Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
I wear a white poppy for peace and hand them out to interested people at my own expense, although I can understand why someone would want some money for them because they cost money to make and ship, etc. We sure aren’t making any profit from them. Can you say the same about yours? I’m sure you are in favour of capitalism, which I am not, so perhaps you mention filthy lucre changing hands to buttress your thinly disguised attempt to silence those who disagree with you—so much for that “freedom” for which soldiers are supposedly sacrificing themselves.
Our white poppies are not designed like the red ones at all and were created in 1933 by some women in England, many of whom who were the mothers, sisters, widows and sweethearts of soldiers killed in WWI, the “war to end all wars.”
Howard Zinn, decorated US Air Force WWII bombardier and historian, has said that if people want to honour vets, they’ll work to ensure there are no more wars that maim and kill civilians and soldiers. Just as every day is a day for you to remember veterans in your way, so is every day a day for many of us to promote non-violence. I assume you are not implying that only those who agree with you that war is an acceptable solution to conflict are free to express their opinions. That would be ironic, considering your claims about why soldiers die, i.e., to protect “freedom.”
“WAR is a racket. It always has been.”
Major General Smedley Butler, USMC
how anchors read stuff like that aloud with a blithe face (let alone without being compelled to shout what bastards they are!) is more proof that "circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip" (orwell). i suppose some would say that the anchor is just reporting the contractors' cruel logic verbatim, and that it is up to viewers to figure out if they agree or not, but that ignores the fact that we have to interpret terms like "not cost-effective" into words we immediately understand before the sound bite has gone, words like "too expensive" in this case. that would be a start at least, if they stopped using purr words for the powerful and all those demonizing words for the rest of us. only a start though. better yet, in this case, would be something like "building contractors don't want to put sprinkler systems in housing because that would cut into their profits."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Ploughed and planted haphazardly,
My father a typical colonial
Inept at love and husbandry,
But from that warm and fertile field
My sister and I sprang up—
When the environmental cancer
In the seedbeds of her ovaries
Twisted and consumed that little plot
That gave us life, my mother died,
We put her in the purifying flames
And then in dear old Mother Earth herself.
I wish that I could see my early years
More clearly, my rambles in the woods
And fields, my mother’s face when she called me
“Mighty hunter,” charmed, I think,
Because I fiercely loved the free
And blowing things she loved as well,
Her love for me the flux
That helped create my fragile ties to Earth,
Despite my dad, despair and capitalism—
Afraid to come to Earth and settle in,
Afraid to fly away forever,
Opposed to men in power and poisoned water,
I love the world as it should be.
The huge cold quarry yawned silently
That Sunday morning when we crossed the fence
By walking a log that someone had dropped
To crush it down with its No Trespassing signs,
And as we crunched along the gravel road
Along the quarry’s edge, where every workday
Rock trucks rumble noisily
Above the booming, clanging quarry,
Twenty or thirty goldfinches dipped and chirped
Away from us above the dusty treetops—
Neither of us had ever seen so many,
And I wonder if this flock of them
Has settled in despite the dust and din,
If they dip off as each truck approaches
And dip back again when it has gone,
If they’re only there on holidays and Sundays
When some walkers and their dogs
Are the only traffic besides the distant cars,
Their tires whispering on the asphalt,
If they come back every spring
And why they’d like it there at all—
Goldfinches living at the quarry,
Peregrine falcons nesting in skyscrapers,
Give me hope that Nature will survive us,
That there’s order and justice in the universe,
The birds above us all,
Even as we blast the Earth’s old limestone bones
To tons of gravel we just have to have
For all the concrete for all the buildings
We just have to build higher and higher
Because there is no room, the buildings closing
In a moment but too late
For anything to grow in the ground again
Until we’re gone and birds shit sunflower seeds
They’ve found in some abandoned building
And sunflowers sprout in the cracked parking lots some day.
The sign says American bison (buffalo)—
The great-great-grandbull of Plains thunderers
Stands deep in muck, looking narcotized,
Chewing his cud and rubbing his shaggy fur
Against the thin wire links of his prison—
The sign says wooly monkeys—
They stretch their skinny arms
Out between the bars—
Though born the overlords of the highest trees,
They look more like old Black men begging,
Prostituting themselves for popcorn—
The sign says polar bear—
These days the great bear eats stale bread—
A man trying to impress his girlfriend
Acts as if he's going to toss some bread, but doesn't—
The man keeps faking the toss—
The bear rises up on his haunches like a fat white mongrel—
The man finally throws his morsel
And the bear catches it in his teeth expertly.
A tall stone wall stands between the bear
And the dignity of catching
The crumbman's fragile skull
In his gigantic jaws expertly.
Had no space in there to spread her wings
And fly back out the way she'd come.
Her tiny guano oozed out through the flimsy grate,
And I could see and hear a wingtip now and then
As she fluttered and rested, fluttered and rested.
Just as I'd decided I would pop the grate ajar
And try to catch her in a pillowcase, she burst out
And fluttered desperately against the kitchen windows.
I ran down the stairs to get a blanket to catch her in
And heard a thud on my way back and thought, "The cats!"
But the thud turned out to be her airy body
Whacking up against the big glass door she'd hit
When flying through the living room, accelerating
To escape but falling stunned and trembling on the floor.
One of the cats was sniffing her with curiosity
When I approached, the sparrow lying on her side
And barely twitching, eyes closed and feet relaxed.
When I slid the door ajar, I felt the cool December
Air and had a tiny hope that she could feel it, too,
When off she went, unscathed it seemed to me.
I watched her fly away as fast as she could go
Until she disappeared between the buildings,
And I was happy, awed, relieved I'd saved her.
After our respective desperations also flew
Away, it hit me that one bird saved
Would not delay the decimation of the birds for long.
She was a common sort at that, adapted for the most part
To our wasteful, dirty ways, and then I cried
Because I can't save thousands much worse off as well.
That universal symbol of freedom was caught
By the inanimate and trivial range hood
And then stopped suddenly and brutally by cold hard glass.
If only her escaping wing beats in the cool December air
In that moment at the door redeemed me, cleansed me
From the wrongs that humans do to Nature and each other.