Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Not My Fault

Interesting day.  I read an article about the woes of the US Postal Service.  They're blaming their financial difficulties on the increased use of email and decreased use of conventional (i. e., snail) mail.  Then I went to the Post Office and found in my box a purple card reading "Excess mail; please come to the counter."  When I approached the counter, there was a long line and only one clerk on duty.  They've evidently reduced staff just in time for the Christmas rush.  "Tis the season for irony."
So, what's this commentary doing in a Natural History blog?  Here's the tie-in:
I had just been talking with my daughter about an important biological and sociological concept: adaptation.  She's taking high school biology, but hasn't got to that part of the book yet.  I told her that a particular set of social skills that might be a successful adaptation to one high school environment might be especially maladaptive in another.  My examples from biology were a.) kangaroo rats specifically adapted to a desert environment would not likely do well in a rain forest, and b.) polar bears don't do well in temperate environments, like zoos in Florida, unless great care is taken to keep them cool.  I suggested that the path to social success at our local high school might not be the same in, say, an urban magnet school focused on math and science skills.
So, will the Postal Service adapt to the increased use of email?  Does it care?  Will a critical mass of people maintain a preference for letters and cards they can hold in their hands, or will they adapt to cyberspace?  The larger question is - will adapting to life in cyberspace prove to be maladaptive for our species in the long run?  Sure wish I had a crystal ball - metaphorically speaking, of course.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Will this post work? First time I've gotten this far, so here goes... Below is a new poem I've revised after getting email comments from Margaret & Mike. It's still in process so I welcome more comments. Revising process was fun. Took Margaret's advice to change the beginning and then realized the poem is also about my writing so decided to be more open about that aspect, sort of, drag it up from the subconscious... Mike suggested more repetition of "hands". When I started fooling with words, changing "think" to "conjure" I discovered another meaning for "conjure" is "to practice legerdemain" i.e."skill in feats of magic or other arts involving a dexterous manipulation of the hands". Voila!

LOSING MY GRIP [rev. 12/11/11]

Vain about my hands,
My graceful penmanship---
A microcosm of what I might be
Without the awkward bulk of me
Trailing all the mess of life
By deft gestures---
I dug deep the remedy.

Sunk my nimble hands
Up to my elbows
And shaped myself,
Without the discipline of art,
Dug deeply into the chambers of my heart.
Burrowed down too far,
Past my deftness,
To a toughness,
A grasp of things
I'd not expected.

My fingers, now retracting into knobby, aching joints,
I've lost my touch,
Not as much
For grasping, holding tight,
But, for deftly handling life.

I've lost the generous ease
Of an ability to please,
Yet found a strength
To grab what I can
With gnarled, ancient fingers,
Yet firm enough to turn a page,
To read more quickly
The plot turn, the dialectic leap
Of knowing the conflict resolution,
And in the flick of the next page
The change of all that follows.

I can still make those changes,
Still write what's left,
With hands and heart stiffened,
But with a mind, still supple to conjure
Arabesques of grace.
---M-L Ruth 12/11/11

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Entry by Stephen Boyer

The OWS Poetry Anthology has again been updated... It's massive! It's a marathon of poetry!


THIS WEEK'S WRITING PROMPT: Watch OWS video's on youtube that show police brutality. Spend a half hour in silent reflection. As you reflect, calmly send radiant energy to people the world over that have been victims of police brutality. Then write a poem to a police officer! Dedicate poems to Robert Hass.

Here is a poem in this spirit from WEEK 7:

when you beat me
By, Richard Vargas

does your arm tire
as you swing your
baton into the thud
of my flesh and bone
and you hear me
scream out in pain
when you crack
my ribs and jab
my soft belly
do you feel like a
job well done when
you pin me on the
ground and harness
my wrists like a
rodeo cowboy
hogties cattle

no matter that
we are both looked
down upon by those
on their balconies
of glass and steel
who laugh and joke
as they spread caviar
on fancy crackers
that will never pass
our lips

while you choke me
knock me down
look at how they
raise their flutes
of exquisite champagne
sparkling in the sun

blinding you with
their cold brilliance
and empty nods
of approval

All Mixed Up

The times, they are a changin’, slowly, in straw-and-stick house ways.

And the wolf? He’s still at the door. Breathing down our necks.

The privileged will cling to their mighty height and eat pork whenever they can.

And should they fall, one or all, down and out and cracked irrepairably,

others already eagerly prepare for the scramble

to the top, to the top, to the towering top in a race

up the bean stock, in the great cloud

the better to count you with

oh, my precious.

Where is Jack? We need Jack!

And the clever, pink, unionized piggies!

Who are those golden-egg laying hens the giants keep?

By Trish Welsh Taylor - 11/29/11


There stands a stately statue on our shore

That holds the burning torch of liberty

And boasts to all it has an open door,

Inviting huddled masses to be free.

It was a gift from France across the sea

To laud America's experiment

Of representative democracy

And pure humanitarian intent.

And though its structure is maintained and cleaned

For way too long its meaning has been lost,

Its symbols quite forgotten and demeaned

And sheds huge tears at all the human cost.

But now I see the statue dry its tearful eyes

As Occupiers in the nation rise in size.

-- By Sam Catalano 11/30/2011

The House of Anonymous in Session

The Confessor's House

is 872 feet

along the river

guarded by the Lionhearted horseman.

Common and Lordly,

from Thorney, Saxon and on to MPs,

offer their stories

and remember the 5th of November.

Jesuit Season

In the Year of Our Lord 1605;

successful failure

of the Catholic cannon of Guy Fawkes.

You're an atheist

872 feet away

along the sidewalk

guarding your identity in a mask;

Common against lords,

like Gandhi or King or Egyptian kids

whose battle stories

have now, in Treason, long since been forgot.

Anonymous Fawkes,

I'd like to ask if you are Catholic

in that grim, fake face.

Do you know the reason for Bonfires?

-- by Hannah Hill 11/29/11

Four Thoughts in November, 2011

* What does hope look like when the public square smells of pepper and tears?

* Arms woven, elbow to elbow, a thin fabric of humanity make, a line of flesh in the sand, no wave can wash away.

*A cheek turned the other way, an act of faith, an offer of redemption, a chance for the video camera to focus.

*The public park, a safe and happy playground for the commoners, where we gather, where we assemble and speak, where big brother demonstrates down upon the children of the homeland.

-- Trish Welsh Taylor 11/2011

From My Archives; Symmetry...

Always unpacking, I opened a box that's been closed since I moved to Quincy in 2006.  I uncovered an essay I wrote in 1993 in response to n assignment in a graduate course in writing.  I was writing about an experience that had taken place 18 years earlier.  Ironically, I am now writing about that essay 18 year later!  It has been interesting to compare my present state of mind and habits to this window into my 18-years-ago mind.  On the topics of loitering and coffee, I'm pretty much in agreement with my former self.  I share this essay today because most of my close friends and colleagues in Quincy usually find me at one of our local coffee shops.  If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing or discussing writing with other writers.  I have a feeling writing is addictive.  Click on each photo if you need a closer view - or get out a magnifying glass.  In what might be an example of Jung's concept of 'synchronicity,' I recently read in the NY Times an article about someone's hypothesis that the Enlightenment was largely launched by the switch of salon gatherings from alcohol to coffee as the primary fuel for thought.  I'll drink to that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hard Frost Morning

This morning's frost was more intense than yesterday's, and lots of the leaves on my front lawn were palettes for Jack Frost, the artist.  What aroused my curiosity was the fact that on some leaves (1st photo), the frost formed on the veins and on others (2nd photo) it formed between veins.  I wonder why?  Downtown, as the wind picked up, lots of newly-dropped Liquidambar leaves covered the lawn just minutes after the leaf blower crew blew away yesterday's leaves.  Great use for fossil fuels, don't you think?  I picked up a few of the brighter-colored ones and photographed them in the warmth of my dining room.   I plan to do colored pencil drawings of some of them - the colors in my journal will outlast me, but the leaves will turn brown and disintegrate in days.  They'll be added to the soil in my yard, then become part of the next generation of trees.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We Dance in a Circle

I find myself reliving moments of the past as if no time separated me from them. I stop in the middle of a déjà vu and realize that it was not I who walked this road so many years ago; it was Claire. She came to town from her family’s home in Little Grass Valley where her father, Andrew Jackson Quigley, raised hay and worked his mine. Her footprints, no longer visible, guide me. We walk together into the hotel where she met her future husband, my great grandfather.

The sign says 25 people call La Porte home. And yet when Claire first walked these streets there were hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand. They came to seek their fortune in the mountains of northern California - Italians, French, Chinese, Germans, Irish, and so many more. Each had heard of riches, or freedom, or land, and had left their home to follow a dream. Many found hardship and heartache. Others made a home in this wilderness, had children, died, and were buried. They sleep silently in the quiet graveyards among the pines.

What dream drew me here? And why do I keep coming back? I search for my source, to know how the vine of my life grows from the thickened roots of my ancestors – understanding that my story loops through the stories of those that came before, touching for brief moments but separate still.

I hear them - Claire and the others. They speak to me through letters, gravestones, the hallways and rooms of the hotel. I come to know them by walking the paths through the ruins of the mining camps - a piece of shoe or broken pottery - the scattered rotting lumber of what must have been a home. Our vines intertwine. I know myself. I am a daughter of California.

Linda J. Cayot

Occupy Oak Tree

Or It Pays to Anthropomorphize

I have been enthralled by the presence of Oak Treehoppers on two small branches of a California Black Oak tree by my driveway since September 8. During this time, I have also become engrossed, even participating, in the Occupy Wall Street/Quincy phenomenon. Reviewing the philosophy of one of my heroes in biology, E. O. Wilson, has led to my melding the two topics into this brief essay.

In a current issue of The Atlantic magazine, Wilson says, in effect, that everything important about human nature can be deduced from studying ants. That, of course, is what Wilson has been doing all his life with the biology department at Harvard as his home base.

I have watched my treehoppers sit still for almost two months now. I checked on them daily as two mothers brought forth litters of several dozen progeny each. The mothers were olive drab with small yellow spots and blended well into the oak tree branches, easily mistaken for the buds of next year’s leaves. The progeny, perhaps a fifth of an inch long when I first noticed them, had bright red and white horizontal stripes across basically black bodies. Not exactly camouflaged. Day after day, these families sat still, the babies clustered closely together while the mothers stood watch on one end or the other of each cluster. I took photos nearly every day, so I could confirm that they hardly moved.

The babies went through five instars (shed-ings), and became adults with longitudinal red and white stripes, quite a contrast from their mothers.

As I anthropomorphize, I see cooperation, patience, perfect adaptation, and beauty. While these traits might not actually exist in human terms, anthropomorphizing can suggest to us smarter ways to behave.

Wilson argues that in the course of human evolution, the emergence of social behavior has resulted in two conflicting tendencies. When we were nomadic food gatherers, genes for self-interest were selected for. When we began to sit around campfires and behave as social groups, genes for cooperative behavior were selected for. The current political situation seems to me to manifest these warring tendencies. I would suggest that the current crop of contenders for the Republican nomination for president and their supporters reflect the cutting edge of self-interest, while the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon reflects our tendencies toward evolving ever more cooperative behavior. Wilson, inspired by the ants, would place his bet on the cooperative genes as the ones that will inherit the future. I hope he’s right.

Last night, our first night of hard frost, has caused a bit of disruption in my treehopper colony. When I checked this morning, about two thirds of the members had disappeared and the few remaining were rather widely spaced and had moved about a foot toward the trunk of the tree. It was sad. The sight caused me to imagine them carrying little signs reading “The End is Near.” Then I realized they have invested in the future. Their natural life span is about over, but their eggs are within the tree bark, like me, waiting for spring.

Joe Willis 10/25/11

Scary Story

The Boo Brothers glided down the dimly lit streets, scarcely touching the pavement in their hurry. Pumpkins still glowing with wide open toothless grins cast contorted shadows across the entry ways of silent locked - up - tight houses, protected from the frights of the nights. The brothers paid no heed to the grotesque puffed up goblins, witches and spiders that camped out on lawns, splattered with dying autumn leaves. They floated across plastic gravestones, tore through spindly spider webs and tossed hairy tarantulas into bubbling cauldrons.

The brothers shimmied to a halt under an old decaying yew tree that guarded the entrance to a hauntingly desolate and decrepit mansion, crumbling under the weight of its macabre reputation.

“Oh, Boo, I’m scared, we’ve been out way too long, it must be midnight, mum and dad will kill us.” “It was worth it, I loved scaring those stupid kids dressed up as the walking dead, pirates, wizards, goblins and elves. What do they know about scaring someone to death, who do they think they are?” “Did you get a look at those other kids dressed up as ghosts? How lame is that?” “You really didn’t have to scare them that heavy, I mean no one is left on the streets, tricking or treating, we were so bad.” “I wish we didn’t have to sneak out of the house on Hallowe’en, all the other kids are allowed to go out.” “Hoo, it’s just the way of parents. They’re grown-ups trying to protect us from getting hurt by those crazy people that live in this town.”

Hoo just looked at his brother, but decided it was best to let this go. “Talking about getting hurt, we have to find how to get into bed without being seen, Mother will kill us with one of her famous looks and so will Dad if he is sober.”

Boo and Hoo floated up to one particular window and peeked in, the timing was not good. The moon, tired of waiting behind the clouds, decided to burst out and shine a light.

Dracula had had a good night of drinking and was just climbing into his coffin for a rest when the moonlight burst through, illuminating the still warm and still dripping blood on his lips, now running down his scant beard. He jumped out of the coffin, screaming at his wife, pointing a quivering finger at the window. “Do you see that, Medea, do you see those ghosts, I hate ghosts I hate them, they’ve come to haunt me, I can’t stand them, they scare me to death.” His thin scream, bubbling through the blood, curdled the night. His wife turned her head, a writhing mass of curling snakes, and her eyes, colder than death itself, pierced the black staring eyes at the window. Her twins dissipated into a fine dust, uttering ghostly sounds, “Mother, we’re sorry, it was Boo’s fault, we didn’t mean to……” Pouf.

Anne Gaudet


Now, those entrenched, beware, the people seethe.

They do not want your wealth, but just their share.

And then a solemn guarantee to breathe

A healthful draught of unpolluted air.

Now, those entrenched, the people crowd the streets

And take the risk of blinding pepper spray.

They challenge all uncaring county seats

For far too long they've had their selfish way.

Now, those entrenched, the people carry signs

That state their case with simple eloquence

As each its case of moral wrongs defines

With fervent hopes for change and common sense.

Now, those entrenched, awake and heed the people's cries

For in their angry hands YOUR future welfare lies.

Salvatore (Sam) Catalano November 18, 2011. 12:37 pm

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scary Costume Ideas, Halloween 2011

On my blog I'm doing an ongoing poetry series every day. The idea? Social commentary on scary things of the season. Check it out and feel free to add your comments and ideas of 'scary costumes.'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Grace

Such a rusty fall,
coloring the rains that...
plop in wet drips,
and the air, with fluttering leaves
falling through chimney-smoked cloudy skies
hanging, misty-deep,
ridge behind ridge behind ridge...
between mountains
that lead beyond... hmmm...
Such a rusty fall
hums a forgiving

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scary Costume Ideas, Halloween 2011

On my blong www.writerchick-mama.blogspot.com I am doing a run of 'poetry lists' of scary costume ideas for Halloween 2011. Please look it over and add to it here with your own scary list poem.

National Writing Day Reading Event

Thursday , October 20th from 5-8 pm in the Gallery the FRC Writing Club (Hannah and I?) are hosting a Reading of Writers' Work. Bring something you would like to share to read. I'll have a packet of writing goodies info available as well and a short writing quick write. All subjects considered. Please pass along information! more info contact me at this email or mgarcia@frc.edu. Phone 530 375-0580. I will be reading a soon to be published story. Free Admission. Any donations will go to the Speaker's Fund.

Margaret Elysia Garcia

The Spellbound Issue

Pedunline Press http://www.pendulinepress.com/

Is doing a call for submissions. Deadline is Nov 15.

Confessions of a Weed Lover

[Originally published 9/2/1080 in the Green Mountain Gazette with different photos.]
Like most of us, I was taught at an early age that weeds are the enemy. As an 8-year-old gardener in rocky New England soil, I was recruited by my parents to weed the beans, cabbages, turnips, and other vegetables I hated. Early on, I sided with the weeds. The weeds and I were allies in the garden wars, each of us in his own way resolved to defeat certain vegetable crops.
I had the same attitude toward weeding the lawn. I thought dandelions were beautiful, but my brother and I were paid a penny per dandelion to remove them by the roots. Naturally, it was to our advantage to leave a few.
My fondness for weeds had a firm foundation. They were a source of income, and they helped me to avoid having to eat certain vegetables. Now that I've grown to love nearly all vegetables and I no longer earn my living in weed control, my fascination with weeds has shifted to a different basis.
Why are certain plants considered to be weeds in the first place? Some plants are considered by some people to be unsightly and, therefore, to be weeds. But the aesthetic qualities of a plant are obviously a subjective matter. One person's weed is another person's ornamental. Being a sort of weed myself, I usually side with the minority. I definitely like dandelions and thistles better than roses.
From the standpoint of agriculture, a weed is a plant that interferes with the cultivation of another plant. Thus, a daisy can be a weed to the wheat farmer and vice versa. This makes sense up to a point. However, in this age of gigantic monocultures - whether of food crops or lumber - it seems that 99 percent of all plant life is in danger of being relegated to the weed category. I can appreciate a good whole wheat muffin or a fancy knotty pine kitchen, but I think the daisies, bark beetles, gooseberries, and porcupines have their place, too.
To all the weed killers among you, it can be a humbling experience to consider a biological definition of weeds along with some possible human analogies. The biologists' concept has more to do with ecology than aesthetics. Weeds are plants which have traveled far from their place of origin or 'native' habitat and taken root in 'disturbed" ground. Some local plants that are weeds by that criterion are mullein, sweet clover, prickly poppy, most of the thistles, most daisies, yarrow, fleabanes, goldenrods, Jimson weed, bindweed, hemp, spearmint, etc., etc.
I like the weeds because of their pioneering spirit, their persistence in the face of adversity, in spite of their being uninvited guests. I identify with them because I, too, am an uninvited guest. My ancestors are Europeans. As I and they moved westward, we cut swaths in the native habitat, paving the way for millions more weeds like ourselves.
It seems to me that we should keep this in mind before we self-righteously pull, poison, trample and/or insult our many beautiful weeds.
[It occurs to me that the participants in today's Occupy Wall Street movement are considered weeds by the 1% who run things. Maybe we can learn some survival lessons from the weeds.]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Thought if You Have The Time

Writing is a Timeless occupation. The writer creates moments in his mind's Time The flow of the story controls the speed of light and the hand on the clock. Earthquakes happened tomorrow on the geologist’s watch give or take 10,000 years. For this Archaeologist, Man’s debris unfolds in periods of Early, Middle, and Late. Now at the end of my time I would like to suspend my clock for a year or two and watch time creep. Mike Reagan

Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Inspiration, or, at least empathy

Hello fellow writers. Last Thursday, Sept. 29, Jon Carroll's column in the Chronicle was terrific. Check it out. Titled: "Little Engines of Performance, Unite."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Celebrating 9-10-11

I took a walk around the county courthouse this morning by way of preparing for the first session of my class, Adventures in Nature Journaling. I was thinking about introducing various "points of departure" to begin studying and journaling about nature - bugs, stuff growing on bark, berries and seeds, etc. - and settled on leaves. As soon as I stepped into the grass, I was struck by the few leaves of maple, sweet gum, sycamore and mountain ash that had already fallen and were showing the first signs of "fall colors." The maple leaves pictured above were particularly attractive as they were decorated with dew and were lit from the side by early morning sun. They also had hints of red, orange and yellow. As our nation gets revved up for commemorating 9-11-01 tomorrow, I felt the need for enjoying the mathematical pattern in today's date, 9-10-11, and sharing positive feelings.
The Adventures in Nature Journaling class is offered through Community Education and runs 6 Saturday mornings. There is still time to sign up as each Saturday session is a self-contained, independent experience. There will be information and practice about several different approaches to nature journaling, opportunities to try different drawing, painting, writing and photographic approaches to creating a nature journal. and opportunities to collaborate on various projects or simply share experiences. Call me at 283-1746 or e.mail me at blackoaknaturalist@att.net for further information, or call the college.

Don't tell me how to feel about 9-11

I’m neither more nor less patriotic than I was before it happened. I worried for days that a relative who works in the Twin Towers might have perished. I watched it happen on TV during my World History class. The kids’ responses ranged from touching to barbaric. I was numb.

While I don’t simplistically blame the USA for what happened, to think our nation’s behavior had nothing to do with it is absurd. I can’t blame the religion of Islam for what happened; it’s no crazier than the other major religions.

The genocide in Rwanda horrified me more than the tragedy in NYC, as did the massive flood in Bangladesh, and the Vietnam War and the massacre of Native Americans at Pine Ridge. I can’t explain the varying degrees of emotional or intellectual response that happen, but I can at least be honest. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my response, and sometimes not. Perhaps the event that struck me deepest was the assassination of JFK. But then I was only 22, and I saw how that event made one of my professors cry while another one celebrated. I was standing between them, emotionally paralyzed.

So, quit putting paper flags in my newspaper and suggesting how I should respond to an event publicly, treating it like a high school football rivalry. I will deal with it privately.

Ever since third grade my patriotism has been best summarized by a Woody Guthrie song I learned that year; even though this land wasn’t really made for you and me, I do love it.

9/8/11 Joe Willis

It’s such a Pretty World Today

Look at the Sunshine”*

Thank you Buck Owens, we needed that today…

September 11, 2011

Ten years after 9/11 in the middle of a war in their country

A war to protect them and us from terrorism

The Afghan men in Helmand province Afghanistan

Have no concept of the twin towers or the meaning of 9/11

And among the things that really count

None of them have a Facebook account either

Talk about ignorant, underprivileged, Stone Age,

third world natives.


Where are American tax dollars and USAID when we need ‘em?

Lucky for us the news media is on the job

Shown a picture of the burning twin towers by a reporter

Only one man could imagine such a big building

He said this must be Kabul

The capital of Afghanistan

But he had never been there.

Back in the real world

In the center of the Universe

The place that really counts

Our young people only have a vague sense

Of what Viet Nam was or is

They know about Iraq and Afghanistan

Their friends are dying there

Sixty-six in August of 2011.

In our world where a family spends more

For Internet service than an Afghan family makes in a year

The answer to everything is just a click away

“Where is Viet Nam?”

“What movie star got divorced today?”

Just ask Google or Wikipedia or Jeeves

The answer is there in .05 seconds with 55,005 choices.

While back in the war zone after an attack

On an Afghan Talaban base camp

Where 32 civilians were killed

A marine 2nd Lieutenant was heard to say

“We missed again, we got a great body count

But not one I-pad was liberated….”

*The line is from a Buck Owens very popular c & w song which was playing as I was writing at the Court House Cafe

9/7/11 Mike Reagan

I wonder sometimes why we grieve so much for a group of alive, working, probably mostly happy individuals – who die as one in a brief moment – when those in poverty / with hunger / living under oppression are in pain most of their lives and we grieve little and do even less. It is a horror of a different kind – but one that perhaps we are all partially responsible for. Terrorism is cleaner – we can claim to be the good guys.

9/06/11 Linda Cayot

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


by Mary-Louise Ruth

... nothing becomes something much more potent, which is absence.”

-from “Ground Zero” by Suzanne Berne, Patterns for College Writing,

ed. Kirszner & Mandell.

But, what do we bring to Ground Zero

That empty space?

Hate, an absence of compassion?

Revenge, an absence of understanding?


Curiousity, inciting knowledge?

Tourists crowding to see

An empty space”,

One old man remembered

The empty site

Before the towers were built,

Flashbulbs popping to capture

a double negative”.

Berne saw “a great bowl of light”

making absence visible.

What's the loss?

1776 foot tall towers crumbling

As steel girders melted?

2753 lives tumbling down

Into ashes?

343 firemen incinerated

While doing their jobs?

A nation's innocence

We could never afford?

All gone.

Grief resurrects life

Fear extinguishes living

Grieve our loss

Empty our fear

Holy War on Terror

Ka-pow! Crash! Flash!

The Trade Centers were no more,

Pierced by jet missiles,

Attacks that blasted the world awake.

Impacts like those should have altered the spin of the planet.

Should have shaken our shackles loose,

Freed our minds to fly like the dying diving wingless brave

From the 93rd floor of the north tower.

Where to go but straight out to absolution?

Never more to shutter truth out, distracted, no more.

25 thousand children pass from mortal life daily, victims of preventable diseases not prevented.

4 thousand, plus, wither each day, dust-to-dust, wrung dry by diarrhea.

11 thousand taken by the death gods, Malaria and TB, and the autoimmune curse.

Holy War on Terror

Ultimately, 2,752 crushing deaths,

Well-dignified even 10 years gone by.

Being among the counted,

Their death-day a special day of dying,

Noticed, a mirror put up to their absence,

The breath of something important to see.

Noticed, it was shocking,

Blasting the not-dying with news of…

Oh, it is hard to speak of.

22,000 young ones die each day. 1 child dies every 4 seconds. 15 children die every minute. As soul shaking as a Haitian earthquake or an Asian tsunami occurring every 10 days, 8.1 million kids die every year. Each one dies only once. It is always sudden in the mother’s heart. That day, a not so special death-day.

Holy War on Terror

Madly, the buildings burst into gorging flames,

And the structures came crashing down.

Grinding a marvel of civilization to an incinerated rubble.

One tower, the other tower, and others, mysterious, too.

How the offices and elevators were gored and ripped.

How the people grasped for what they were going to lose.

5479 die, not immunized, on every given day.

15 million orphaned, reared by kids, by soldiers, by themselves.

Two towers of power, cathedrals of work ethic and wealth,

Elevating dreams of grand society high into the blue sky of hope,

This, the sacred work of American Dreaming,

Slashed by explosive jealousy.

The richest 20 percent of the world's living

Have 75 percent of the world's riches.

The poorest 40 percent live with 5 percent.

800 million have no access to clean water.

2.5 billion have no toilets.

Holy War on Terror

The crown of sophistication tumbled that day,

Struck by a few men going too fast,

Men in hijacked, fueled-up machines,

Speeding, accelerating, faster, faster, for the cause…

No care of loss, pain, suffering, just the cause…

Pushing that agenda…forward, onward, more, more…

Eyes fixed on the goal, that single achievement.

And the terrorist said, “Terrorism against America is a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop killing our people. We had to destroy the towers in America, so that they taste what we tasted and they stop killing our women and children.”

See what we have done?

See what one can do?

Like a stone from David’s sling,

Slamming one pride open with another,

Exploding like two pillars of salt,

Two twisted, holy hells melted in a toxic pile,

One glory pelted another

And the money almost stopped moving, for maybe a minute,

While the world watched a piece of civilization burn.

Holy War on Terror

Silent killers, poverty, hunger, preventable disease, illness,

Enough suffering to make a god angry,

A daily, ongoing catastrophe, ignored,

The daily omission of awareness

Distantly dying children, one by one, every few seconds.

You can count the moments. You can count the lives.

Can you hear the soft beating of their wings?

Holy War on Terror