animated

I fold my
questions into cranes
and send them
flying on
the wind—what hands will catch them,
pull them down, greet them,

unjumble
and complete their dreams?
wide, deep, clear,
cast to sky,
they celebrate–streams of stars
danced in waves of moon

A shadorma quadrille for Merril’s prompt of celebration at dVerse. I also used the words she generated from Oracle II. Above is the almost-full moon shining through my window last night.

consecration

a feather,
a rose, an apple–
small pleasures,
blessings of
continuity, gifts of
joint inheritance,

of stillness–
a hallowing that
exists if
we choose to
walk with the land—unhurried,
emptied, listening

I’ve used words from Jane’s random word list this week from the Oracle II, to answer Brendan’s call at earthweal to the wild stillness

Safari

“Living day by day with elephants, he had absorbed their deeper, more philosophical cues. In fact, he discovered in them the virtues he would work to develop in himself: courage, loyalty, the ability to trust (and the good sense to know when to be distrustful), fairness, patience, diligence, kindness, and humor.”
–Vicki Constantine Croke, “Elephant Company”

Step this way–
sink deep, uncreatured,
into the
mouth entombed
in death—enter the ceaseless
current of slaughter.

Destruction
overtakes rebirth,
permanent–
we cannot
remake the magic of earth,
uninculcate ends.

Silver tongues
make promises, kill
what little
is left, drunk
with power—bleeding life out
to termination.

Elephants once roamed in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. This species became extinct about 100 BC due to overhunting for ivory. This is still a major threat to both elephants and rhinos, along with habitat loss, which includes all the ramifications of climate change. Poachers are looking for ingredients for traditional Asian medicine. Local residents see wild animals as threats, and/or kill them for food when other sources, such as agriculture, disappear due to extreme weather. And of course Western big game hunters love to take home trophies to prove how manly they are.

The Northern White Rhino recently became extinct.

Endangered African primates include the chimpanzee, the gorilla, the bonobo, and the drill. The cheetah is critically endangered, and lions and leopards are also in a vulnerable state.

Other critically endangered African species include the African penguin, the African wild dog, green turtles, pangolins, and hundreds of species of birds.

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to consider how humans have changed the African landscape. I’ve used words from the Oracle II list generated by Jane this week.

All the art is from previous posts about endangered species. Interestingly, I only found one other poem written to go along with the images. Perhaps it’s because words are inadequate for me in the face of such a huge loss. It’s easier for me to draw or paint or collage my distress.

This is what we’ve come to

Eric Greitens, a leading contender for the Republican Senate nomination in Missouri, released a new video in which he is depicted as hunting RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

“I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, and today we’re going RINO hunting.” Greitens says as he walks down a sidewalk with a gun in hand.

The video cuts to a house where Greitens, surrounded by what looks like a tactical unit, waits by the door. “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” says Greitens. The unit smashes the door down and throws what looks like a smoke grenade. Greitens strides through the door. “Join the MAGA crew,” he says. “Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”—(cnn.com)

nutty?  I
wish it were only
the deranged
ravings of
a single unarmed man—but
it is not fiction

actually
millions are waiting
with their guns–
enchanted
by, and obedient to,
a simplistic lie

sordid words
sprayed like stray bullets,
shattering
sanctity,
all respect for life—the
aftermath is death

Merril was correct when she said the wordlist from Oracle II generated on Sunday by Jane demanded a political response. Reading about Eric Greitens and his campaign ad today sealed it.

The headline haiku art and erasure poem are from my response to the Kick-About prompt a few weeks ago of the art of Basquiat. I painted on a page from the NY Times that interviewed Republican Congress members about their thoughts on gun legislation and listed the amount of money they had received from the NRA. Money talks, and erases the truth.

Guns

do something.  question.
sorry—guns are the problem.
where it starts.  guns.  guns.

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

“Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?”
“To market, to market, to buy a big gun.”

we confuse
omniscience and
ignorance,
redundant
in our habitual
failure to protect

we collect
wealth, polluted with
jealousy,
smothered in
waste—we admire and support
incompetence, greed

we spend time
staring at our screens–
glowing with
apathy,
motionless, a shadow of
imminent demise

Jane Dougherty posted some randomly generated words this morning for us to use to make a poem. After seeing “blue-eyed” I could not get Dylan’s song out of my head, and the word “market” provided the reply, mirroring both the news and my continued distress about it.

I struggled to go somewhere else, but ended up with the above depressing and not-very-poetic shadorma chain.

Dylan (as always) says it much better than I.

I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

welikia

I see you
superimposed on
the landscape,
melting in
to the shadows of buildings,
sidewalks, trunks of trees–

woodfern
sweetpepper bush cherry
maple oak
panicgrass
fleabane hornbeam chestnut
marsh blue violet–

I float on
streams to the river–
pickerel perch
otter duck–

climb paths up forested hills–
bear fox rabbit deer–

My Lady
of Mannahatta–
swallowtail
buckeye spring
azure monarch
–you gather
me windwhispering

on hawkwings–
full green animate,
this island

return me
to the timeless before, when
land was shared, not owned

Welikia means “my good home” in the Lenape language. The Lenape tribe were the original inhabitants of Manhattan and the surrounding lands. Their main village was where Yonkers is now; they had temporary structures on the island of Mannahatta for use in hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The Welikia Project is an interactive map of New York City, where you can find out about the biodiversity and landscape of the island in 1609, before it was developed by Europeans. The idea that the Dutch “bought” the island was not one shared by the native peoples they then forced to leave the land.

Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.”

almost

The first part of this one went quickly, but the Oracle made me work for the last 2 lines. Only when I decided to see if I could make the word “illusions” would She let me complete it. “Life is but a dream” or so they say.

sleep whispers
in tongues of blue mist–
as if moons
seadream light
though shadows above still water–
illusions of time

Dear Refugees

We have heard
and noted your cries
for help.  Un
fortunate
ly our sovereign borders
are currently closed.

We fear that
we must turn away
from any
images
of drowning, freezing, starving.
They disturb our sleep.

But we are
not completely heart
less.  We will
send you our
Condolences, as well as
our Thoughts and Prayers.

For earthweal, where Sherry, after bringing us up to date on the flooding in her Canadian homeland, asked us to write Verse Letters: a form of address, akin to dramatic monologue, to all parties involved – letters to the lost, perhaps; to those who caused the extinction;  or to those of us who are in the middle.

kinship

to belong
is a feeling–not
words over
heard in pass
ing, but a garment to wear–
it keeps you warm, this

chorus sung
by many voices–
it tells you
how to clear
your self, opening to be
come filled, become found

Sarah at dVerse shared with us once again the paintings of Fay Collins, and asked us to write to what we see in her images. I did not pick any particular landscape, but used the entirety of her work as inspiration for both my words and my watercolor, which reflect her immersion in and love of the earth.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan has asked us to praise what matters.

You can see the work of Fay Collins here.