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Rootsie
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« on: January 12, 2005, 12:38:35 PM »

So-the hand given over to slaughter
Can also bestow,
Depending on the weather… but no,
That is not accurate- depending on violent
Tectonic shifts
The difference betwixt
Natural and unnatural disasters.

I think of Shakespeare,
Lear with his unnatural daughters
Macbeth with his unnatural wife…
What is human nature?
When we rain down 500-lb bombs
Are we capitulating to our brutal evolutionary past?
The sociobiologists say so
But I think no- culture is access
to our best.
It is not so much a matter of overcoming our nature
As it is to embrace what makes us human.
Can’t we leave the slaughter to ungovernable nature
And because we can govern ourselves,
Strive to do better?  
I am not a tree to compete with my seedlings
For available air.  I feel no need
To devour my children, though admittedly
It seems some of us do.

What King Lear realized
When he was suddenly exposed
Is that we are not gods to withhold and bestow
That both ring equally monstrous and hollow
In the dark well of an unexamined self
That to wrest one’s humanity from ferocious winds
And pelting rain and twisting trees
It is necessary to cultivate empathy
And repudiate mastery.
Mastery is ultimately illusory.
Before the great wave
Beneath the 500-pound bomb
All are the same.
If our ancestors had not known this
Would I be writing this?
For what is language
But the evidence of our need to draw depths
from one another, to work together
for better?

Anthropologists of repute declare
That culture sprang from nothing more
Than one man trading his sister for another’s,
Male domination and capitalist exchange
The deepest facts about us.
Humans as currency.  Male confederacy.
The rest of history framed as the endless struggle
Against black barbarity and female obstinacy.
Survival of the fittest you know,
Humans delineated into high and low,
Extermination a virtue,  a mercy,
a quicker end for the already-doomed,
Marked for extinction by their inferiority.

The ‘Africa’ which Blair and Bono resolve
To ‘save’ is the same ‘Africa’ the imperialists enslaved
And continue to do
In slightly more subtle ways
To this day.  An undifferentiated mass
A heart of darkness ‘needing’ any number of things
According to vagaries of age or fashion:
Interpretation, translation,  domination, pacification, invasion, decimation, education, salvation, generalization,
with only the voice we give them,
the blurred backdrop to our great stage,
the rhetoric identical from age to age.  
And so I say, to kill these, to save those,
It’s all the same. The pretense so outrageous,
The lack of irony contagious
Where’s the needed conversation?
Lend ‘aid’ and scoff at reparations?
The saviors of natural disasters
Perpetrating endless unnatural ones?
Come on.

The media asks fatuously
Will this disaster of quake and wave
Usher in a new age?
Will our better angels flutter in?
I read of the little blond boy
In his beloved blue waterwings
Flying from his father’s arms
Out to sea.  And so too these dreams.
Option Salvador thuds onto shore
An unabashed dirty war
It’s 1984 again
SUVs with blacked-out windows
Slouching towards Bethlehem

The beasts wild nature conjures up
Are innocent
But the beast in man
Is abomination

We embrace our nature
When we weep at this woeful waste
We embrace our nature
When we extend equally
To all of the human race




















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