Genocide and Time Schisms: Today’s Psychology of Wilderness and Progress

My grandfather tells me stories.

When winters came through the jack pine barrens of northwest Minnesota with such tenacity that the world was washed away. Disappeared in a violent white. -50 wind-chill, 80mph winds. They tied a rope from the door of the house to the barn so that they could find their way through the snow blind to feed the cattle. The creek below the hill, tucked back in a low slough shrouded by white pine, would stay open and running through the winter months. They boiled the frigid waters. Wandered bleary eyed in the morning to fill a basin. A kitchen saturated in the smell of woodsmoke and side pork.

Sometimes he talks about those ancient beasts that were so commonplace to his prior universe. Characters not only roaming the scablands of the post-depression era but of his heart. His eyes impart a depth when he gets to these parts of the tale.

 

He describes the Prairie Chicken.

A small beast. A mostly ground-dwelling bird, about the size of a small chicken (and similar shape, hence the name). “Well we used to just lean right out the windows of our car at times,” he admits. “They would be feeding in the cornfield, see, and we would just lean right out the window and pop em off. That was the last time I ever saw one around here, actually. I stopped on the way home and popped one and drove up and down the road, because it was illegal to shoot them even at that time. Then I took home. A dark meat. Really good eating. But I think about it now, and that was the last we ever saw of em. Beautiful birds too. You don’t see them now. Not at all.”

But I did see a Prairie Chicken recently. Oddly enough, near the very cornfield my grandfather remembers shooting the last chicken he ever saw. I saw the little bird making its way below the spruce at the rim of the field, its plumage dark and luxurious. It was bent low and scrounging for grub. I did not think about it enough when I saw it: that it may be the place of the last Prairie Chicken I ever see, too.

The Greater Prairie Chicken was a colorful bird once commonplace in Western Minnesota. Although it was first thought to dominate only the American midwest, “blocking out the sun” of the Great Plains and the tall-grass prairie. But forks and fingers of the tallgrass prairie reach throughout North Dakota, western Minnesota, and into the southern tallgrass plains of Manitoba, and one way or another the birds made their way into the furthest reaches of the northern prairie. There is debate as to when and how the birds came to exist there, but all the same, they did.

Today, it is rare to find a Greater Prairie Chicken anywhere, but even rarer in western Minnesota. I have that image of the bird frozen in my mind now, but already it’s melting away. Turning fuzzy. Just like the conifer bog where I laid eyes on it, my memory of the Prairie Chicken will continue to change, to shrink, and to blur, until one day, it will not be a memory at all, but a story, a half-true yarn, kept in a half-true history, shrouded and dust-covered in some corner of my failing mind.

 

***

Wild animals and the landscapes they live in have occupied their own wonderful, innate, and sometimes fearful position in the human heart. For thousands of years they were central to understanding of our understanding of the universe. We saw the world as an inherently wild place. The world was Cormac McCarthy’s Mexico: there was no order in it “save that which death has put there.”

Things have changed.

When our new generations view the world, they see it through the lens of an android, not the eyes of an animal. No other shift in perception has changed the world more. Not first wave feminism, neo-liberalism, or even capitalism. It was however the primary shift that engendered these movements: we saw ourselves as awaking from a nasty, brutish chrysalis into some new beautiful meta-human. Spiritually, we witnessed ourselves ascend from the status of half-man, half-animal, into a half-man half-angel. Today we can update that viewpoint one step further to half-man half-machine. We are androidian. 

Although this shift from animal to android brought unprecedented wealth to certain parts of civilization, it had cataclysmic effects on our wilderness. The wild inordinate world is no longer our psychological foreground. It is an afterthought. A mythic place set in the past.

Nothing could put our wild environments in a more precarious position. Wilderness still exists, though much of our government sponsored “environmentalists” claim the opposite. But it exists as a kind of waking dream. It is a place that embodies collectively our past but no part of our future: from the very origin of our species to the second Industrial Revolution. Yet it does not, in our new androidian hive-mind, represent anything resembling the world we see as our present and future. What has occurred is that the present-future vectors of our psychology have been cleaved in two. There is present-future on one temporal axis, and past on another. In our hyper-technological world, present-future can be lumped into one category. We remind ourselves of this ontology often in the expression, “the future is now.”

Somehow, however, the past has been shoved into a state of perpetual extinction. It is waning away; we are weaning ourselves off it like a teenager leaving the comfort of their parent’s guidance. As a result, there is very little hope that wilderness will survive into the future; it is effectively gated out of the dominant human world-view. It is set in a temporal landscape that looks like a cemetery. Everything is declared dead there regardless of its taciturn locus in the present. Its purpose in the present-future complex is simply to remind us that a past existed at all.

Think about this. The future has not happened yet, but it can be shaped by what is occurring in the present. That is why they are being seen as interconnected elements. But the past is gone. It is inert. It is a fossil.

Our wild places and our wild societies are being fossilized before they’re even dead.

Although it may seem like a natural psychological progression given humanity’s “progress”, but we must remember that this is progress designed by the colonial industrial ruling class. In fact, we can really begin to see how insidious this mindset is when we admit to ourselves that the whole of the world’s population of indigenous peoples fits into this categorical past-life as well. Along with the wild world they have built their societies around, indigenous people are being sent to the gulags and gas chambers of civilization’s past, right along with the staples of their worldviews: wilderness.

***

When wilderness and our last standing wild places are placed in a world that, to dominant industrial culture, stands outside of our current and future realm, it stands no chance of survival. The psychological schism we are creating in the new generations will the last damnation it could possibly suffer. They have already forgotten wilderness. Their idea of environmentalism looks more like gardening and shopping splurges at Trader Joe’s than it does the actual environments they pretend to somehow represent. The past is not the past if it is still living today.

Let me be perfect clear here. What I am describing is the psychological finishing touches on a thousand-year old genocide that will finally be finished when our new generations come to fruition in the world. The industrial ruling class has weaponized everything to this end. To finish off and decimate that last annoying splinters of the earth’s natural world so that the new “present-future” view of the earth can take over in totality. We are weaponized. Our industries are weaponized.

“The past is never where you left it.” Katherine Anne Porter

 

Advertisements

Two Headed Snake: A Double-Sided American Crisis

 

 

Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that we can’t go back anymore. We can’t hit a reset button to some erstwhile period of bliss. And I don’t mean historically or sociologically. The idea that there was ever a very good time in recorded history to return to is ludicrous. By civilization’s standards, we are sitting pretty high on the hog in America. Any industrial nation can say the same: advanced medicine and attempts at democracy have given the world unprecedented levels of comfort. But ironically, the suicide rate in industrial nations is higher than ever, especially in the United States and Britain. This is puzzling, considering that we are in such a position of luxury.

Many ideologues of today’s strange academic climate will argue differently. They will say that for many minorities, things are still dire. I’m not an academic though, so I don’t need to save face lying to myself. Or you. I’m an artist who likes to pretend to be an intellectual every now and then. But when I look out at the country I live in, I see improvement everywhere from just two hundred years ago (that’s not a long time in the scope of what we call “progress”), although I would never go as far as to say that things are “good” for some minorities. But all in all, we’re not dropping like flies from diphtheria, facing crushing infant mortality rates, starving to death en masse, or being mass murdered by political tyrants. I’m not saying those things might not occur in the future, but at this time, we are doing alright in terms of survival.

Yet, spiritually and psychologically, it doesn’t take a very astute mind to see that we sick. As a culture, we seem to be infected with some raging disease of unhappiness. We see it in manifestations everywhere but we have a hard time pin-pointing exactly what ails us. Our young men are killing themselves at mortifying rates, our young women are depressed more than any time in recent history, and the problem only seems to be magnifying.

Our media and our intellectual elites are doing their best to take on these issues in splintered factions. They would like to address each symptom of civil breakdown in as orderly and grotesquely simplified way as possible. There is an interesting and problematic cultural tendency occurring as a result: fewer and fewer people are buying into the media and academic elite’s obvious bullshitting, and they are looking instead into even more dubious places for the truth. They begin looking into what Donald Trump has called “Fake News”, which is, you know, opposed to the real news, which is also often fabricated. Ironically, Donald Trump himself capitalizes on Fake News every day. But this is no different than the liberal talk pieces who admonished the high idealism of men embracing equality for women that were later found to be sexual predators. The world is rife with slanderers, snake oil salesmen, and rapists. Not on your block, most likely. But if you were to drive down the right gated off neighborhood, with security cameras at every ten feet of the fence and pretty cedar trees blocking the view of their multi-million dollar estates, you would be driving by absolute sociopaths.

Our reaction to this crisis of morality and order, at this time, is to politicize every tragedy and enemy. To use each bit of new information as weaponry at each other. We are a nation divided. But as sad as the breakdown of a civil society is- which is what are witnessing- we are in the throes of a much more sinister breakdown that cannot be fixed.

Civil breakdown happens all the time in history. It’s not, by any measure, the end of the world. We see it on the news often in other countries. Now it’s happening to us. But what makes this breakdown feel so eerily apocalyptic is that there truly is an apocalyptic breakdown occurring behind the scenes:

Our wild ecologies are disintegrating at morbid rates, and we are doing almost nothing to stop it but yelling at each other and voting in new sociopaths to run the same broken machine that it has always been.

Our wilderness is in a far worse position than it is has ever been, at least in recent history, and it doesn’t take a scientist to see it happening. It only takes close observation of our wild places, and some brief history lessons of our natural spaces. Millennials had time to witness the near eradication of our amphibians. Remember guys, when we would go look under rocks at Grandpa’s house, or at the cabin by the lake, and find all kinds of salamanders, skinks, and other amphibians? Try that now. Check out those same places.

Chances are you won’t find them.

Remember the flying squirrel?

You won’t find them around much anymore either.

These are just two examples of pretty common critters from my childhood that have nearly disappeared in the last two decades. Closer scientific observation has revealed that the ecology of our wild places really is falling apart. Aside from pretty much annihilating half of the wild animal populations of the earth in the last century, new studies have revealed that insect populations are decreasing at alarming rates across the globe.

If an insect apocalypse occurs, as some scientists are now warning against, we are all toast, and so is pretty much everything else living on this planet.

A social and ecological doomsday is coming, and both are symptoms of one fatal disease:

Humanity’s addiction to technology, which begat our addiction to overconsumption.

***

            We know that our current farming techniques is genocide for the environment, but we would rather see an ecological apocalypse than admit that our JD tractors are somehow flawed. We are glad to vote in “green” politicians, and throw our trash in a separate garbage can, but we would never think of sharing a cell phone with our partner (which would save money as well), or not upgrading to that newest Notebook. But, but, Ethan, I hear all the time. Those are clean technologies!

Not at all. Not only are cell phone towers causing increases in mortality rates(1) in many bird populations, but are doing heavy damage to amphibian and mammal populations as well (2). And we are only a couple decades in- we don’t yet know the long term effects.

Cell phones also contain many toxic compounds that need to be mined in highly specialized ways. So the phones are toxic themselves, are toxic when thrown away, and toxic when they are in the creation process. Yet we are expected by each other to have one. I can speak from experience- when you ditch your cellphone, people get angry. To not have a cellphone is akin socially as walking around with your pants around your ankles and your middle finger in the air.

Another byproduct of our civil breakdown is the complete polarization of real-world issues. Often, the polarizing creates meaningless results either way. When we look at young liberals’ obsession with “climate change”, we would assume they would be boycotting harmful corporations, ditching their smart phones, and not buying oil-guzzling vehicles. Yet a Forbes study found that 70 percent of Millennials were not interested in electronic cars, and prefer internal combustion engines (4). It doesn’t matter anyway, since electronic cars still require extensive mining and oil consumption to actually make the car. We would assume that Millennials would be ditching their smart phones, since they are disastrous for the environment. Yet virtually all Millennials in the US have or have had a smart phone. I think it doesn’t take much of a poll to see that most of us young folks not only own a smart phone, but a Tablet device and a Lap Top, as well as a TV. The mining alone required to feed us these devices is enough to devastate entire ecologies.

This is the irony of “climate change”. It is real- we know it is- but it is only a tiny part of the ecological disaster facing us today. The reason we focus on “carbon emissions” is because we have been told that it’s not our fault. It’s the fault of a few massive corporations, and we can fix it, if we just vote in the right gal or guy to do the job. “It’s out of our hands,” we say. “We can do nothing about it. The scientists and the politicians will fix it.”

Luckily for these massive corporations, most of the public who calls themselves “green” spend about as much time out in the wild as they do at the public library. Wilderness, as a place in the human heart, is already gone. Unfortunately for the earth, we have been equipped by evolution (or perhaps some other misunderstood force?) to kill almost everything else on the earth before we kill ourselves. It would be well for the Red Wolf or the Flying Squirrel if we weren’t so well equipped; we would have undoubtedly brought ourselves to extinction long ago. But like any addict, we hurt others far more than we hurt ourselves. Until we hit rock bottom.

***

            Rock bottom is coming. We are witnessing the beginning of an ecological collapse that, all evidence accounted for, we cannot survive. If, like scientists are beginning to point out, our insect population declines too low, we will witness extinction at rates never before seen (5), from mammals to plants to birds and reptiles.

The techno-brainwashed lunatics among us just sneer at this great extinction. They say, “Genetic modification will allow us to repopulate and save the planet.”

But this is the same mad-scientist pride-choked mindset that got us in this situation in the first place.

There is no easy way out. In fact, there may be no way out at all. But we can’t say we are trying if we continue to follow the same insane strictures we have been. We are obsessing over our own civil breakdowns. Cute ephemeral social movements are sweeping the internet every day. But the Red Wolf doesn’t care about #MeToo. The Flying Squirrel doesn’t care about Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, or Donald Trump. The insects of the earth are not concerned with whether or not equality is achieved among the sexes, or among different races. We should, as humans, obviously- but we can’t confused these human-centric cultural maneuvers for environmentalism. And if we continue to lump environmentalism in with other liberal talking points, like feminism, free college, and universal healthcare, there is a good chance we will complete the most unnecessary and total extinction the planet has ever seen.

Chances are, we won’t even notice it until that final breaking point. We will be binge watching Orange is the New Black, patting ourselves on the back for being such good humans, and our eyes will fall to that “I Voted” badge on our dresser, right next to our new I-Pad, and we will look out and think, “Didn’t there used to be trees out there? Or… animals?” But, like any good addict, we will quickly return to our regularly scheduled program.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. http://www.cleanup.org.au/au/cleanupmobilephone/the-problem-with-mobile-phones.html, http://emfsafetynetwork.org/us-department-of-the-interior-warns-communication-towers-threaten-birds/

2.http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/gtec/2006/00000088/00000002/art00010;jsessionid=45daaaisp3s1s.alexandra

3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/10/29/smartphones-saturation-millennials-pew-research/74805506/

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2017/04/17/surprise-70-of-millenials-do-not-want-electric-vehicles/#4d4de8d3f66b

5. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

 

Frankenstein’s Monster: The Evolution of Tinker-Toy to Godhead

Allow me to say what should not be said. The fiber in the lining, you’re never supposed to see. Let me peel back the skin so you feast your eyes on the sinew. I want to show you your bones. The untouchables you dare not expose, even in the mirror.

They don’t really care

never did

the way the world has been swallowed so completely by the techno-bubble, brought to the mast of that great schooner with no captain, dangled overboard for the sharks. No one is at the wheel anymore, kiddies. The gig is us. It’s post-apocalypse now. It’s every man for himself, every woman for herself, and no child left behind. What was the apocalypse then, if we missed it?

It’s not something one can put into words very well, but I would say it happened when the human being was taken over by a parasitic relationship to technology. I would call it symbiotic, as many technocrats assert, but it’s not. It’s wasting our brains.

Technology in the old form is still around. The old meaning of technology was about practicality. It assumed that whatever machine or meme of the human mind was being constructed had a logical purpose in the world and had a clear and obvious task. But somewhere along the way the machines began making the machines. That was the beginning of the end. A lot got in the way since then.

Now we have technology that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. We have sex toys (not a necessity), video games (not a necessity), social media (not a necessity)… and all that old convenience technology has worked so fantastically well, it has left a new generation unable to care for itself. Most of us twenty-somethings can’t even start a fire, much less build a house, maintain it, and fix our own vehicles- tasks that were mundane and rather common sixty years ago. We have specialized businesses for these tasks, and now specialized technology, too. We are a “streamlined” culture- only its really the technology that is streamlined, not human beings.

So at this point, we have created an artificial parent, an artificial god, and an artificial nature. The relationships between most individuals are dictated by Facebook messages and SnapChats, and to say that these relationships somehow extend beyond the limited parameters of what is offered by these apps is nonsense. Without the fundamental bedrock of shared experience, the cornerstone of healthy relationships, there is only a digital and commercialized relationships.

I have had friends tell me they refuse to send me a Facebook message, and that in order to talk to them online I must get SnapChat.

“I only SnapChat,” they say.

They have Facebook… but they just can’t.

Essentially they are telling me that our relationship is not worth the time it to takes to send a simple email. Or place a phone call. SnapChat is the epitome of quick, commercial communication. We are all beginning to talk like SnapChat, think like SnapChat, eat like Facebook, speak like Twitter. The end isn’t come. It’s here. The machines have won. The technology has superseded the creator. Frankenstein’s Monster is now a quantum-powered super-android with unknown potential for growth. We are the tinker-toys now. The computers are the brains. Don’t like it? “Tough shit,” says the artificial intelligence. “This is my realm now. You’re obsolete.”

A Hole in the World: Lonesome Crowded Lake Country

Of course this banishment from a steady economy comes with dark consequences. Drugs and alcohol fuel the Northwoods daily atmosphere.

There are places in Northern Minnesota that are lost in a dimension and time of their own.

You can only find them off the freeways, miles down some serpentine county road. They have names reminiscent of a spirit of the land that some believe is extinct. Some say it has been snuffed out. If it is true, then the names are merely reminders of a soul and not supplementary to its remains. They fan no embers but creates memorials to a flame.

These places are resort towns now. The logging industry has been thwarted by public disinterest and nosy governmental regulation and the small farms are mostly gone. But if they thrive anywhere in North Country they thrive in the rich soils east of the Red River, from the very edge of the Minnesota’s westward swing of the Laurentian deep into the heartland of the state, where there you can still notice the machine life breath of an economy in the air, riding on the wind.

The geographical center of Minnesota is located on Big Island in Fishtrap Lake, in the Lincoln Lakes area. This island is owned by a millionaire, who you can find sitting on a modest dock that juts from massive white pine and exotic cedars not typically found in that region. He’s laconic. He’ll wave to you as you kayak by. His cabin is as modest as his dock and were you to pass the island on a speedboat you may very well miss it. Just the way he likes it, I’m sure.

But when you move North you enter the regions propped tremendously through the years by heavy industry. The industries are gone now, and after nightfall, you can feel it. A ghostly feeling. As if a great experiment were tried, and what stands there now is the failed attempts.

Recreation drives these economies now. Resort towns where old boom towns used to reside. The impact of recreation on the local economies boggles the mind. The town of Park Rapids fluctuates in population alone so much through the seasons that it seems to be two different communities altogether from the summer to the winter months. From around 3,000 in the winter to somewhere close to 50,000 during the summer, according to locals there.

Of course this banishment from a steady economy comes with dark consequences. Drugs and alcohol fuel the Northwood’s daily atmosphere. Minnesota’s Forest Area is held hostage by alcohol, as are most towns in their position. Locals become perpetual tourists, trapped in the party atmosphere their town has to create in order to make money. In the summer there is no time.

The nights become muggy eternities, dreamy twilights that last forever. A retirement of the soul. The peace and tranquility that the Northwoods brings are only half of it; don’t let them fool you. But a chosen few really understand the land that gives them their lives of decadence. Others swim in a psychological funnel of nostalgia and drunkenness. Opiates run rampant in these communities, and until very recently they have not really been discussed. Fueled by intoxication, an already intoxicating landscape can become perilous to the soul.

You’ll find the lakeland-lifers at the resort bars every night. A different one but in the same town each day of the week. They stumble out the bar when they leave, after listening to the folks singers passing through, stuck in their own perpetual intoxication. A twilight zone, if you’re not careful.

The land is what snaps me out of it. If I remain in that bubble of decadence and blissful loneliness too long without a reminder of what it was supposed to be about, I become that stranger in a strange land that so many of us crave to be. To know the weird freedom and entrapment of waking up in a resort hotel and watching the wealthy come to and fro with their fishing rigs and grinning children and watching the local fisherman drink in silence, all over a cup of cheap coffee and a four-star breakfast. To know what it is to step out the door for a cigarette and smell the tourism and the lake breeze  and the inexplicable lostness.

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

-Hotel California, written and performed by the Eagles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere booms come and go like tumbleweed.

America, and the Android Future: Imagining a Hybrid Nation

 

I grew up in a place called America. As a child I was often confused as to where or what America actually was, because on the map there is clearly a North America and a South America, but no America. There is a Central America, but it is not where I live. So how I lived in the miraculous place called America, when it did not seem to exist, I could not fathom. Now that I am grown nothing is any clearer. There are we the Americans, and there is The World. My globe is here, soaked in the red blood of the corn fields and the white bones of the plantations and the blue sky where drones scour foreign mountain ranges for evidence of terror activity. The water that comes out my tap tastes like hard work and blue collar sweat. Broad swaths of potato fields remind me of the magic of an order of small fries.
Somehow in the air America drifts. It is not any one of the fifty states, no, but it is an ether that is carried in jet streams throughout the land, replenishing its many components. I cannot help but see this place America as a trinitarian being-metaphysically it follows the same kind of blueprints as Jesus Christ. It remains fifty independent states, though it is also the United States, and finally it is America, which is a non-physical concept we all intrinsically understand but cannot really put into words. Christians feel this when they step out of church on Sunday and order a quick Starbucks on the way out the door, or hit up Hardees for some cheeseburgers to top off the Body of Christ.
But America is bitter sweet and we know it. On certain evenings it feels like something uniquely folky, something risen from a tameless wilderness and constructed in rebellion. The rebellion of a culture that we used to see as petulant and silly, if we’re honest. America is ranch hands and deer hunting and guns and Native American genocide and black slavery and loons and grizzly bears and the Bald Eagle. America is rugged. We have committed every sin so we know the tricks. We instinctively mistrust rich blood.
And yet we are the very bastion of capitalism in the west, a burden we don’t yet know how to carry. A title we were never sure how to carry. What did the cowboy ever want to do aside from ride off into the sunset with his sweet loving lady? What’s he supposed to do with nuclear arms races and with global trade activity and international espionage? He’s not cut out for this world.
We are approaching a world of global automation. Capitalism has gave way to such extraordinary heights of luxury that we are inevitably on the path to transferring huge amounts of our daily labor to machines that will do our work for free. There will still be jobs to be had with these machines, but they will be highly specialized tasks carried out by specialized workers. So the question is arising in our culture now- how do we keep capitalism creating prosperity for humans when machines do capitalism better than we do?
I find the poetic justice to be too sweet.

 

History is actually just the story of people who think like machines killing people who don’t think like machines, with machines. Ask any nation’s indigenous tribes and they will spin for you an accurate yarn. Today’s systems are more efficient than ever before: communism, capitalism, or any hybrid of the two, are machine systems. They take the spirit of the human person and place it within a clearly defined set of directives. The existence of all subjects are reduced to the will of the system, of the government, or the economy. On many levels these systems mirror the workings of a machine, made to carry out a single task and to just keep doing that thing forever. Capitalism has found a way to create growth at staggering rates despite the ecological ramifications and it does not know how to do anything else. It is built for one thing only: profit and growth and prosperity for those who adopt it. It does this with a ruthless efficiency. Communism was never able to achieve levels of economic luxury, but it did find highly exploitable methods of controlling populations and rendering them loyal to fanatic regimes.
In this new world we are entering, communism and capitalism will both be utilized under single entities. China and its bulldog Hong Kong have already demonstrated clearly how devastatingly efficient this hybridization is. Even Marx admitted that communism could only be completed with the help of the capitalists. Luxury communism rests on the fruits of capitalism.
And so capitalism, in order to remain efficient, must adopt its nemesis in order to remain relevant in the world that it created. It’s Shakespearean. After all this time, a piece of that holy American trinity is ready to be dethroned: America, the metaphysical spirit of our rugged and often violent roots. It will be forgotten. The spirit, though filled with scandal and turmoil, was a precious one. It was rooted to the earth, albeit a bloodstained one. Without it we will be mere actors. Or more correctly, machines.

Dream Shepherd

Under night.
Night touches the dark tracks
of pine
rooting in the between-worlds,
there rouses spirits
once called tricksters
once called teachers.

Now they only frighten us,
so we tell stories
of how they might condemn us.

I hear the whip-or-will.
It sings from the first moment
of utter dark
to the first moment
of pregnant light.
My tracks are soundless
and take flight
in the dusky shadows
as doves
or peregrines,
birds that may take my
step to dream heights.

The night world and the world
of dream
are not separated,
but are like two silver paths
who meet in a center
at a crossroads.

Dreams
are made
from the breathing void
and they fly on the wings of bats
into our dozing heads.
There are shepherds, who in that world
guide their dream flock

to crossroads
that see no false light
that do not bare the stamp of man
we find the places of soul offering
portals we cannot cross.
My soul is a portal tonight
that all may cross.

A shepherd,
staff in hand,
points the way over sleep-green knolls
into vernal waters where
he knows nightmares are to be fished.
The flock posesses a unity
swims through the dark river
of nothing
their bevy dancing through ether
colored like flashing coins of deja-vu.

Everything lives under the moon now.

Tonight my soul is open.
I cannot hold a grudge
when power is glistening
in every blade of sedge grass
every trembling bulrush.
Tonight, on the waters
glowbugs haunt
and the ghosts gawk at the beauty,
taking small souls in jars.
Tonight my soul is open.
I do not fear the dark
but am wary at the sound
of footsteps approach

Deer Hunting

Are you on fire in whales skin?
Sparkling, are you spitting?
My love is gone from the skin I’m in
rattling round, making viscous din
the object of my wandering down
to the creek where it was that I first found
something to hold in my eyes and both
a stalk of corn, clouds to roast
despite the risk it entails I’ll propose
we commit ourselves to the task at hand
of handing over our baggage, we land
and I meet you there with open arms
you were there for me when may come harm
snakes don’t scare me, but paranoias deep
I look over shoulders, most nights I can’t sleep
and if I never read the horoscope
horsetail would still fall in hexagon scope
and the mystic would laugh and tell me a lie
and watch me with his wide third eye
so I’ll take you with me to fire a gun
into the flesh of an earthen prize
that causes the flesh to prickle, rise
and that is why I will not lie
most of the time
that is why I will not lie
most of the time