Desiccated

I write of only 3%
of the landscape
around me —
the green trees
colorful flowers
amazingly adaptive
dryland wildlife
and blind myself
to the rest of it —
but it’s time
to take a good look
and acknowledge
my selective seeing —
the 97% is dull
barren, stark, harsh, hot
out my bedroom window
there is a plain brown
block walled fence, my
neighbor’s white-metal
shed roof, off of which
glares the sun so brightly
it’s blinding, not a speck
of green in sight, except
one small weed emerging
from dusty gray rocks —
yes, there is a lizard
on the wall, doing push-ups
in the morning sun
and I watch him
with fascination
awed with nature
I forget the surrounding
urban desert ugliness —
until suddenly I wonder
where will he get
his next water?
surely from someone’s
yard watering system
but where do we  get
that precious water
for our thirsty homes?
and how much longer
will we be fortunate
enough to have it?
our city and county
allow so much over-
development, it feels
as if they are slowly
killing us, overcrowding
us, not caring about
our quality of life
nor the lizard’s —
but maybe, just maybe
we Phoenicians are
simply outright foolish
for trying to live here
in our air-conditioned
fortresses while the
city dries up around us

—Terri Guillemets

Hopeless?

creature after creature
loses its home
or goes extinct

earth herself
thanks to us
is on the brink

man-made
in the end doesn’t
mean what we think

man-made
means the same as
man destroyed —

WE  are the weak link.

—Terri Guillemets

Inflame them to madness

P. Des Maizeaux, 1734:

      “Whosoever contributes, especially with success, to enlarge the Understandings of Men, and to mend their Hearts, is entitled to the Friendship and Protection of the Governors of Men, I mean of such as would truly answer the noble end of Government; who, if they pursue their duty, and consult the honour and improvement of human nature, will chearfully and generously promote whatever has that good tendency. And they who practice different Politics, by cramping the human Soul, possessing it with false awe, and debasing it through Darkness and Ignorance, do not deserve, but rather disgrace and forfeit, the glorious and endearing title of Magistrates and Protectors.

      “True and extensive Knowledge never was, never can be, hurtful to the Peace of Society. It is Ignorance, or, which is worse than ignorance, false Knowledge, that is chiefly terrible to States. They are the furious, the ill taught, the blind and misguided, that are prone to be seized with groundless Fears, and unprovoked Resentment, to be roused by Incendiaries, and to rush desperately into Sedition and acts of Rage.

      “Subjects that are most knowing and best informed, are ever most peaceable and loyal. Whereas the Loyalty and obedience of such, whose understandings extend not beyond Names and Sounds, will be always precarious, and can never be thoroughly relied upon, whilst any turbulent or artful men can, by dinn and clamour, and the continual application of those Sounds, intoxicate, and inflame them even to madness, can make them believe themselves undone though nothing hurts them, think they are oppressed when they are best protected, and can drive them into riots and rebellion, without the excuse of one real grievance. It will always be easy to raise a mist before eyes that are already dark: and it is a true observation, ‘that it is an easy work to govern Wise Men; but to govern Fools or Madmen, is a continual slavery.’

      “It is from the blind zeal and stupidity cleaving to Superstition, ’tis from the Ignorance, Rashness, and Rage attending Faction, that so many, so mad, and so sanguinary evils have afflicted and destroyed Men, dissolved the best Governments, and thinned the greatest Nations. And as a people well instructed will certainly esteem the Blessings which they enjoy, and study public Peace, for their own sake, there is a great merit in instructing the people, and in cultivating their Understandings. They are certainly less credulous in proportion as they are more knowing, and consequently less liable to be the Dupes of Demagogues, and the property of Ambition. They are not then to be surprized with false cries, nor animated by imaginary Danger; and wherever the Understanding is well principled and informed, the Passions will be tame, and the Heart well disposed.

      “They therefore who communicate true Knowledge to their species, are true Friends to the World, Benefactors to Society, and deserve all encouragement from those, who preside over Society, with the applause and good wishes of all men.”

—Pierre Des Maizeaux (1673–1745), Dedication, The Dictionary Historical and Critical of Mr Peter Bayle, Second English Edition, Volume the First, MDCCXXXIV

Talons

Owls are hunters
Humans are mechanical separators —
separating by metal machines
      meat from bones
      life from death
      fat from essence —
but in Nature, where Man used to come from
a long time ago — remember it? —
none of those things is separable.
      BRAIN  from  SENSE

—Terri Guillemets