a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
The Right Medicine
Rasp of lighter, flame sizzle
on resinous bud and leaf:
land you in a cell, make you
free labor for some fat man’s profit.
Santorum and his crown-of-thorns cock ring
want to stick you so it hurts.
Forests turn to tinder, the oceans
to acid. The denialists should drop some
crack their nuts and let the light in.
Used to be rivers caught fire.
I’m too busy with laundry
to catalog the apocalypse.
Face it: every way to Sunday
I dreamed I returned
as a huge crow.
I asked the world to confess
its bitter flavor.
I asked the redwood to give witness
to the last 2,000 years.
In the trembling of its plenitude of leaves
I heard its answer:
The obscure past sits enfolded
in childhood’s mists
impossible to disclose. You
fly and see things
from above. Let the loss of green
speak for itself.
The Right Medicine
In an age when everything is at stake, when the very web of existence shreds with our movement through it, how does one approach a solution? For every ailment there exists a right medicine. Sometimes you need to read leaves in water to find it. Sitting down with my back to a tree, I feel the sap of life coursing, know that we are the prodigal species, and that the Father of Us All aches for our return, will forgive all if we would just repent, turn around, a great revolution to oneness with being. That our Mother would run ten-thousand steps toward us if we would even begin to move in her direction. I pick up a handful of real soil and feel the myriad lives within it. Not separate: deliriously interconnected. Let us plant deep roots and leave them undisturbed. Living soil carries messages from one root to another. It’s not woo — it’s chemistry, biology. Angelic fungi. Listen: if you look closely enough at the Universe, you’ll find it looking back at you. Do you imagine yourself a ghost in an inert machine? Hogwash. Each permeable cell lives as a thriving community. We will plant ourselves in the path of the beastly machine and prevent its progress down the road to ruin. With every breath we’ll conspire to enact livingness. Then even the sun-warm stones will sing for our success. We’ll fertilize our gardens with forgiveness, make war on the hate in our own hearts. Shine bushels full of light into the darkness. When the waters rise, we must make room for the exodus inland. Bewitched by the boatload, one by one we wake from the nightmare of competition. When your brother beside you opens his eyes, stand ready to embrace him. History is a cross someone else has strapped to our backs. Let us lay it down. I’ll unstrap yours, you unstrap mine. It may be too late to turn the tide that’s rising, but let us not fail to feed the hungry. They say the Thunder Beings clap at a cup of water carried to the thirsty. I know this: in all the worlds, there’s no better medicine than love.
Wendy Babiak (*Conspiracy of Leaves*, Plain View Press) is a Certified Permaculture Designer who believes, like any good permaculturalist, that implementing this method of creating regenerative landscapes, based on community and the art of relationship, to provide for both human and non-human life, is the most hopeful approach to confronting climate change. Her poems have been published in a wide variety of journals online and in print. She currently serves as co-editor at Poets for Living Waters. Her bloodlines are ridiculously mixed. The two she’s mined most fruitfully are the Mohawk and the Irish.