Group Mind

I have been tuning in to the movement

of the beings around me and this city

has demolished nature to build

highrises surrounded by drainage

ditches and run-off ponds, where geese

hatch their eggs and waddle along

the heated tarmacadam. There are loops

and circles of interstate highways

that devastated neighborhoods and the sounds

of 18 wheelers and motorcycles

ambulances and cars jar

at all hours of the day. From the air

it all looks green. The descendants of the forests

have tried to stay present, stretching their branches

to form tree canopies over the endless roads

unless they are stunted and twisted

by the linemen protecting the electrical wires.

Even where I live, by a pond created

when they dug for the highway

and liberated a freshwater spring,

the noise never fades to the background,

an unsettling percussion punctuated

by honks or sirens, squeals and clatters.

We do what we can, the mother

and her fawn cautious on the drive,

the great blue heron patient to a certain

point, then scolding and chasing

away his brother. One bird at a time.

The corvids caw the alert, hummingbirds

squabble over the feeder, and the goldfinches

warn and dive to protect their thistle

from each other.  I lock the doors when I leave.

We have all been kicked out of the garden,

and we grab what we can, anxious

as the constant chaos of traffic

reminds us to take

care, beware, dividing

our hearts from the true experience

of loving unity that we simply

cannot see or feel

with all of this racket

going on.  But let me tell you, father,

today my tender heart is full of you.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: City

Gym Rat

Daily, I build muscle

grab the matchless word

and wrestle it into submission,

quivering in a seething

line.  Yes, I gotta develop pure

strength and power,

the kind of moxie that ignites

with burning intention.

Perfecting a chokehold to make them listen 

to a word-song —

clearly inferior to the tree chorus

whispers of the engrossed elders.  Still,

in all of this chaos, we need

ammunition to plunge

straight to our hearts. Mad skills

and inchoate plans swirling

like fog around my fingers

every morning, as I listen for

that tiny trill

singing a single note

now joined in harmony like

a violin and a piccolo

high in the air.

The nature song dying

and we are locked in

unheeding screens

and unless

one of us can signal

with a song, an image,

a poem that will reach

inside the screen and plead,

how do we save our beloved planet?

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: inchoate

The Art of Integration

For two years, they returned

to the bluebird house,

several times a season

to lay eggs and raise their young.

The male’s iridescence in the sun,

a deep blue sapphire blessing

with his mate, swooping over the water

in aerobatic dances with their dinner —

the insects that thrive here as well.

Such a noisy lake at times,

tree swallow chirps and gurgles amid

the eerie meow of the catbird,

the redshouldered hawk’s kreeya

and at dusk, the pure cacophony

of the ranids, the creaks and croaks

of toads and the tuba call

of the bullfrog.  And though

I try to heed the warning caw of crows,

I was deaf to danger,

only noticing they no longer came

to the nesting box, now inhabited

by sparrows.  The smell alerted me,

for the new birds had killed

the defenseless native mother bird

and built their nest atop her

decaying body.  Such savage cruelty

in my own backyard! Even though

it echoed the behavior of my ancestors

building a civilization

with the same complete disregard

for native life. I haven’t mentioned

the blares and sirens

from the nearby highway — it’s not poetic.

Rather than face

my own barbarity, I defend

these swallows, determined to trap

the invaders.  I cannot see a way

to integrate these two forces,

and here lies the root of

my society’s ills:  we fight and resist.

We clearly see the bad

in the other.  How can we

find a way to synthesize,

while the gene pool declines

and the hidden costs grow?

What tool will shine the light on the pain

we’ve never acknowledged,

the beauty destroyed in the act of creation?

When will I learn that only when I am most

triggered, appalled, enraged

am I close to the key — the aching

wound that I must admit

the true cacophony deep inside.

I can offer here

the words: I am sorry.

I am part of the resolution.

I am your most

valuable resource, the one you most fear.

Don’t turn away. Take me in.

In the heart of the destruction and chaos,

this is where we find ourselves.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: swallow