Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reaching for the Stars, 1 and 2

1. Important Priorities

 Because so many of our civilized systems
threaten to collapse all at one time,
it’s important to set priorities.
What’s most essential? What can we cut?
What is feasible and what is not?
But think what we’re really talking about.
Even the Department of Defense has warned
that environmental collapse is a military matter.
When things reach that level of red alert,
it’s time to turn inward and repair the hurt.
All leaves of absence are hereby denied
until we’ve cleaned up the mess on our side.

Of course that’s just the opinion
of a tree-hugger who’d like to live to be 90.
But in a three-dimensional world like ours,
if our vertical plane can’t support us,
we won’t need our bodies, let’s hope we have souls,
to navigate another dimension of consciousness.

I propose an international reconstruction crew,
a full-time army of career volunteers
to rebuild in modern, resourceful ways,
the systems destroyed by the greed, crime, and war
our forebears in ignorance religiously pursued.
Something magical could be made to happen
on this Earth we’ve always half-feared
if we’d just be content to be where we are,
partaking in this great restorative work,
adopting collectively as our first priority
the preservation of our home, Mother Earth.
2. Guns in the Movies Always Seem So Cool

 I admired the gun fighters in old Western movies
who could draw so fast their hands were a blur,
the hero always getting off the first shot
a split-second ahead of the bad guy.
Guns in the movies always seem so cool.
Shooting people dead is entertaining and fun,
and so we the people became so used to guns
we’ve let them spill out of the movies
into normal, everyday life.
Even worshippers in church sometimes bring their guns.
I start to wonder if I should have one.
Am I getting scared of the dark?
Or do I fantasize of killing, too,
quick on the draw like Tim McCoy,
the best defense assured by being
the fastest gun in the West?

I’ll never be that, no one ever is,
or if they are, not for very long.
But it seemed awfully cool in the movies
I watched on our first home TV
when the only real guns I’d ever seen
were rifles for hunting, or shooting barn rats
or in holsters of policemen walking their beats.

Now decades have passed, it’s all different now,
and many like me, gun lovers when young,
want to put firearms behind us.
We’re tired of the fight
over who’s wrong or who’s right.
We want to get on with peace in the world.
We need leaders we can depend on and trust
to follow the visions of Gandhi and King.
War-mongers shilling for the right to bear arms—
to capture or kill any stranger at will—
make enemies of neighbors, strangers of friends,
isolate our dreams and drive us apart
as each woman and man runs for a gun
and shooters are everywhere, blocking the Sun.

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