Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Late Year Reflections

As we approach year’s end, I glean a tinge of contentment. Editors, perhaps in the spirit, treated me well this month. I had ten new poems accepted, plus a request for a reprint of four poems, for a total of fourteen.

This is indeed wonderful, a gift of depth that involves no money but much passion and time. Editors are hard-working folks, and though almost every day I write a new poem and edit many, I lack the diligence and modesty of those wade through the manuscripts of others. In general, poets should be much more respectful and grateful to editors, and I am no exception.

Although I have done well, a part of me chafes. There are many voices in my psyche but this one will never be satisfied. Indeed, pure satisfaction on all levels is not an option for the sensitive soul.

To illustrate, I want to share a bio I read today in the Chaffey Review (v.3). I just received my contributor copy in the mail. Usually the bios in journals are rather placid, but I have to hand it to the CR team. They picked out some subversively thought-provoking poets.

Anyway, here is the bio that impressed me. It belongs to William Doreski. I hope he doesn’t mind that I reprint it here:

“William Doreski befriends all cats and most dogs ... and rails against development, environmental degradation, and general idiocy from his bully pulpit at Keene State College. He teaches writing and literature, but doesn’t expect it to take in a post-literate world.”

This isn’t your typical pleasantry, and I have to admit the author and I share a common perspective. Let’s face it, within a couple hundred years the wilderness, even as defined from our degraded perspective, will be gone.

The latest National Geographic has an article on the Hadza people of Africa, some of the very last hunter-gatherers. Their culture is wilting fast. Hunter-gatherers have been around for at least two hundred thousand years, probably much longer, given recent evidence that Homo Erectus used fire and partitioned living space into a hearth and a slaughter area. Human species previous to ours used stone tools and made fires to cook. A way of life that endured for almost a million years.

Are you yawning yet? Shame on you. I find it amazing that no one really seems to care that hunter-gatherers are going to entirely disappear in our generation. This is incredible!

On top of that: Lions are going. Baboons are going. Giraffes are going. Rhinos are going. The rainforests are going. The world is becoming a human hive wired up to the Net.

Ho Hum. Pass me the latest video game.

My god, are we such a dull lot of spoiled dominant hominids? It’s repulsive. Somewhere in this universe of 11 billion galaxies dwells an advanced civilization, millions of years along, that puts our ignorance in perspective, exposes us for what we are: ethical clowns.

So, my hat goes off to William Doreski. I’ve read thousands of bios and only the meagerest few show any awareness of how rapidly and astoundingly this planet is changing.

Folks, WAKE UP! What a bizarre, cataclysmic, sad and exciting time this is. You can’t be bored. Not here, not now. You just can’t!


PS: Here’s my poem from The Chaffey Review. A tourist pitch for Los Angeles?

L.A. Impressions

highway sounds,
jejune as the hiss of waves.
the smog brutal.
abusive of its partner, dust.
the sun and moon
cute in eyeliner,

some kind of goth
leather-tar pain-fed life,
corset whose laces are wounded streets.
sex primped to sell.
money attracted
to the most competent seller,
the seller and the money
taking each other’s drug,
the divorce rate rich,
the homeless amassed
like scabs on the city’s
emotional wounds.

the beast hoarding its own purpose,
a beyond-human sin.
cars just blood cells,
legs follicles,
a child’s sob a cut.
only the beast can rise
with its muscles of spires,
hundreds of stories
of lower and lower lusts,
ribs of cement, femurs of steel,
the growling pug snouts
of arenas.


  1. LA as some kind of goth - excellent!

    William Doreski's bio is an inspiration, thanks. I agree as you know with your comments about the state of the world. I hate to think of all the beauty we are pushing off the planet....

  2. Selfish fool that I am, I used to think I walked alone. I am so glad that you share my view, and express yourself so well. What if everyone found some way, however small, to directly relay their concern over the swooping changes on Gaea ... Is it wrong to be moved enough to speak? I'm sure the status quo will survive our lack of conformity.