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MARCH 3rd

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It’s still here; winter

Marching to that clove of seasons

We remain road-kill

Frozen, run over by ice and time

Clutching fingers stiffened releasing

Any vestige of warm memory

And all the light

That winter allows

To see war as it is

(Not the misguided

Miscalculations of man)

But nature’s

Mysteries of the obvious

Safeguards of Spring

swans & mallards

The lake is down –

To the frozen edges

A swan or two

And tasteless

Geese footing

To rocky nests

Where they curl into

Feathery boulders among

The cold pebbles

Upon which you’ll slip

Next summer

 

Try to find music in

Canadian geese honking

All night – by morning

You’ll know all about

Exercising in futility

 

They remain in spite of disdain

Small fluffy armadas floating in

February 28th’s icy water

Honking in a frosty daybreak

 

And, just when you’re ready

To curse the freezing dun

Madness of the season

An arcing muster of mallards

Waving in decisive consideration

Of parting clouds

Lands, arching necks

Off which the sun glints its elegant

Emerald promise of spring

FOR THE CHEER LEADER OF SCIENCE

 

 Dead coral

The non-fiction writer said *art will not fix the global crisis and the vengeance

Neglect is reining down upon our dirty greasy planet.

I beg to differ.

I want to dip Mr. Bryson in the waters of

Huxley, Orwell, Atwood, Carson, and the words of

Colette that tell the world of the corresponding

Smells of the betrayed, jealous and lovesick.

Science has a fix  but a “fix”

Denied its beauty – resolution

Because there is no profit

Ensuring the earth remains

Healthy for everyone.

Right here,

Right now,

Money’s to be made

Fat capitalists sucking the earth

Dry of its natural resources

Sadly, ironically

With the help science.

In revolutions over time

Knowledge and passion is

Ignited by art

And the time is neigh

When art reveals the capitalists deniers

Who catch the money flung at solutions

Hiding it away in the pockets of those

“Rapture ready”

With no need of a future world.

Art, in freedom

Will save us

When science, in chains

Will not.

 

 

* “An arts graduate is not going to fix global warming. They may do other valuable things, but they are not going to fix the planet, or cure cancer, or get rid of malaria.” ~  Bill Bryson

 

THE FERRY TO THE DRY TORTUGAS

Dry tortugas

 

 

 

 

Seats (the best) on the top deck

Draped with posh hotel

Towels – pulling double duty saving and drying the seat for

The entitled; the family of five with a guest

 

Middle age couple #1 she holding desperately his hand

He looking like he stole time

Deciding on the white island linen shirt

The #2 she, face a beautiful forlorn ruin looking

Into the shoulder she married.

A shoulder that is turned away from her

As her husband talks across his son’s girlfriend (who feigns sleep)

Explaining something

Important (?) to his namesake

 

The young pale and married couple next to us Russian (?)

He sits away from the rays reading a thick paperback

She sits yoga in the sun

 

Two lovers at the rail; beautiful

Unnoticing of the lame (who are now walking)

And the blind (who are now seeing)

When he of receding hairline & confidence

grabs at her hips

She shimmy’s away

Ignorant of the finite attracting powers of good skin

She stands away a bit – the coy mistress, eyeing him

As the lusty gulf wind whips at her hem

Revealing everyone’s wish

 

BIG PINE KEY

BPK vultures

The vultures have been hovering over the island for weeks now

Swirling in great black theatrical wakes

A pre-migration event I am told

I am just now noticing the ugly

Close scrutiny over the streets and inlets

The search for dead flesh in the untrodden grounds

Divorced from Key West bound traffic

Maybe the vultures know something we don’t

That we are simply players in that Twilight Zone episode;

Humans imprisoned by personal need

To escape a turn-of-the-century Salvation Army toy chest

Alive until touched by strange hands

Becoming wooden & rotten

Death by ownership

 

Maybe the vultures know this

Which is why they stay

THE MUSEUM OF LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING

red door

Where we keep our humanity

Hermetically sealed

And in the future they will come

Down long google-glassed tunnels

To collect artifacts

Heartless facts from

Our artless landmarks

Blind to the act:

Giving succor to the enemy

Night on the battlefield when mountains

Of hatred became mere

Mounds over which we stumbled with gifts

The weight of humanity too great

Too heavy for the light of day

A light used to make way for

The resumption of war

GO THERE!

%22A View in Piagentina (Una veduta in Piagentina) 1863

We live so long – hopefully long enough

To know life is enough

All we should want

The rest is fearing
The opinions of others

We are old enough to resist
The urge

Know there is great pleasure in GO!
It is not the There
But the trip

The memories will come years later (if at all)
With its uneven ruler
To defend life’s
Crooked calculus

THE POLITICS OF EBOLA: GOD’S PLAN, AND I TOLD YOU SO

ebola

Last week I was stunned by the unkind comment of the stranger next to me as we filled a container with donated cans of soup at the local food bank. The comment came after a polite discussion that almost lulled me into dangerous camaraderie with this woman whose conversation segued from motherly pride in her daughter’s nursing career to her idea that Ebola is God’s punishment. “Whoa!” I put up my hand and responded with the usual; where was God when….(insert any historical scourge here). I pointed out Nazi Germany’s contribution to earthly scourges but, after a few days of contemplation, I know there is not much I could say to this woman and others like her who make their stabs at somatic immunity by volunteering in local food banks and presuming to know what God has in mind for believers and non-believers. And maybe my discomfort comes from my own questioning about a belief system that asks me to suspend belief in reality; a reality in which I live. The reality here is that Ebola is not new and as long as it stayed in some faraway land punishing others for being… well, the “other,” Ebola remained that terrible disease plaguing those sad people in that faraway land. Ebola is here, in our face, live and in living color (cue the hysteria).

We first-world (as opposed to third-world) inhabitants are quite predictable in our approach to life; we live our comfortable lives (some more comfortable than others) consumed with the daily familial and material concerns of the species. Oh, we read the headlines as we pass from one engagement to the next but no headline gets our attention like the local headline giving us the exact location and identity of the killer who has been knocking at our door for decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1994 Richard Preston introduced a generation of readers to The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story, a non-fiction thriller that frightened even Steven King who, according to Wikipedia said the first chapter of The Hot Zone was “one of the most horrifying things I’ve read in my whole life. ” Preston’s book paints indelible images of people in the throes of hemorrhagic fevers and bursting vomit-bags of black bile on transatlantic flights. (After reading the Preston’s book in ’95 I have seriously changed my original position on monkeys as sweet and adorable pets). But Preston’s bestseller did not act as wake up call for the “free world”; shaking our collective shoulders and encouraging us to answer the door. No, it was not until the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, according to Slate.com, that serious research spending occurred at the behest of Dick Cheney whose fear of America’s vulnerability to attack by enemies using bioweapons (as if airplanes were not enough) prompted the Project Bioshield Act. And here is just another story from the file of tragic irony; were it not for the vicarious warriors – those men who fight wars with other people’s children – and their projection of retribution, we would be living with an even worse prognosis for survival.

It is Monday morning, our favorite team has lost the game leaving fans with nothing but hindsight to tell us that America has, once again, been caught deaf to the knocking of humanity. Had we listened to those doctors on the front lines fighting diseases (diseases that know no politics or religion) we wouldn’t be in this heightened state of terror. Had we studied the past, listened to our hearts, and reached out with all the atomic weight our country can muster (especially in times of war) to assist a world far less fortunate, we would not be at this intersection of moral chaos and panic. We allow the scourge of Ebola to continue by proclaiming it a part of “God’s” plan – a passive aggressive approach that did not work with the aids virus. As a country we need to read, reason, and understand. After reading the story of the Ebola virus in The Hot Zone we should have understood Preston’s terrifying conclusion: EBOV will be back. And so it has.

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY – NORTH: A Bed Sheet Sign on an Overpass

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Through what strange porthole do we

    Drag our outsized dreams

    All the while cursing its size

    And not the size of our schemes

What is right and what is wrong

    Unruled by the heart

    Vaguely menacing headlines

    Parading news as art

There is order in the forests

    Though no king or queen abides

    We fear dark hard silence

    And the mute in life’s asides

Outside margins there exists

    The right for us to grow

    To a fullness that disturbs the gist

    The city’s turbid ebb and flow

 Pare not your life to other’s whim

    Live the largeness of your dream

     Ignore the porthole its jagged rim

     That rips and disesteems

For me, I shall look for clues

    Sometimes a lost endeavor

    To a freeway sign – not a ruse

    “The worst ancestors ever.”

WHAT DOES NOT DISTURB

CROP OakAlley Plantat Louisiana

We make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric but the quarrel with ourselves – poetry     ~      Yeats

 

The hungry brat-god

    Squatting over a world

   Pushes his toy soldiers off to war

    After his milk and cookies

What would happen if

    The woman in his life

    Told the truth?

There are no Kings

    No Queens

    No rulers in the forest

    No language

    No plan

    No god

    Just nature

And its vaguely menacing

    March of days

    Blooming seasons in line

    With our attraction to ruin