Tag Archives: earthweal

The Anthropocene Hymnal (plus Fracking Song Reprise)

Ingrid Wilson of Experiments in Fiction has put together a collection of poems called The Athropocene Hymnal (63 poems in all, from 34 poets). Publication date is July 24th. Many of the poets, including myself are regular contributors to the blog earthweal. I have 2 poems in the collection (thanks, Ingrid, for including me!). All profits from the sale of the book will go to the World Wild Life Fund. So be sure to check out Ingrid’s blog on July 24th!

Brendan over at earthweal has published an interview with Ingrid and also more details about the publication, so check out Brendan’s post here.

The collage on the cover was contributed by the very talented Kerfe Roig.

In his earthweal prompt this week, Brendan says :

For this week’s challenge, let’s take up her (Ingrid’s) call and write a poem of the Anthropocene which does not compromise.

This is a poem I wrote a while back (it appeared before on earthweal) and previously published on this blog, but think it fits the challenge.

Fracking Song

You’re standing on the corner
Watching the trucks go rolling past
Pumping out their diesel fumes
Pumping out that carbon gas

It’s the middle of winter
And it’s twenty below
And that gas just sits there
With nowhere to go.

Something’s wrong in the valley
Babies stillborn
Ten in one year
And they  call that the norm

Something’s wrong in the valley
Something toxic in the ground
Something wrong in the valley
Since the frackers came to town.

That rock’s been down forever
With its hydrocarbon payload
When they  blow it all apart
They  can’t control where it goes

And that water that’s left standing
Evaporating in the sun
The residue will be with us
Long after they are gone

Something’s wrong in the valley
Babies stillborn
Ten in one year
And they call that the norm

Something’s wrong in the valley
Something toxic in the ground
Something wrong in the valley
Since the frackers came to town.

You can blame the politicians
The special interests groups
Blame the fracking company
They all don’t give a fuck

There’s only one thing they understand
One thing that they know
Keep riding that fossil fool train
As far as it will go.

There’s something wrong in the valley
Babies stillborn
Placentas like ribbons
And they call that the norm

Something’s wrong in the valley
Something toxic in the ground
Something wrong in the valley
Since the frackers came to town

The Parrot in the Liquor Store (Wild Thing)

The Parrot in the Liquor Store (Wild Thing)

I’m standing in the liquor store
staring at a bottle of Pinot Grigio
when Wild Thing by the Troggs
comes on the store speakers
and I’m thinking, to quote Leonard,
that song is a shining artifact of the past
and just as I’m thinking that
one of the Troggs launches into
a bizarre ocarina solo
and I turn around to find myself face to face
with a large blue and yellow parrot
perched on the leather-gloved hand
of a lady who has seen hippier times
never at a loss for words, I say,
“that’s a nice parrot”
and the lady says
“I have three more at home
one of them is a real man-hater
but this one here is my favowite
he’s a vewy, vewy, vewy nice pawwot”

she says, nuzzling the parrot, nose to beak
the parrot inflates its technicolor plumage
let’s out an almighty squawk
and displays its full wing span
and I’m thinking
Wow, there’s a ocarina solo in the middle of Wild Thing,
who’s that on ocarina
I think it’s the lead singer
what was his name,
Reg Presley, I think,
yeah, that’s it
Reg Presley.”

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

Mr. Cahoots

Mr. Cahoots

In the dream
I’m walking in East Vancouver

the setting sun illuminates
the low shoebox buildings

the streets are empty
except for me
and the guy who’s following me

his name is Mr. Cahoots

he’s wearing a pink top hat
a pink frock coat
pink flared pants
and gold boots

mostly he follows
but every now and again
he scuttles past
and walking backwards
he gives me the jazz hands
and laughs in my face

his eyes are manic
his nose is aquiline
and I know what he is saying
although he isn’t saying anything

he’s saying
You! You are not in control!

he’s saying
You! You are not in control!

In response to Brendan’s prompt over at earthweal

Write a dream poem using its language and rhetoric and dark sense. What moony light does it cast on the day? If you care, add to the poem or a note with any associations from waking life that the dream seems to be commenting on. If the dream is your unconscious speaking to you, what is it trying to help your waking writing mind to see?

My sister died recently after a very short illness. She was the eldest, there are six of us. I had the dream described in the above poem around the time she died. A family , particularly a large family is, in some ways, a collection of vantage points and we lost our top vantage point, the one who had seen it all. Now five seems like a very small number.

Hacienda Merida (Edit)

Hacienda Merida

It’s 5 AM and still dark as the lake
When the rooster starts his clownish complaint.

He is quickly joined by the village dogs,
The gecko on the wall behind the bed
Birds and more birds

And finally Fiona the donkey
Whose hoarse and outraged heehaw
Signals she is not ready for another day

Tethered to a pole in fickle shade.

This in response to Sherry’ s prompt over at earthweal : “For this week’s challenge, speak for animals, or let the animals speak.

Hiram (Poem for Earthweal)

Hiram

Hiram likes to drink water
direct from the spigot
on the front wall of his house;
he hasn’t had to connect a hose
to that darn spigot
since he converted the lawn to artificial.
Good times.
In the evening,
he sits on his porch
staring out at the Christmas tree green of the lawn
drinking lite beer
and polishing his assault rifle,
this gives him comfort.

Not that he’s afraid,
he ain’t afraid of nuthin’,
he ain’t afraid of AOC
he ain’t afraid of Antifa
he ain’t afraid of that girl from Sweden
the one that never smiles
he’s vigilant, that’s all;
vigilance is of the essence.
He likes the sound of that,
maybe get a T shirt made
put that on the front,
‘G.I. – God Incarnate’ on the back.

No, he ain’t afraid of nuthin’,
but sometimes
in the early hours of the morning
he lies awake
his gut gurgling like a drain
as it processes
the Outback appetizer
of deep fried onion rings
that the waitress
piled high on his plate
like a jumble sale
of used Olympic symbols;
he lies awake
stalked by a fear
he will not name
the fear of being left behind,
left in the dust,
by the twenty first century.

This week I’m hosting the weekly challenge over at Earthweal (Title “Fiction? Don’t be a Stranger”). So head on over there and prepare to be challenged.

Also taking part in Open Link over at dverse


Leaving St. Bernard Behind

Leaving St. Bernard Behind

By the time religion got to me
all the joy had been filtered out
too many censorious priests,
too many soporific sermons
too many cavernous churches
with names like St. Michael’s, St. Theresa’s, St Ann’s,
too many saints.
Why, even my white Y front underwear
had a saint’s name on the tag, St. Bernard.
His name was also on my vests, my shirts, my pajamas;
I just couldn’t get St. Bernard off my back.
Where I found my true congregation
was on Sunday afternoons
with my dad, my uncle, my brother, my older sister
on the terraces at Milltown
watching Shamrock Rovers play.
There were binaries there too
heaven was a victory
and while defeat wasn’t exactly hell
it cast a pall over Sunday tea,
a pall that was quickly relieved by the sugar high
from the flotilla of cakes my mother
had been baking since Saturday afternoon.
Now St. Bernard has been replaced
by someone called Denver Hayes.
I doubt if Denver is a saint
and I’m fine with that
underwear should be secular
joy, unconfined.

The prompt from Brendan over at earthweal is to write a Michealmas Festival poem. This poem really doesn’t do the prompt justice, but it’s the poem that the prompt prompted.

Also taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse

September and Everything After

Summer has left the building
is already in the limo

snorting white powder
drinking champagne

dupes, fall guys
we wait for the encore

ignoring the bouncer
pointing to the door

the door marked winter

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

Also a note to my friends over at earthweal, I have two poems published in The Galway Review, if you have a chance take a look here, (Jim.)

Peripatetic Blues (Edit)

IMG_0167

 

Peripatetic  Blues

The signs along the highway
are leaking semiotic fluid

psychotic cacti strike a calculated pose

linguistic lizards parse the parched desert floor

Slim’s feeling demotic,
neurotic, anecdotal, over-used
he’s looking for a sanctuary
the fisherman and the shoes

he’s got those
needle in a haystack
peripatetic blues.

 

This is a response to Brendan’s challenge over at earthweal  ……..The Perilous Chapel

“This week’s challenge is about finding that Chapel and a way through it. Where have you found it, what perils did you endure, how is it linked to the Grail you seek? What is that poetry? And what initiation is required to transform modernity into Earthdom?”

The poem above is an edit of a previous post, it’s more about the journey than the arrival…..here’s another take

 

The Road (re-mix)

the sun beats down like judgement
on the armor-plated road
you just called out God and the Devil
and neither of them showed

there’s a sour smell of whiskey sweat
on the air-conditioned air
sometimes you think you care too much
and sometimes you just don’t care

in a dream you see an angel
an angel with a gun
you’re five miles outside of nowhere
and you’re stuck inside a song.

 

Between (Everyone’s got something to bring..)…..Edit

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Between

Between the caucus and the carcass
between the chaos and the calm
between the fracas and the ruckus
between the righteous and the damned

Between the priest and the sermon
between the singer and the song
no one can determine
why we all can’t get along

Between the question and the answer
there is a life time of space
between the dance and the dancer
there is beauty and there is grace

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing.

 

It’s Open Link Weekend over at earthweal, so I thought I would re-post this one. Be sure to check out earthweal, always something interesting going on there!

 

Storms

IMG_0404 slate (2)

 

Storms

If it’s getting stormier
and it surely is
then we have to put a bit more work
into naming those storms
I mean to say, c’mon now,
Storm Dennis?
Dennis is a guy who wears cardigans
and washes his car every Sunday.
Margaret Thatcher’s husband
was called Dennis –
Storm Margaret
now there’s a storm,
a storm full of righteous certainty
levelling working class towns
circumnavigating domiciles of the rich.
How about Storm Boris
a tropical storm perhaps
full of hot air and bluster
a flatulent tail wind
or to switch professions and countries
Storm Janis
now there’s a storm to rip the roofs of houses
flatten whole trailer parks
transport cows to far off fields
or Storm Aretha
a storm that demands respect
sock it to me
anything but Dennis
side-parted, brilliantined, undershot Dennis.

The subject over at earthweal is “storms”.

Down and Out in Idabel (redux)

Pigments (2)

 

Down and Out in Idabel

How Myron found himself in the parking lot
of the Holiday Inn in Idabel, Oklahoma
looking out at the road
on a Saturday morning in April
– after a breakfast of brittle bacon,
sausages slick with grease,
dry fluorescent scrambled eggs –
is not important.

The road pauses, a skittish dog roams.
Myron’s eyes are drawn to a dead armadillo
upside down on the hard shoulder
an empty beer can in its claws:
Old Milwaukee, prehistoric drunk,
someone’s joke.

A pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
over the fence a cow chews grass
and makes a meal of it.
Dogwoods bloom.
The cow moos like a reluctant foghorn.
Myron’s mood turns
he thinks about the cow,
Manifest Destiny,
the plight of the bison
our lust for red meat
while greenhouse gas
shimmies upwards
ice caps melt
glaciers retreat
and looking down
the road to Shreveport
buoyed by the prospect
of seeing Idabel
in his rear-view mirror
he quietly resolves
to recover what he was
before sadness lodged
like a wet sack
in the back
of his head.

This poem originally appeared in issue 38 of The SHOp poetry magazine (print) which was a fine magazine, unfortunately they closed up shop a few years ago.

Taking part in earthweal open link weekend, head over there and read Brendan’s very eloquent and comprehensive post on climate change.

This is my third in a series of climate change related posts, it wasn’t planned that way, but I guess that’s the way the wind is blowing this week!

 

 

 

 

 

Water (off a duck’s back)

 

 

Water (off a duck’s back)

What’s that?…….no, no, it’s all rubbish,
climate change is a Deep State hoax.
By the way, forgot to mention
I have some ocean front for sale in Florida,
are you interested?
I hear you’re a good swimmer.
Ha, that’s just a joke,
God controls the climate
the rivers, lakes and seas.
Look what he did for Moses.
Our local preacher has a direct line,
just send a donation
before he gets arrested.
Joking again! Those rumours
are just not true.
Besides, our supreme leader, Donald, says
we are going to have a great climate
the best climate ever.
Do you know any Dutch people?
They’re good at handling all this water stuff.
Another thing, does anyone else
really miss the dinosaurs?
I had this rubber brontosaurus
when I was kid, I kind of liked it,
a velociraptor too…where was I?
Yes, this oceanfront property in Florida
it comes with a row boat.

The word of the week over at earthweal is water. Got the idea for this poem while reading Sarahsouthwest’s poem “Water Again”.

Also participating in open link night over at dverse.