23 October 2005

Spring will return after a long winter's nap

A Hint of Winter

Swans trumpet their final song. Geese prepare to take wing with the coming northwesterlies...wood is in the sheds, canned goods fill the pantry. Supplies are stocked and we are prepared for the blanket of snow that is soon to be here. We are thankful for what we have, for what we've helped to create from these logs and stones and soil that the earth has provided. For the love of friends and family, and the eternally hoped for promise of peace.

For Pamela

on All Hallow's Eve for Pamela Jane Truzinski 7/10/1954 to 8/15/2001 ...midwife to the stars Listening... She doesn't want to hear people talking anymore always babbling on about themselves...She just wants to stop...listen I know you won't believe any of this... There's a stream called Fishhawk that runs by her cottage in the woods near a town christened Jewell near another named Mist And each day the log trucks go speeding by on the road no wider than her dog's tail curled in the roadside...weeds a victim of good forest management Some of the logs so big the trucks can only carry one dead dog at a time speeding around the bends faster than you or I would ever dare The deforestation drivers are paid by the load so they can't be bothered with anyone's pet crossing their road And I wonder if she's ever been herself since they turned the lot next door into a gravel pit and then her cat Odie who was older than anyone can remember any cat had a right to be died and something started to grow inside her not at all like her many gardens have names and personalities bolder than anything I could write Black seeds planted one by one some of us so sensitive we can't let go especially when the murder by numbers game is rumbling by her riverside cottage Each day she goes out into the world and helps new mothers give birth at home the only place where a child should ever be brought into this world she declared and I listened and came to believe her story says taking birth and death out of the home and placing these portals where we must enter and leave inside the corporate death machine fathered the scourge upon the land devouring every tree dog cat midwife river poem and turning all to profit or dust beneath its grinding wheels "Got to get another load to the mill before sunset 13 days in a row" So he can make payment on the F-350 tank he needs to feel in control of life and she has lived outside that noise for so long that if you asked the river it could speak her syllables three for the first and last on a sultry day in July when she was born I knew her when she was sapling as I was too and her curves were softer more fragrant than overripe raspberries sitting in the sun all day brushing against your idiot's cheek We played crayola with paper dragonfly wings sketching future dreams all night long that were robbed and sold to Japan for a hundred dollars a board foot And people say fucking on film is obscene compared to a freighter steaming across the Pacific with her backyard forest that defended Deer Coyote Elk Owl wander out in the road after midnight staring into an empty future is where I see myself when I think of her house sitting hollow and who will tend the gardens birth the children teach us how to use the herbs to fight the rage she must feel turned inward festering with grief too much for someone softer inside than a newborn's eyelid opening on this vista the first time and not forced to receive hospital-mandated chemical eyedrops This tumorous shadow lives inside her belly while she has carried off so many disappointments like the river that washes through her and cleanses us so we can go on down that road to Japan There's nothing fair in her guarding the last bastion between Jewell and profits piling up in all the hospital...C-sections never performed because she patiently waited till the woman could give birth to a new way to express this lifeforce unrelenting I swell up with words and watch my belly grow in sympathy for her affliction is more than we forgot it's we don't listen chattering away about ourselves She just wants everyone to stop and consider The rights of the accused are limited and yet when anyone points a finger they are labeled instantly as the enemy spoiling the party like a manic depressive mother who shows up off her meds "Lock her up" I want her to come all the way back Protect me comfort me encourage me but I didn't listen either and my rights are limited to this anger outrage fear longing for her truth could fit on a toothpick and taste like a million ampules of royal jelly I pour into her belly by the river in her gardens' barefoot burst of summer when life is everywhere brighter later than we ever guessed it would be a crime for one more log truck to ever pass by her house should she slip away down the river forking into the Nehalem winds down to the sea spilling out there by a little town called Wheeler where we once stayed still growing green dumb invincible towards a careless sky Would you believe I wouldn't be here writing this had she not stopped to listen... Thanks to poet34 ***** Sitting in the forest of a winter's night 10.Dec.2003 22:20 Bruce in Northern Minnesota I lived and traveled with Pamela many moons ago. Leaving Minnesota in a '67 deluxe VW bus (y'know the one with the little windows and a huge sunroof) we traveled across the northern tier of the states...this was 1975. We were full of wonderment and life. The woods welcomed us wherever we stopped and camped. People couldn't help but be drawn to Pamela. We lived in Grants Pass for a year while I went to school and she continued in wonderment...no matter what it was she did. She taught me much about life. I'd be a much sadder, lesser person without what I learned from her. She gave, she shared. She loved. She laughed...most of all she laughed. (though she could cry, and sing, and work, and dance, and garden...). We traveled more. We learned more. We went back to MN and shared a farm with a group of other wonderful folks...firing pottery in a wood-burning kiln, learning about each other and ourselves. She is here...she is there...I saw her in the aurora the other night. She dances in my campfires. She sings with the voices of the barred owls. I see her in the eyes of the deer. I miss her sense of wonderment. I spoke with her the night before she passed. She said that she always knew that death would come someday...just not so soon. Another lesson for all of us. Live to the fullest and speak out against the madness. And don't let those bastards get you down, cuz they're all full of beans anyway. May you all experience the beauty of a love like Pamela in your lives. It's out there...it's in there.

12 October 2005

Carla Emery has died of a heart attack

http://www.carlaemery.com/ She came to our area and spoke with a bunch of us just before Y2k...she had a lot of interesting things to say about preparation, but was paranoid that the end was coming down, the earth was going to shift on it's axis and split the country in two...and California would fall into the ocean. None of that happened, but the end came for her anyway. I guess the lesson learned is paranoia about coming events aside, someday "the big one" is going to get each and every one of us, in our own time. May she rest in peace, now. And may all of us enjoy the peace of our homesteads...in the "here and now"...

07 October 2005

Post-Modernism

There are lots of questions to be asked about postmodernism, and one of the most important is about the politics involved--or, more simply, is this movement toward fragmentation, provisionality, performance, and instability something good or something bad? There are various answers to that; in our contemporary society, however, the desire to return to the pre-postmodern era (modern/humanist/Enlightenment thinking) tends to get associated with conservative political, religious, and philosophical groups. In fact, one of the consequences of postmodernism seems to be the rise of religious fundamentalism, as a form of resistance to the questioning of the "grand narratives" of religious truth. This was perhaps most obvious in muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East, which banned postmodern books--like Salman Rushdie's, "The Satanic Verses"...because they deconstruct such grand narratives. (Although it is increasingly becoming obvious in the rise of fundamentalist Christianity connected with the political right in the USA, and the return to teaching "creationism" or, more subtly..."Intelligent Design".) This association between the rejection of postmodernism and conservatism or fundamentalism may explain in part why the postmodern avowal of fragmentation and multiplicity tends to attract liberals and radicals. This is why, in part, feminist theorists have found postmodernism so attractive. On another level, however, postmodernism seems to offer some alternatives to joining the global culture of consumption, where commodities and forms of knowledge are offered by forces far beyond any individual's control. These alternatives focus on thinking of any and all action (or social struggle) as necessarily local, limited, and partial--but nonetheless effective. By discarding "grand narratives" (like the liberation of the entire working class) and focusing on specific local goals (such as improved day care centers for working mothers in your own community), postmodernist politics offers a way to theorize local situations as fluid and unpredictable, though influenced by global trends. Hence the motto for postmodern politics might well be "think globally, act locally"--and don't worry about any grand scheme or master plan.

06 October 2005

Forty Two

I believe that this here country...these United States of America can be the best possible country it can be without exploitation or off shoring...or cronyism...or imperialistic adventurism under the guise of fearmongering. The current administration is the worst this country has ever seen...and it's funny, it isn't just the "left" that notices that...true conservatives know that this administration is eroding civil liberties and running the country's economics into the ground. I have little tolerance for people who espouse ideals that are against my belief in "everyman". I have no room for racism, being less than fully white myself...and having grandchildren of mixed race and a black son-in-law who has been through so much and come out the other side a better man than most. I am an honest man...of that you can be certain. You will get nothing from me except my honest opinion smithed from the embers of war, with a rifle and radio in one, and with medicines to treat the poor and wounded in another...spew away...I can turn the radio dial to a myriad of chicken hawk, war mongering, racist radio commentators any day of the week and hear the same diatribe. The internet is filled with negativity and bs...I can read that anytime, and I have...

Government Whore...a song

Spent two years on a foreign shore Nothin' but a government whore I sold my body, they stole my mind Told me, "Boy, now you're mine." Those two years 'neath the southern cross Turned out to be my country's loss Kill commies for Christ, the Chaplain told me As I prayed on a wounded knee. Cuz, "Might makes right, can't you see boy?" It's "Our country tis of thee, boy" But killin' people to set 'em free...boy, seemed like fuckin' for virginity. What do you know when you're only 18 Twelve years of school's the only life you've ever seen Always taught from government books Always caught in propaganda's hooks So I moved to the woods, where I tried to forget I had to admit I just didn't fit Now I fight the war most nights in my dreams I wake myself to the sound of my own screams But the country didn't learn from our mistake They still fight war for big money's sake Now yellow ribbons decorate your stores And you all have become the government's whores What do you learn when you watch your televisions? You're lettin' other people make all your decisions Your name's on the government's books And you're all caught in propaganda's hooks... (Ends with taps) I wrote that at the beginning of Gulf War I...Bush the elder's... Sad but true still today.

A Letter to the Governor of Minnesota

I live in Northern Minnesota in a small home which I built over two decades ago. It has been a fabulous place to live. There are trumpeter swans that herald the morning sun in spring, letting me know that winter has passed. Deer, grouse, fishers, mink, beaver, fox, an occasional deep howl of a wolf in the distance...waterfowl of every imaginable color. Birds in abundance. These are the visions/smells/sounds I wish other Minnesotans would or could take the time to enjoy. However, everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days...careless, no sense of community or self. Abuse of the ATV trail system is rampant, the muddier and the wetter the lands the more enjoyable the ride to many of the owners of these "vehicles". President Bush has recently called for conservation of our resources. Drive only when necessary. Change incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents. Strategically it is important to not support the terrorists through foreign oil expenditures, and it is just out and out insane to go to war over our shortsightedness. It continues to cost lives and has brought the US budget into a state of calamity. Driving unnecessarily is tantamount to support of Al Qaeda...and attacking the roots of our strength. We should be striving for answers in these troubled times, before the US falls down like a house of cards. I am a VietNam combat veteran. I keep to myself for the most part. I enjoy the woods. There are groups of people who bring their horses up here in the State Forest to ride and enjoy each other's company. There are bicyclists and walkers that like to enjoy the woods, as well. With the ATVs being so dominant these days...and many of the riders having a total disregard for the rules of use, consideration to other people and to the environment...the quality of life is going down. Noise abatement is a real issue. Some of these folks modify their muffler systems and pipes to make them sound 'badder'...It is dangerous and uncomfortable for anyone else using the resources in a quiet, considerate manner. In the interest of all Minnesotans, not just a vocal special interest, I ask that you revisit the rules and regulations concerning ATV use on public lands. This is all of our land, and you are the governor to all the people. Small problem for you. The cities have more clout and a stronger voice in your ears...but it is important that this issue be addressed. And addressed now. ATVs are a tool, not a toy. I have no objection to their correct use...but the abuse is rampant. These are special times that call for courage from our elected officials. Conservation of fossil fuels, conservation of resources, conservation of the quiet way of life in the northwoods...those are all your responsibility. Please take the time to read this, give it some thought...and speak to the issue. If you are in the area, I'd be glad to show you areas of abuse.

Dance to the Beat of a Simple Drum

Y'know...money is an odd thing, and people are odder yet. The year that I met my wife (which was 1988) I made 1900 dollars working odd jobs, etc. I lived alone and spent 700 dollars total for the year. That included my property taxes. I had no phone and no bills. No internet back then, no tv...gardens for food and dry beans and rice. I was quite content...saved 1200 bucks for the year. Most people would scoff at that being a possibility, much less a reality. 3500 dollars for my house (my land cost another 2500 dollars) back in 1984...that included putting in a road, clearing land that I'd logged, having manure and topsoil hauled in, digging 3 foot deep garden beds 4 ft wide by 25 ft long...backfilling my building after it was built...another 400 dollars built my small garage. The 3500 dollars included two small solar panels, a battery and some lights...it included my wood stove. It included some lumber from the local mill for flooring, joists and sheathing..Most all of the materials in my house were gleaned locally...logs peeled, stones rolled... Labor is the expense, and it was done out of my love, not money... It was kinda like building a fort, or doing an art project...or both. The labor of those days returns to me each sunrise...it shelters me, it nurtures me, it gives me sustenance. I love, it loves back...very easy, very sane. The details are less important than the mantra...keep it simple. As Charles Mingus said: Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. Or E. F. Schumacker: Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction. Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

The River

upstream from white sand beaches are hamlets, paddies and canyons bombshells unexploded, cratered land, cratered faces  mangled extremities...