So, here I am, with a huge backlog of things to post--science news and lab reports, fractal art, tips for green living--you know, the usual stuff. And, so, with all that ready to go, what do I do when I get my computer functioning? I write something else. I guess that’s not too unusual. Poetic inspiration comes when it does--the wise writer shouldn’t argue with it. Yet, it wasn’t the fluidity and ease of writing that surprised me--it was the topic.
"I don’t write stories about the war," I said on Monday. Five days later, I’m going over the third draft of a story about war. It’s a subject I usually don’t like to talk about. (But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening.) "It isn’t my issue," I answer when the war is brought up during those all-too-frequent political debates. "Sure, war is bad, but I’m not qualified to give advice. I choose my candidates based on their science policy, not their foreign policy." So I said.
Writing about the war made me realize something. It isn’t an isolated issue. None of these are. War is connected to resources, which are connected to our ecosystems and urban infrastructures, to our pollution and transportation systems, jobs and homes, to the choices we make or are allowed to make, to our right to choose our words and actions, to our liberties and our futures. Of course, that’s just skimming the surface. (I like the occasional superficial generalization of complexity--can you blame me? For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost, or so they say.)
So, the following poem is about that realization; it is my confession of attempted ignorance.
The war is outside, scratching to be let in
Hear it howling all day and night with
Hooks and claws and glowing eyes?
No, please, don’t open the door
I have enough issues already
(I keep them here like pets.)
See, here; this one is green
Watch me change its litter
It needs to have fresh water
At all times; see how it likes
To sleep under the hot sun?
We can’t get it to budge.
Now look; this one is a little queer
You seem surprised that I keep it around
Isn’t that vibrant rainbow plumage
A little over the top? But you know me
I like the drama and siren songs
Feathers; a boa, constricting.
And this one goes out to hunt
But always comes back in
Sometimes taking advantage
Of this liberty, her privilege
Delivers a fresh kill on my step
This morsel she expects me to eat.
There are too many animals in this house
Already; I can’t clean up after them all
And that one isn’t mine; I never fed it
But there it is, tearing up the yard
Digging holes in the landscape
Uprooting our trees and flower beds.
It is easy to forget these cages
Our boundaries just imagined
They’ll keep dragging in the dirt
And pulling out the yarn; shedding
The air everywhere is thick with it
But whose fur is whose?
I’ll post the story about the war as well--but beware, I’m going to "serialize" it. It isn’t that long, but it lends well to being broken into parts. If you’re the type who hates being cut to a commercial after a good cliffhanger, you might want to wait until all five parts are up. (I haven’t decided if I should post them all in a row, or scatter them between my overdue science posts.)
While on the subject of poetry and prose... I’m getting to the point where I have enough decent poetry and short stories to publish a book or two. If anyone out there knows of any good publishers or agents who are seeking fresh talent, please let me know!
"War is connected to resources, which are connected to our ecosystems and urban infrastructures, to our pollution and transportation systems, jobs and homes, to the choices we make or are allowed to make"
This seems to be very much so.
The power of denial in human beings can be REAL strong.