Black Snakes And Other Monsters

standing_rockMy mind does not always make clear lines in what moves me in my life. Is “this” action political? Is “that” one spiritual?  I have often talked about how much I hate specialists and how much I value generalists.  Hoity toity historians, for instance, dislike Will Durant and his “History of Civilization” for being “too general.”  I LOVE his books, for his humanity, for his linkages of political whys to religious or societal or cultural whys!

So when I write here of the ongoing fight at Standing Rock in North Dakota to stop the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), it is one of those instances of fusion in my mind.  Yes, it is, of necessity, a political battle.  But it is also a spiritual battle.  The Amerindians leading this ecologically vital charge to protect drinking water for their people AND for a lot of seemingly oblivious white people downstream, call the pipeline “the Black Snake” and are correct to say it needs to be killed.

The Gaslighter-in-Chief, the man who makes Comment A behind a closed door with Individual A, and Comment B about the same topic in public before a crowd of mouth-breathers; has signed an Executive Order, most likely drafted by Racist-in-Place Steve Bannon to allow the pipeline to go forward.  Likely this isn’t even legal, just like his immigration ban has illegal elements — barring people already holding visas or green cards, for instance.  Believing and living ANY part of the lies being told so often and loudly that it begins to cloud people’s minds is to becoming ethically and morally compromised.  This IS what makes it a spiritual battle — whether you are traditionally monotheist, pagan, polytheist, or agnostic, or atheist.  EVERY person needs a set of core values to guide their actions.  What do your core values tell you about the practice of breaking treaties (governmental promises/vows) and setting the stage to poison water needed for drinking, irrigation, and other vital life-giving functions?  All for money made off the fossil fuels that are creating global climate change that could render life unbearable on this earth?

I’m not made of money.  We are on a limited income with ever increasing expenses.  When I make a promise I believe in keeping it.  I am no oath breaker!  So the money I usually give to Remote Area Medical Foundation every month, will be halved now.  So I can send $50 a month by check to Standing Rock.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
#1 N. Standing Rock Avenue
Fort Yates, ND 58538.

 For Water, for Life on Earth.


Poetry Month – Thirteen – The Steeplechase

1983.01.0_Bad Toelz_ChurchProse first this time, ok? The title, “The Steeplechase” refers to a horseback race wherein riders competed to finish a cross-country race with church steeples as the in-sight goal. All obstacles — canals, fences, walls, etc. had to be cleared. Obviously, I am not speaking of literal horseback races in my unfinished poem – a work in progress as I am still uncertain where exactly it is going.   It is both a personal history and, I hope, a look at how humanity can escape self-deceit?  Onward, then – to the poem:

The Steeplechase

I could see it from my window,

No proper pointed steeple – that,

A bell tower squat, square, and silent,

Because the banker ‘cross the street?

Slept in hungover each Sunday morning,

Thus the Catholics came so silently,

Met weekly with no priest of their own,

He came like the full moon, once monthly.


Was it then – my heart beat for underdogs?

Seeing Mammon’s minion-man snoring in his cups,

Each silent Sunday kicking the Pope’s people,

That took me in sympathy to Church?

Gray and serious as any postulant, I went,

To the tree that bore no fruit save despair,

Long I stayed in duty to aging beauty,

While cracked promises withered in my heart.


Twas a different time – living a myth aloud,

Steeples every few blocks with pillars and stained glass,

Carillons and choirs and much sweet charity,

Oh yes, the blue laws and blue balls,

Self-denial, self-control, self-righteousness!

But righteousness becomes as corrosive as acid,

Elect, exceptional and “us versus them”,

Banks grew taller than churches left in basements.


Poverty became failure and judgement from on high,

Riches became the “righteous” fruits of grace,

Helping turned to enabling weakness,

Might became right and Arthur is truly killed,

Camelot more surely razed than the Twin Towers,

Fallen to anger and hate, to fear and greed,

That Sky Father in a stealth bomber?

Now that’s a Holy Fucking Ghost!


All those steeples skyward reaching,

So many towers of Babel to me,

“Saved” or not – all bleed as red,

Children starve while women bleed and weep,

Men ride to the hunt with dogs of war,

All in the names of god – Allah or Jesus,

If every bell and bomb fell silent?

Would we hear the echoes of our need?


(more tomorrow, mayhap?!)