light flashing off the river through closed eyes

IMG_6472

 

along the mississippi in minneapolis what i see is

bald eagles, gold eagles, buteos, falcons and crows

along the mississippi in minneapolis

mallards, wood ducks, woodpeckers, geese, sand pipers, blue herons

the song birds chorusing

over I-94 freeway’s hum

along the mississippi in minneapolis turtles, bass, carp and beavers

squirrels searching, dragon flies patrolling

along the mississippi in minneapolis in the summer

laughing, wading, and fishing

jogging, walking, biking, rolling

moving and breathing and flowing

canoes, kayakers, u of m row team rowing

motor boats towing

along the mississippi in minneapolis morning air pressing cold and heavy

against warm river surface rippling and getting misty

along the mississippi in minneapolis watching the sun rise

a hazy wildfire smoke in my lungs

watching the sun set

a melting orange hot sherbet sun

as sierra and cascade forests burn, as refrigerators and a.c.’s run

along the mississippi in minneapolis wind coming, better head in

shelf clouds, lightning, bow echoes, fog and pouring rain

frigid northern winds blowing snow across the ice

that spring cracks open again

along the mississippi in minneapolis in the winter

boot and paw prints frozen into shoreline

cross country ski marks up an incline

along the mississippi in minneapolis what i see is

autumn and i’m caught waiting for something profound

but the leaves keep falling down down down

green yellow gold red brown

along the mississippi in minneapolis plastic trash, plastic, trash

bits, pieces, chunks, shards, strands

beer cans and bottles and ripped hoodies covered in sand

along the mississippi in minneapolis beach encampments abandoned

made of blankets and sleeping bags hanging from branches

the person long gone but a human presence remaining

homeless on this beach, human what did you see

i hope you see what i see, the beauty

fire blankets for the general sherman

 

dome of life

please yes restore us

get us breathing with you

or there’s nothing for us

how we humans toil and roil, burn and boil

while giant sequoia trees just trying to breathe

gigantic thousand year old beings

and the earth just spinning, spinning, spinning

 

we can’t bear this dome of life

with a foundation of low wage misery

we won’t bear this dome of life

with self-as-center posts and beams

we’ll never bear this dome of life

when human suffering’s heavier than gravity

 

as every day the earth keeps spinning like

humans, get the job done

if you can’t there’s gonna be a problem

 

it’s just that we figured it out

we already know

how this atmospheric shelter above us glows and grows

solar, hydrous, terranean, gaseous

lattice of the living, bio-crystalline

pushing back, protecting us

from frigid interstellar darkness

what’s the use saying fuck this, we out

searching for a planet b that hasn’t been found

on a spaceship that hasn’t been built

like an excuse for the earth we killed

no use pretending ignorance about why the blue sky’s blue

as if we’re all dumb beasts slobbering helpless at the feast

blaming mother nature for our dis-ease

 

as every hour the earth keeps spinning like

humans, what’s the problem?

nature’s gonna find someone else if you can’t get the job done

 

every moment every living being

bears the weight and creates the dome of life

we humanity can be the dominant apex species

the boss, the manager, an architect, a protector

the farmer, the shepherd

or humanity can be just another life form laid to rest

we came, we went, it was sorta fun, the end

but humanity cannot be both a savior and a failure

trying to save ourselves by failing everything else

like a parasite asking it’s host “hey you ok with dying?”

 

“i am the most powerful, intelligent species, made in the image of god

i have providence and dominion over all the earth has to offer

all the flora, all the fauna

i will plow and dig and cut and burn and stake and take what is mine at will and…

oh oh, but wait, wait, i’m supposed to handle

decisions, responsibilities and management like the top species granted dominion?

no no, remember, i’m just a dumb animal, a poor helpless beast

can’t think, nothing but instinct, not my job, don’t ask me, i lost the keys”

 

i own a car, my freakin’ lights work

every day this writer lives with, works with, uses, employs hydrocarbons

i’m human, most definitely not perfect

but is the future really to be found in regression and aversion

living perfectly in a cave with nothing

like some holier-than-thou judgement

demanding others change their lives

before they’ve even changed their minds

or opening views that are frozen and closed in

raging with blame, or engaging them to change

hey, you’re the captain, are you ok with sinking?

 

as every minute the earth keeps spinning like

humans, just get the job done

nature’s hiring someone else if you’re gonna be the problem

 

we will build, push up, sustain this dome of life

with buttresses of shared reality

all compressions, all tensions, all the weight

all the problems, all the solutions

born by a living structure of different beings

different beings inches away from you

thousands of miles away from me

connecting sustaining growing giving taking thriving

we will build, push up, sustain this dome of life

with questions big enough

with math big enough

frickin’ screens big enough

calculations, engineering, technology, data sets, models

answers

big enough

for all the life of life on earth

we will build, push up, sustain this dome of life

with rhythms of breathing

one breathes out what

another breathes in

 

as every second the earth keeps spinning, spinning, spinning

and we work out who’s to blame

or we work together and get the job done

 

for the park rangers of sequoia and kings canyon national parks

for what william shatner had to say

before being interrupted by champagne

about the view of earth from above

laughing water

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this drought year you’re a torrent over the falls

or you’re nothing at all

so dependent on the rain fall

but it doesn’t matter

 

i’ve noticed how many are happy when they’re here

dogs and kids scampering

couples conked out on your lawns napping

i like to hit your beer garden

sit on the steps and be with it

then i take a walk

i step down all the steps

to your creek and walk along in the lush green

still lush even though the creek is drying up again

all the accents from all over america

and languages from all over the world

i hear being spoken as i’m walking

 

one day you’re dry

not rapid water, not minnehaha

just a limestone cliff

and creek just slow

ever shrinking puddles

full of crawdads and minnows

trying to make it through

 

a few more days then thunderstorms

followed by soaking rains

and look how you change

roaring now

cooled from the falls

once more all the way down to the Mississippi

on a hot fall day

a blue heron stalks silently through your flows

ducks dutifully straining

their beaks snipping and snapping

right where you disappear

into the big river

where people bring something to sit on

and start fishing

once more kids playing in your currents

like it doesn’t matter

like nothing

no language is in their way

if you caught in the act out

water flows as earth stays

as thoughts flow, as thoughts remain

some snagged and held

grasped in pain in shame in blame

trapped swirling

thought lungs, be at peace now

meditation is how

opening and noticing

no fearing no judging

the thoughts that go

the thoughts that stay

and if they remain

spinning, clutching and turbulent

like a thought about something 20 years ago

drawn up from the well every day

opening and noticing

that each breath taken is the present

here and now breathing

and with each breath

seeing and feeling and healing

the anger the blame the shame

the ego the selfishness the pain

the suffering that makes one moment

come back and never go away

opening and noticing

seeing why it stays

opening and noticing

a choice a strength a freedom

to let it go, to let life flow

no longer caught in the act out

the bad decisions of the trip out

another breath another thought

another chance another life

water flows as earth stays

as thoughts go, as thoughts remain

trucker hat on the dash

onward august evening

riding my bike through these hot streets tonight

head light’s out but my rear light’s fine

nowhere to go, no one texting this phone

i’m most definitely not

some show you would know

what i like most are the smells in my nose

starting and stopping, going and mixing

next to the next, onward keep breathing

the cooking foods, the cleaning laundries

smell of river, of lakes, the sewers

freeway diesel smoke, lawn mower two strokes

railroad ties glistening

locomotive, rumbling distant

front lawns, back yards, the barbecuing

music, lawn chairs, laughing

down along river, up over bridges

beginning then ending, stronger then fading

breathing deeply, breathing peaceful

finally feeling them as i roll south and homeward

the cool breezes blowing

my windows open

how many click throughs to get past who

try to make this life about trees, about earth

all these stars, god above

about everything, everything

all the things

except me

 

but who’s name in the box

when it comes time to get paid

who puts their empty stomach on the line

when it comes time to fill plates

 

try to make this life about you

about them, about us

about everybody, everyone

all us humans

except this one

 

but someone’s name on the line

when the check gets signed

someone’s life on the line

when it comes time to survive

 

crazy how it looks like there’s a self to see

in this reputation, in this image on a screen

but that reflection’s something bigger

than a frame of you or me

human no worries, there’s no self to help

if i’m helping something bigger than just this self

when i’m lifting me by lifting somebody else

in this low wage weather system

like leaves curling and branches drooping, petals burnt brown and falling

these low wage years, in this low wage weather system, can you feel that low wage pressure rhythm, of this low wage stressful living, how this low wage life keeps taking, a drought of our own making

where it’s always burning hot cuz it’s always bitter cold

it’s always dry and unhealthy, patience testing and temper sparking

pissing tiny drops when we need a downpour, pissing little coins when we need a payday

this virga not sustaining, this pressure pushing down not relenting

like clouds that can’t build up in the sky and rain down for a healthy living

we can’t build ourselves and live up to the american dream

we just run ourselves down like dust into the ground

working multiple jobs, blink and decades are gone

how there’s no time to be with kids to guide them as they’re growing

there’s no time to be healthy or see the doctor when sickness starts coughing

no time to take classes or pursue interests, enjoy a hobby or see the bigger picture

no time to vote for change to find a way out of this maze

when all we’ve got is a few hours between 2 paychecks

this low wage pressure system, this parched living that the rich and their politicians insist on 

asking why aren’t employees healthy, why aren’t employees educated, why can’t i find skilled employees, why can’t employees afford childcare, why do employees have to rely on the government for everything

as they nervously make excuses that america’s workers are just lazy

their faces on all our screens talking about principles of self determination and responsibility

but what are those principles worth if the lowest paid employees can’t afford to live them

and instead of sacrificing 5 or 10 or 20 percent of their $40,000,000 salaries to increase the pay of employees making $13 hour

instead of sacrificing a 40% profit margin

instead of sacrificing shareholder dividends

instead of sacrificing anything, anything at all

to make their political principles a reality in the lives of their employees

they raise wages one day and en masse raise prices the next

locking those mental chains of unwritten rules around their own hands

with a shrug saying, “some things can’t be changed, we’ll blame externals for the inflation”

and when the time comes to need the best and demand the most of their employees

their decades of disinvestment in the education of their employees

in the very community their own workforce is hired from

it comes calling doesn’t it

but they keep on saying the same lines, that hot air coming out their mouths dry and dusty

like good money after bad, it’s just oblivion in high definition

these low wage years, in this low wage weather system, can you feel that low wage pressure rhythm, of this low wage stressful living, how this low wage life keeps taking, a drought of our own making

but if we keep fighting and resisting and pushing pushing pushing

never accepting unacceptable excuses as worth our dignity

it will start raining, absolutely raining over a fertile and free america

and damn if we don’t start growing

moment vector

your structures bright in the sun

like bones laid out in the sun

lies plain in the sun

dude, you can’t outrun

it’s all under the sun

 

what is holding you

all hanging out, half way into space

you’re way leveraged bro, cantilevered out into nothing

on credit on margins on debt

on violence on death, on jealousy on stress

promises made but were they kept

on shimmering virga for lives parched and beaten down

by thought droughts and wasted fates

hey sorry, only one digital frame per face

as if it’s impossible to see

the bridges standing for decades and centuries

arching all of humanity’s needs

over our churning rivers of doubt and greed

 

moment vector, what is supporting you

show us the engineering drawings dude

and that column you’re hanging from, you’re clinging to

what is it made with, formed from, built of

the maximum values pushing down on the end of that line you drew

that weight, that history, that story, that fate

that point load you said was static and maintained

moment vector, it’s already gone, already changed

thought lung #9 – summer forest path