
spinning infections incubation.
Because everything noted,
oblong rebuttal
post neo anti macro
prenatal capacity
turns inward,
swinging plaintively
release phase obvious
carries forward. . .
Suppressed direction alone
tends to happen
exactly in terms
of waxwing.
I recommend
upending the oblong
structure of reinvention.
Move deeper this idea
forehead cool
(Don’t forget to breathe.)
footsies warm repeat
associated and now
like anybody else
damaged vision
downward dog
truly bleeding the role
where you have
sympathetic emergency of focus.
Probably impossible
but you promised.
The acupuncturist leaves
one in for the road.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Riding the elephant

There is an elephant king
lying flat out on the ground,
His life was giving rides.
I know exactly how he feels,
that’s the crazy part . . .
To be used I mean,
by those with tiny dreams.
(Elephants actually walk on their toes!
They barely make a sound
because the pads of their feet
surround what they step on.)
This old one is done tip-toeing,
is lying in the dust,
imprisoned by the scale
of what used to be his eminence!
His trumpeting voice
reduced to a mere
fluting in his brain;
whatever he once wanted to trumpet.
He used to dream of rampaging
through the village,
bulldozing huts,
scattering the tiny people.
How hard it is sometimes
to remember
to be proud
of what we are.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Sucking the bones of the bee

We are
breaking the little bones of earth
(bones of coral, bones of red wolf,
bones of bat and bee,

bonobos, their little fingers). . .
Now that all the bigger bones have been broken
to extract the marrow,
we are breaking all the little bones . . .

to make ourselves powerful
to defeat our enemies in battle,
to feel superior to our enemies
because we are so vulnerable,

vulnerable to fear and pain
and hunger and feeling alone,
alone with each other
whom we do not trust

to feed us when we are hungry,
to care for us when we are wounded,
when we are old and helpless.
We are

very busy
breaking the little bones of mother earth,
now that all the bigger bones
have been broken.
New poem by Gary Lindorff in ‘Sucking the bones of the bee’

Gary Lindorff

We are not all in the same boat

If the 5% disappeared
And the 95% became the 100%
There would be a tomorrow.
We could buy maybe another hundred years
To get our shit together.
There would be an ease of panic.
The doomsday clock would back off
A few minutes from midnight.
Everyone in the world would have enough.
It’s possible. See,
We aren’t all equal.
We’re not all the same.
We’re not all in the same boat.
Some are in a sinking raft
Trying to get to a safe landfall.
Some are in a sturdy lifeboat
With cover and adequate rations.
And some are in a yacht
Partying their brains out.
(I didn’t even know how to spell yacht.)
Guilt is a funny thing.
If you’re guilty
Guilt becomes your yoke
And people who are looking for workers
To service their estates,
Clean up after their mess,
Feed them,
Educate their children,
Groom their dogs,
Don’t have to look far for help.
If we want to make the crisis go away,
First we have to stop feeling guilty
And realize that we aren’t the problem.
The problem is that we,
In the lifeboat
Think that we are the problem,
And guilt is devouring
Our ability to act.
The problem is
That we are
Taking on the guilt
That belongs to those who are truly guilty.
No, we are not all in the same boat.
But the ones in the sinking raft
Can use some help.
And the ones in the yacht?
They have to know they are guilty.
    –Gary Lindorff

New poem:

Fishing the red herring

We were at Shelby’s at the bar and Jeff,
Who was watching Fox News,
Slams down his empty bottle
And says,
I’m so sick of hearing about damn red herrings
I’m going to catch me one.
Is anyone with me?

A chorus of Ayes and Aye captain!
Jeff’s boat had just come out of dry dock.
We all knew it was just an excuse
To get out of painting his basement,
But we were all on our third or fourth brew
And it didn’t take much.
So we were going to catch some red herring!
We’re all Bernie-supporters and
Were buoyed by his recent wins in the primaries
And the appearance of the sparrow
At his Portland rally.
As I say, it doesn’t take much.
The seas were heavy and white-capped
As soon as we cleared the jetty.
If it was just the lifting and rolling
It wouldn’t have been a worry
But the wind was gusting from the southeast.
Never a good sign;
Even I know that.
Occasionally we would get nailed
And the boat would shudder.

New poem:

One day, in the asylum


We were having a bad day in the asylum,
A bad 8 years, a bad sixteen years,
Oh, heck, a bad era,
Well, let’s face it, a bad history.
But we had a good leader for a change,
A guy from Vermont
With wild white hair,
An honest man
Who most people liked and trusted
Who openly talked about revolution.
We were all hurting,
Waiting for a sign.
Time was rushing by.
Days, weeks, months.
We were all serving life-sentences
Without parole,
That is, living in America.
Me in Vermont, you in Pennsylvania,
My good friend Tim in California. . .
And the feeling was ominous and ubiquitous.
Like a Stephen King novel.
There were distant mountains
Crumbling silently,
Occasionally a forest would fall down.
Bees were going extinct.
Japanese children were eating Minke whales in school.
The government was busily making tiny atom bombs.
But who knew what was real anyway?
Some of us had turned to prayer

New poem:

Our monster

The electrodes were pulled,
The thing woke, shaking off its death-trance,
Got up, looked around.
We had a monster.
It is ours.
We created it
Out of provincialism,
And our fear of everything.
It swam up out of the depths of our
Not taking ourselves seriously,
Evolved out of our choosing war every time.
It grew fat in the nursery of our cultivated indifference,
Descended when we lost our appetite for principles.
It started by devouring our dreams.
It licked its shark teeth
When we let the angry neighbor convert us.
When we let the self-righteous
Do all the praying,
Its shadow crossed the land.
When we gave up on each other,
When we gave up on the land,
That was when we felt its breath on our necks.
When we stopped voting our conscience
And invested all of our naiveté in a virtual future,
That was when we summoned it
To lurch forward.
And when we abandoned the hope of the moment,
That was when it knew it had a home!
You know, that old place
That we used to call home?
Where the door now stands
Wide open to the wind and rain,
Where the windows rattle
When the fracking earthquakes shake the land?
Where the paint peels
On the empty farm stand?
Our monster sits on the leaning porch
Just like a human
Waiting for the world to end,
Except smiling
Like a damn politician.
Gary Lindorff

The Pink Bear

Wow. I had a dream that went on all night.
There was a pink bear sighting in Alaska.
Then there were pink bear sightings
In South Dakota and Colorado,
All thought to be hoaxes but then
The New York Times published a photo, front page;
It looked real enough.
The article interviewed a hiker
Who reported talking to the Pink Bear.
He said it was standing up.
When asked what the bear said
The hiker said he couldn’t repeat it;
The bear was talking trash.
The hiker said the bear was heading for Washington.
What happened next is hard to believe.
(I mean in my dream it was hard to believe.)
There were signs that great changes are coming:
Mount Shasta was waking up, sending out a plume of ash.
Native Americans warning, This is it.
There was a black-out in Washington
And when the lights returned
Someone had painted the Abraham Lincoln monument
Blackface, black hands.
And CODEPINK managed to cloak
Half the Washington Monument in pink.