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GOVT OF THE CORPS, BY THE CORPS, FOR THE CORPS

21st century life, bottom line, corporations, performance, poem

I take an issue that matters to me, and I run with it, pun with it, play around with sounds and meanings, let my mind dance to the rhythm, until I've got a poem. I have no idea ahead of time what I'll come up with!! And then I keep modifying it. Here's the YouTube of a possible final version of GOVT OF THE CORPS, BY THE CORPS, FOR THE CORPS, an issue that matters to everyone, even to those who don't yet know it! 

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THE BUT OF A BAD JOKE

climate, climate change, environment, global warming, poem

For a week I have to admit
Each morning I awaken, blink, sit
and sing, “Welcome sweet springtime we greet thee in song”
BUT wait, no, we haven’t had winter yet, I guess I’m wrong
BUT, BUT, it’s February
Already?
What about December? Collards still edible,
Broccoli and lettuce, felt incredible
January? oh gawd, January thaw
Maybe nature changed her law
Spring does start, in March, as I remember
Should never never begin in November
BUT BUT BUT I know
we’re gonna have ice, gonna have snow
temp surely will drop to sub-zero
down down down to thirty below
OK, I heard, winter starts tomorrow
will last two days, then spring for a day, winter for three,
then spring back, to tease me
All this is just
Gaia telling us
Global warming does exist, does exist
Earth’s not simply sunkissed
We’re gonna be sunburned
Put in the oven, cooked to a turn
Extreme is the beam that crisps our skin
Extreme is the beam that’s doing us in
Extreme ice, shakes, quakes, flood
Tsunamis, hurricanes, sliding mud
Our climate’s under a magnifier
Sometimes wetter, sometimes dryer
Records set for droughts, forest fires,
So why are there more and more climate deniers?
Gaia’s fracking angry, frack frack frack
It’s we who should shake as Gaia pays us back
Frack frack frack pays us back BUT why?
It’s because we gobble too much of the pie,
It’s because we gobble too much of the pie,
 

I WOOD IF I COULD

art, Earth Poets & Musicians, environment, events, exhibits, family, poem, Rosenblatt Gallery, paintings, drawings

The weeping willow dances in the breeze, and so do I.
But the willow has a different choreographer, though sometimes I give it a try,                                                try to choreograph the trees with my brush or pen,
and they dance according to my whim.
And sometimes the trees choreograph me,
not from just their outside appearance, from their in.
For when I paint on wood, I let the grain below
my brush tell it where to go.

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TOTAL RECALL

poem, politics, tsunami, Walker

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STUFF STUFF

climate change, environment, poem, stuff

We dipped into spring for a while before churches chimed midnight on 12/31/10. Spring didn’t lead into summer, instead lead to midwinter mutters, though it wasn’t midwinter. Yes, 2011 began with howls of wind.

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A BORN POET

events, family, poem

Not long after I started writing short stories in 1977, I realized our teenage daughter, Sarah, was a natural poet. Almost 33 years later, we're both still writing.

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THE UPSIDE OF DOWN

climate change, Earth Poets &, environment, events, global warming, performance, poem

Should I feel guilty about my delight as I survey my garden? My arugula, collards, lettuce, onion greens, hyacinth greens, all are still alive. My puny broccoli plants have fresh florets. And it’s November 23rd! Ironic. I fight for years to increase awareness of global warming’s dangers, then I revel in the extended growing season.

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RANDOM MEANDER

buses, Shorewood, poem

Does random imply meander, or meander imply randomness? Are events random as we meander through our day?

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MUST WE LOOK BEFORE LEAPING?

art, events, exhibits, drawings, paintings, poem

Dancing’s in my genes. On my mother’s side. Even at age 85 she wildly improvised to Paul Cebar at Bastille Days. She loved the human body in action, loved the movement and the freedom of dance. And so do I.

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IT'S ONLY HUMAN

art, Atwater, Conservation Committee, drawings, lake, poem, Shorewood, WATER

Thursday, August 6, was dream-lake afternoon. The water, placid and aglow, was the ideal surface for hundreds of gulls, and an occasional goose, to float, dive, and harmonize. “It sounds as if the gulls are singing!” I exclaimed to my grandsons, as sympathetic vibrations replaced the usual seagull squawks.

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PRIVATE "I"

poem, WATER, events

Three ladies in their eighties sat on a bench in Central Park last week. Behind them was a hillside covered with flowering pink bushes, and Adolph wandered past looking in the other direction.

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POETRY FOR A PANTRY, AND PIGGYBACKERS

events, performance, poem

Dean's lists, green lists, we also need a greed list, of those who gobble up resources while the rest of the world struggles. So while the gobblers gobble, next Friday we'll use poetry to collect money and cans of food for Central City Church's Food Pantry. Come hear Jim Hazard, Eric Jefferson, Tim Kloss, and me perform:
FRI, FEB 6, 2009, 8 PM, requested donation: $4 and two cans of food.
THE COFFEE HOUSE,  631 N 19 St
19th St just south of Wisconsin Ave
Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago. In view of the eighteen and a half billion dollars in bonuses for Wall Street execs, of the usual trickle-down arguments in Washington, of the rich insisting they need tax cuts, I see it's not yet obsolete.

Piggybackers' Cutbacks

They've power, they've money, yet hunger for more
Piggy-backing on those who are poor
Why do they want what they don't even need
In a world  of hungry mouths to feed?
Schools, housing, health care, head starts for the young
All need more funding, what's being done?
Cutting back, cutting back,
Those who are down get pushed through the cracks
Cutting back, cutting back, piggy-backers' income tax

They've power, they've money, yet hunger for more
So much so that they'll go to war
It's the poor who will fight
The poor will be killed
The rich get the spoils
The poor will be billed.

Earth was here before humanity
The forests the beaches the fish the sea
The diamonds the gold the soil
The oil the oil the oil
Why in the world should a privileged few
Think all these resources are their due?
Cutting back, cutting back,
Those who are down get pushed through the cracks
Cutting back, cutting back piggy-backers' income tax

Their rule is not golden, they'll torture, they'll kill
They'll imprison those who won't bow to their will
They  can't seem to feel, never learned how
They're stealing our future, their time's only NOW
Power on the outside, inside a gaping hole
they can't ever fill, for what's missing is the soul.

 

BYE BYE OH TA TA

environment, philosophy, poem


The Fitness Center was full on December 31. I was glad I came then and not January 1, when the resolution-makers would be working out en masse. I’m not the resolution type. I’d rather not postpone solutions to problems until a New Year shows up on the calendar.

Anyway most resolutions pertain to health, stop smoking drinking eating so much, cut out sweets sat fat junk food, exercise regularly. That’s already part of my everyday life, or, given my family history, I’d probably have had a heart attack or stroke by now. New Years Day can be a time to analyze the past year and decide what changes we ought to make. That’s what resolutions are all about. But shouldn’t that be an on-going mental exercise?

My attitude has a philosophical element: If I’m lucky enough to start out with a more or less healthy body, I’d better take care of it as well as possible, or I don’t deserve to have it. And won’t have it very long. That applies to everything, including man’s relationship to Earth. We’re born on a planet of breathtaking beauty and balance, and if we don’t take care of it, we don’t deserve it. And neither we nor the planet as we know it will last.

My life changed at a New Years Eve party. I met Adolph on New Years Eve in New York City, in 1959. That’s 49 years ago, and that was a resolution, to the question, in my mind at least, of whom I’d marry. Though I had no idea at the time.

It’s nine years since experts were frantic about the Y2K bug. They expected computers worldwide to crash at midnight when 1999 turned into 2000. Most computer didn’t crash, thanks to massive preventive action. I wrote a poem about Y2K, which did crash at midnight. I’ll resurrect it for a moment in honor of the New Year, and in the hope that many more of my poems will become obsolete now that we’ll have a new administration.

I too, you too, we too, they too
Are we bugged by Y2K
That pesky bug that
Pesti-cides can never spray away
Hidden in the Binary
That ordinary minds can't be-
Gin to comprehend
A bug that was created by extraordinary men
Who understood beginnings and ignored the end

Other  brilliant scientists
say they can
Drastically increase
our life span
Elongate our youth
yet can’t shorten our senility
And up to now
our distinctive ability
Has been to wipe out species by the dozens,
Flora, fauna, even our primate cousins

Is expansion a feasible enterprise?
Can we live longer while all else dies?
Can rainforests burn for cattle to graze
And vehicles cruise, turning pure air to haze?
Bye bye biota, adios to frogs
Ta ta to redwoods, man prefers  logs
Bye bye, biota, biota ta ta,
Bye bye, biota ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, biota ta ta

What can I, what can I, what can I say?
They extend the life of fruit flies, and can't get rid of Y2K
Y2K bug, oh buggabuggabuggabugga Boo
We kill our biota, but can't get rid of you

Are we biota, yes yes, we are,
Bye bye, biota, biota ta ta,
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, oh, ta ta
Bye bye, biota
Ta ta
 

LIVING LIFE STREAKED

Atwater, lake, poem, Shorewood

Several years ago I stood at the top of Atwater Bluff and watched a storm move over the lake, towards me, towards me, and finally above me. Everything I wore was wet with rainwater. I thought it was pure, clean, no need for the washer and dryer, I’d hang my soggy jeans on the line. That’s when I discovered the reek of acid rain.

Since then I haven’t purposely let a storm drench me, no matter how dramatic its entrance into the eastern sky. I do walk or bike to the bluff, especially for spring and summer sunsets, whenever I get the chance. Sometimes I merely admire the scene, sometimes I draw, sometimes I write. And I hope that the only drops falling on me will be eavesdrops.

My purse is filled with pieces of scrap paper, shorthand scribbles legible only to me. Here’s one about two or three weeks old: Two days ago at the verge of sunset, the Atwater Beachscape mesmerized all of us there to celebrate a break in the rains. The pastel pink clouds to the south were so distinct they appeared outlined. The still water, luminous as it reflected the vanishing light from the west, was streaked aqua and pink. And now I’m here again, same time of day, benched on the landing one flight above the sand.
“So many steps, this is absurd,” mutters someone climbing upwards.
“Long way down there,” says a woman peering from the top.
“A lotta stairs.”
“Look at all these steps.”
“It’s a long way down,” a boy’s voice this time.
The light gradually turns dreamlike, but tonight everyone’s looking at the steps.

Here’s a piece of paper that actually has a date, June 25: It’s stunning again tonight, but people as always trudge up and down, attention focused on steps instead of pink-blue sky reflected on pink-blue lake.
“I thought you said you were gonna carry me.”
“Carry you? No. You need an army to carry you!”
The redwing black birds converse in melodic bird chirps. It's hard to imagine what they're saying. Do they, too, love luminosity?
Still water, rippled streaks, colors subtle, alluring, luring me to stay when it’s time to go.
Bird speak, bird cheep, bird trill, tones sweet, getting dark, three-dimensional bird-sounds, gulls add their sour notes. It’s hard for me to leave the birdversation.

I’ve been a shore bird my whole life, writing, drawing, painting, contemplating. So I’ll end with one of my lake poems, written years ago:

THE DARK SIDE

Where the surface is textured
Like treads on a tire
The water is dark,
But where it is calm
There is light,
Where it is calm
There is light,
Perhaps that's why lakes
are streaked.

Where warmth and cold meet
There's traveling heat
Creating wind, gale, breeze.
If there were no cold,
where would warmth go?
If there were no cold,
where would warmth go?
Would there be currents
in lakes, lagoons, seas,
Would there be currents
in me?

The outside opposes,
Or flows with,
the currents beneath,
Affecting the light side
The dark side, the streaks.
What would light fill
If darkness weren't there?
What would light fill
If darkness weren't there?
Would there be currents
in me?

The inside opposes
or flows with
Crosses
or goes with
Exposes or hides.
Unlike the lake
our surface being skin
Makes less transparent
the currents within
The light sides, the dark sides
What do our hides hide?
Why do we live our lives streaked?
 

EARTH POETS & MUSICIANS

environment, performance, poem

Since I'm one of the original members of the Earth Poets, and our twentieth anniversary performances take place this Friday and Saturday, I thought I'd post our press release, and a poem.

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SIMPLICITY NOT MADE SIMPLE

environment, Grass Roots, poem, salon

If intention were action, I’d post a blog every day. I always write one. In my head. Sometimes I write down the first paragraph, in fact don’t yet know whether this will be merely another first paragraph. I find almost everything interesting, but can’t find time to write about it. And if intention were action, I’d post a blog after every Second Sunday Soup and Salad Salon. First we share our food, after that our thoughts on a specific topic. We examine the issues that affect our lives, philosophical, environmental, cultural, political.

This month I resolved to write beyond paragraph one, maybe because our topic was voluntary simplicity, which covers every aspect of how we live. Simplicity enforced by poverty was not the topic, nor the simplicity that will be imposed on us as climate change progresses, but simplicity chosen by those who are lucky enough to have that choice. What is it, what does it require of the individual, where are each of us now? What is the media’s impact on this? Why do so many people buy into the importance of THINGS?

We touched on the range of complexity entailed in simplicity and how each of us deals with it. People mentioned personal quirks they were trying to work on, like the man with more shoes than Imelda, or the woman trying to get rid of her excess so her children won’t be stuck with it.

My view: to live simply we have to examine our lives, know our priorities, know what makes us content, recognize that things are merely things. Here are a few things I do, or avoid doing:
I don’t drive, but rather bike, walk, or bus
Grow my own vegetables, but what about all those trees that make the crop smaller each year?
Make sure my grandkids know how wonderful it is to eat food you yourself have grown
Use fresh produce, preferably organic, preferably local
Avoid processed foods, red meat, farmed salmon
Minimize eating out
Use organic products for cleaning and lawn care, avoiding pesticides and other poisons
Recycle, and that includes buying, when possible, at rummage sales
Keep the thermostat low and wear sweaters and long underwear in winter
Minimize water use, hard when I have a vegetable garden
Remind myself to let go, of things that don’t really matter, of the things I want to do and don’t have time for, of things I own but don’t need.
Use whatever talents I have to make people contemplate their own impact on their surroundings. That’s why I’m writing this!

There’s more I do, and much more I should do. One thing I want to say: every single item on my list enriches my life rather than depleting it.

Yvette wrote this to me after last Sunday’s salon: “I realized that my life has been simplified over the last 5 months due to a change in my eating.  I've become a vegan (by default) to help reduce the tinnitus (ringing in my ears).  I've reduced the amount of food I consume.  I cook more and eat out less.  I buy most of my veggies from local farmers markets and have taken the time to nurture myself in this way.  It has been a worthwhile journey.  Change your eating, change your world!...One point that we didn't discuss:  Rhythms can greatly simplify our life.  We create a harmonic rhythm to the day and it flows as we flow with it.  We can also create a beautiful rhythm to tasks that come on a routine basis.  It requires conscious thought and aware alignment, but ultimately as we align ourselves with the rhythm of the universe, we find flow and peace in voluntary simplicity.”

I wrote Glow Ball Worming for our Earth Poets and Musician performances last April. It plays around more poetically with my ideas on voluntary simplicity and ecological living, which are intertwined. I hope you’ll add any thoughts you might have.
 

JUMBLED AGAIN

poem, quirks

You click the wrong spot, and you never know where you’ll end up. I did that the other day, and since that wrong spot was in Eudora, my Email application, I ended up with a garbled in-box. Over 500 messages had been waiting for me to deal with them, and now they’ll never be dealt with. Rather than try to sort out the messed messages, which I already knew was impossible (previous experience, believe it or not), or search for missing information that now was dislocated, I trashed everything in my in-box.

It’s over 3 ½ years since the last time I did this. Here’s a poem I wrote then:
CLEAN-UP OF TIME POLLUTION
I lost everything in my in-box
Messages I intended to answer
Articles I hadn't read
Yet
Political actions, invitations,
Birth of Jeremiah congratulations,
So why aren't I up-
Set?
656 messages waiting for action from me.
Now there are none.
Suddenly I'm free.

Did I learn anything from that first mistake? Yes. Let go! It was time for those messages to say goodbye.
Have I learned anything from the second mistake? Yes. But I don’t yet know what it is.
 

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