Unmistakably Living

I am hypnotized by blue skies. I am cold beer at noon. I am fire, and in the other hand, I am ice. Somehow, I am holding the two together. And neither is reduced by the presence of the other one. I am scared by my own happiness. To possess a thing so precious. As a smile. I am afraid of what it speaks. To others. Who will believe contentment makes me weak. Drunk. Perceptible. And I am. But I don’t want them to know I am.

Flowers that bloomed and wilted in fields never witnessed by the feet of men or women.
I am the best water you have ever tasted. Pouring from a permanent spring in the mountains. Every drop. Wasted.

Sometimes when I eat good food, I taste my neighbor’s hunger soon after. Call it guilt. In my gut. There are some essentials I don’t want, unless my neighbor has them also. But if my neighbor wants what is mine in spite of my need. I will be war. I am the answer to that ancient prayer, something something or other about how we treat one another. It is not axiom.
It is not advice. It is basic, universal, physical and primeval law.

This entire experience we call life has one clear singular inarguable purpose. Balance.
It doesn’t make sense if it was meant to be all good and this is what it is. And sitting where I am right now, though I know it will change somehow, I can not tolerate the thought it is all bad. Even if it’s just me. This child. That dog. Sitting in this little well insulated box on the edge of a great glacial lake. Enjoying the long awaited sun. This scene means the universe can’t be all bad. Or all wrong.

I farm the fabric of the existence. I am the great great great grandchild of two polar opposites. Inexorably attracted. We are all what happened when they finally banged together. We’re the universe’s passion child. We don’t make sense. Because we’re screaming at the top of our lungs love babies. Illegitimate children. And yet, here we are, unmistakably living.

I know I am.

Out of the Box

Use caution putting things away, because that is where they stay. For as long as you don’t mind not seeing them. All sorts of things. Spices printed with dates like two thousand and fourteen. Half written journals and perfectly full ink pens and highlighters gone dry left so long in the dark. Dust in caked layers and rust inundating needle nose pliers and hair off so many animals. Life is not a house. Life is not a closet. We built these places, and tuck ourselves in. Tidied up. Straightened out. Organized lives from so many broken pieces of mine. Like puzzles. And you take a puzzle out of the box to put it together. The picture doesn’t fit inside its own container. Though it is much more secure in there.

Steel drains and matted hair. The windows where we sat and stared. The doorways we broke through to get somewhere. Be careful. Confusing life with the packages we put it in. Use caution. Putting anything out of sight, and subsequently, mind. Because it will become something in isolation that it was not before. Love makes a great meal. But it doesn’t store. At least not well. Not in the boxes where we dwell. Where we hide. And like scared children, keep ourselves hidden. Calling it a living room when it is more of a tomb until doors are broken open and windows crack and wind blows curtains back and light sweeps carpet and life steps over thresholds carrying smell and pollen and sound like a smiling bride braced in bent arms.

Get life all cleaned up, and out, and put away, and straightened, and immaculate, and categorized and sanitized and ornately adorned and closed windows and locked doors. So that at our own discretion, we can choose it. Have it eternally, as long as we don’t mess up and use it. Risked. And there is no insurance to safeguard against this. But I can tell you, antiquity, is where things go to die. Be careful putting away anything you love. Because it will stay put up. While you, and so many years, pass by.

Inalienable #projectlocal

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I want to take a moment to break this statement down. There are a lot of words here, but in reality, there is only one. An all encompassing four letter word that, should we fail to pause on it, even for a second, we might overlook the never ending, climactic struggle of ongoing cause and effect it entails. This word life. And to iterate a point, how many ended so that you could arrive at this point? How many lives complete with beating hearts and restless lungs and electric minds, stopped, so that this day could start?

I take it this is an agreed on statement, since I’ve been taught this in school since I was a child. That it is an inalienable right, for all of us, endowed by our cosmic creator, to have life.

It can be confusing. We’ve only had around a billion years roaming this little world to figure it out, but what exactly is life? Not talking about purpose, or pursuits, or the spiritual ramifications of eternal conquests for insight or understanding. I mean, what does it take to sustainably exist in a state one can call life? You see, this one is a simple equation. I can’t be the only person in the room who knows there’s no life in a vacuum. And that incredibly complex and deep running planetary roots are required to sustain all of us just to sit in a chair and breath regular. Just to exist. You’ve eaten. You’ve had a good bit to drink. And you’ve had reprieve from the elements. Food. Water. Shelter. A nice neat simple little equation to help make reality of this little soundbite, life.

If we have a right to life, that is different than a right to existence, right? Existence can be a blip. A single second. A momentary instant where some flash flood of consciousness thinks ‘I am’ just before it is gone. But life is more of a fire. A spark we share together with single cells from a billion years ago on the shore of a prehistoric ocean. Then all the fuel and tinder and kindling we’ve fed into it over the many millennia. A lot of work and effort went into life. And there are sources for resources we as a species can not generate all on our lonesome.

We don’t protect endangered species by putting them in armor. We do so by protecting their endangered habitats. Because there is no life outside of constant access to food, water, shelter.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Debt and over taxation without adequate respect or representation are forms of oppression. They have a long history of being used to maintain people in varying states of not fully free. Human beings can not survive in a vacuum. If you’ve guaranteed a human its freedom, you’ve guaranteed it free access to some food they can consume without fully depleting it, clean water from a consistent source and shelter from weather, from seasons, from the prying eyes of others. Without this option, this reality, what we have can not be called freedom. And if these assets are not available by natural, agricultural and rural-industrial means, and can only be obtained monetarily, then an appropriate amount of value must be provided, untaxed, at the very least annually, for the procurement of adequate food, water and shelter sources.

Choices.

The only doorway that leads to freedom. And unfortunately, when it comes to basic needs, none of us has any choice in the matter. Any governmental, or economic barrier that must be passed through in order to get to that simple, basic, fundamental place, is a restriction on, and therefore a denial of, our intrinsic right to freedom. We have to be alive to be free. We have to eat, drink, and have a safe place to sleep, to be alive. Therefore, having free access to those resources is the physical equivalent of having freedom. And what you do with it from that point on is living.

Fast cars, big houses, fancy dinners. This is why we formed economies. But capitalism has no intention of feeding our children past profitability. Capitalism knows that food, water and shelter are the invisible monopolies. And that if it can convince creatures these basic rights are commodities, they have found the perfect product. One consumers can’t boycott.

I’ve used a lot of words here, as usual, only trying to say one thing. Farmers don’t waste time trying to orchestrate the social lives of chickens. We would have better functioning government if they gave up trying to government, and simply tried to farm us. Because a farmer does three things for an animal. Provides food in varying sources, water clean and constant, and shelter from weather, danger and one another. Apart from that, freedom means nothing. Stubbornly doing absolutely nothing else for this little creature except watching it learn and grow throughout the ever-changing trials of life.

Local infrastructure: designed around food production and foot traffic based economic activity and education and healthcare.

Community justice: a tremendous burden placed on proof, and judgement by those who knew your name before they knew your crime.

Federal networking: communication town to town, region to region, state to state, and state to nation. Connecting the dots between surplus and shortage, recognizing the otherwise unseen congruencies between agriculture regions and climates. Trade regulations, foreign affairs, diplomacy, military and medical and disaster relief organizations.

We built a nation from the top down, and because of it, some country could take the head off America and the rest of it would just collapse. Local farmers go out of business while we feed families food from other continents, because it’s actually cheaper. We have flea markets, and garden like it was a pastime or hobby. Not like how when there is a disaster, it will be our sole source of life. Local will always be better. Always. Because there is an actual cost available. The story behind where a product came from and how it came to be. It is usually an incredible story. But it is always, however, local.

I propose we promote each agricultural region of no more than twenty square miles or so, to look at their area as an ark. As in, if they had to, just how much could they produce without going too far from home. At first, a simple, beneficial exercise, but ultimately, a ranking system where areas compete to produce upwards of forty, to sixty, or even eighty percent of their entire food, medical and water needs. So that when each local principality reaches out to their larger regions, even to their states, for help, it is only to supplement, or trade for the diversity we’ve grown accustomed to accessing. And in doing so, each region and state would go to our federal system needing that much less. An easy endeavor to incentivize, and even promote a little capitalistic competition between regions and towns to out-sustain their neighbors.

As opposed to what we have now, which is leadership most likely praying disaster for the sake of publicity and increased budget spending. Police departments receiving new gadgets and pay raises after each destructive riot. A certain level of homelessness and unemployment to keep the ship rocking. All hands on deck.

For as long as people look to governments to fulfill basic, daily needs, there will be government jobs in an endless stream. The motivation just isn’t there. The perfect worker works to make his or herself obsolete. So what we have here is an entire system built on a conflict of interest. And a government invented by unimaginative, vengeful men who didn’t want to dissolve the crown, but split it up into eight hundred pieces and secure never-ending employment for their little nephews and nieces until kingdom calls us all home. And it has. Right here and now.

We can not be free without the choice to be. To human. Before we American, before we are students or residents, before you are anything but you. This right is God granted. It does not need to be government approved.

By Way of Means

When I write the word life, how much was written for me.
Gripping a bird feeder beyond clear barriers.
Moan yodeling in the corner forming soon-to-be hairballs.
Bare skull bearing antlers on a woodpile outside.
Deer turning up white in search of dirty green.
When I write the word life, I say the word why.
Then wiggle my hand until a pen gives me my answer.

Eat breakfast through my eyes and give time like spent breath.
Like carefree charity. Trash to me. Treasure to the tree.
New York timber living gnarled and surrounded
by their crumbling attempts at winter.
Which up here means more.
Apologies. Useless light switches.
Four families fourth floor apartment.
Generators hooked up to water heaters.
People choking in their homes for a hot shower.
Much by way of means.
Just no power.

Like family

When heat tumbles through skin and knit cloth,
like stifling, sun-warmed mists rising up to the occasion of a morning,
I feel so like the earth.

When jungles of oil-darkened hair frame a face,
crowd sky blue, dusty vision, tickled behind ridge dotted ears,
spreading rashes down a sun-red neck, when feet hurt,
when towering spine stiffens,
heat gets up to blood bathing the brain
and causes a nerveless organ to undergo the experience of feeling pain,
I am truly the naked mammal child of my planet.

And in these many moments,
the languages of elemental parents and grandparents,
great aunt the sun and granddaddy moon,
wind and water table cousins,
close kin and friends who pass over like rain,
stirring and kicking in the swollen bellies of clouds,
are familiar to me.

I hear their words clear, but understand only faintly.
I believe the world is telling me that I have lived here
like a stranger long enough. Now, we,
the earth and me, will be like family.

At least for now.

Sluggish black snake crinkled over life and death all mulched together.
Army ants sort eggshells in search of crumbled chunks of gold.
Water with a hint of rust red orange iron. And a breeze,
which signifies the passing of blue metal skies,
and coming rain. Consciousness is wasted on people.
The sun can not, not for lack of trying, break through the trees,
caught tangled in wide paw-like poplar leaves
and ones on oak limbs that look like turkey feet,
with shifty raptor eyes. That sun has even left
a shady place for the moon to shine through,
intrude toe-stepping the fluctuating light of day.
Not putting up much of a fight. This spring star
is different from the one that comes out for summer.
Content to warmly tickle the mounded backs of rain clouds,
keep the ground too much mud to hope to plant a plow.
At least for now.