Nature V. Civilization

Nature is a self-sustaining entity. Our civilization knows only decay. Civilization demands that we turn our attentions away from the world around us and towards a new task, though which task, exactly, remains an ominous “player to be named later.”

Promise me you’ll stay

promise me you’ll stay, who will do the laundry?

you cannot go and put me in this quandary.

the dishes are piling up, I’ve no idea what to do!

why are leaving? what’s gotten into you?

promise me you’ll stay, I’ll shower in a week or two..

if it’s the food in my beard you can comb it out.

promise me you’ll stay and clean the bathroom grout

it’s funky in there; there’s mushrooms standing stout,

we’re a team, do your job, finally, and I’ll do mine

promise me I can bathe in a computer screen’s shine,

and play Cyberpunk 2077 until my brain forms a line.

why can’t you just be happy with your lot.

promise me you’ll stay and keep my KFC hot

I can’t keep checking or V might get shot

while attempting to braindance through Night City

promise if you go to take your white kitty,

though not having her as a tissue is a right pity.

Feeding her has really become a chore.

promise me you’ll stay, who’ll answer the door?

when I’m on a mission, can’t tell you what for

you’re not really going what have I done?

you’re the one I, like, love, our life’s just begun!

me and V could have so much fun

if you promise to stay and rhyme something with laundry

Beyond Greatness

Some may argue that a person is made or broken in her or his formative years. The events of one’s childhood play such a monumental role in defining who one becomes later it is easy to see the truth in the statement.

Martin Luther King, Jr, was born Michael King, Jr. on Jan 25th, 1929. In 1934 the Reverend Michael King, Sr. took a church trip to holy centers around the Mediterranean-Rome, Tunisia, Egypt, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It ended touring sites associated with Martin Luther in Berlin, Germany. It was here where Martin’s father saw firsthand the rise of the Nazis and the racial hatred accompanying it. In reaction, the members of the conference released a statement:

“This Congress deplores and condemns as a violation of the law of God the Heavenly Father, all racial animosity, and every form of oppression or unfair discrimination toward the Jews, toward coloured people, or toward subject races in any part of the world.”

When he returned home, Michael changed his and his son’s names to Martin Luther King.

It was Martin Sr. who gave his son an interest in protest. He would often refuse to move to “colored” sections of a store, and once organized a march to protest voting rights discrimination in Atlanta.

Martin took an active interest at an early age in expanding his vocabulary, and was constantly harvesting the dictionary for more intelligent words. Typically, he showed no interest in grammar or spelling “rules,” only vocabulary.

He did well in school and was accepted early into the World War II depleted Moorehouse College. Martin Jr. decided to become a Reverend, believing he would be a..minister whose sermons would be a force for ideas or even, he hoped, social change.

His father, who, he said, had always been “a real father” to him, instilled in Martin a conviction that he might know the difference between right and wrong and also the strength needed to choose the wiser path.

Around this time in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, and King used this injustice to move in with some trusted, like-minded men to organize a boycott of the bus company. For these actions King’s house was bombed.

In Atlanta (Oct. 1960) he was sentenced to four months of hard labor in a maximum security prison for a sit in he took part in to protest the segregation of businesses and public places, and only escaped this fate because future President Kennedy pressured the governor. In Albany, Georgia (1960), he was sentenced to more jail time, and was only freed because the Reverend Billy Graham bailed him out. In Birmingham (1963), he was arrested for the 13th out of 29 times. In St. Augustine, Florida, (1964) they ran into counterdemonstrations by the Ku Klux Klan. In Chicago (1966) he was hit with a brick trying to combat racial steering in real estate offices there. 

He was always, if you’ll remember, an unarmed man merely trying to voice his right to speak. 

By the time 1963 rolled around, King was already the star of the Civil Rights movement. In August of that year the March on Washington was organized to end racial segregation in public schools, to demand meaningful civil rights legislation, among other things. The march was a resounding success, and helped pave the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

By 1964-65, King was on top of the world, as much as such a thing may be possible and still be hit by a thrown brick. However, change was brewing. African-American leaders in general were under constant pressure from each other, their own followers, and of course white America.

The movements had all enjoyed an incredible amount of progress, yet it was still impossible to be content with the results. There was still so much injustice to fight. As Martin said:

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.””

“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for [our] rights. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws—racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice.. who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods..”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom..and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”


These quotes reveal more than they let on. Because of his stance on the Vietnam War, he lost white support, including that of the President and Billy Graham. Also, reading between the lines, listening closely, you can still, after all these years, hear the bullets being fed into chambers and weapons being cocked.

All of the dangers he braved and the costs he paid were grave and steep indeed. 

After his death the true cost of his struggles was revealed: all of the vicious and violent attacks he endured breaking down the barriers white America erected turned his 39-year-old heart into that of a 60-year-old.

So why did he do it? This life is so much more enjoyable when one doesn’t try to change anything, least of all oneself. You get to eat whatever junk you like, say foolish things, spend all of your days without wasting any time or energy powering one’s brain. 

That is all fine and good if one is truly content. Few are, however, and that begets the need for change. Progress without change is not possible, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything (George Bernard Shaw). Martin saw recognized the need, and this need evolved into a very special dream.

What is so wrong about a life where our lives are more important than the profit motive or the GNP? What is so so wrong about a world where every person is afforded the same chances of success as everyone else? What is so wrong in not wanting to see black men’s necks kneeled upon for 8 minutes and 46 seconds? Martin saw it all and warned us over 50 years ago. Is it so difficult to actually do something about it? Now we live in the age Beyond Greatness; it is time to do Martin’s wonderful dream justice and make peace together, for the good of all.

I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream …”

Water Striders

everlong labile legs

still supporting 15 times their weight

without sinking

to be as quick

a 6-foot human would need

to swim 400 mph

mating is less joyous for women

they know it entails, afterwards,

the male riding their backs lazily

for hours if not days

a “chastity belt” grew-

they cannot mate until it opens

males developed their own strategy

they strum the water rhythmic

predators like fish or backswimmers are alerted

males, on top, can dismount

scoot away, scot-free, anytime

females must choose:

opening their “belts” and

the tedious task of reproduction

or near-certain death by backswimmer

some water striders have wings

those living in rushing waters

and lush wetlands

have short or no wings-

long ones are easily damaged

and cost too much energy to maintain

but water striders are polymorphic

their progeny develop as needed

should the wetlands be small

or if the temperature rises

or if they live in a mud puddle

their children will have long wings

to fly them to a new home

i go to the fridge

i remove the can of canned cheese

i jam the can of canned cheese

between my lips

and spray

A History Before History

Abel made Cain envious because God preferred the former’s sacrifice to the latter’s. Why would his sacrifice not fail? Anything Cain offered would be harvested with violence, without respect, without gratitude. Here one group of people is distancing itself from all others, and choosing to play by its own rules.

Moreover, since these were very early times and Cain represented the first agrarian communities, we can say that this civilized “hero” was the first to oppose beliefs that had always been. Ullikummi and Kumarbi, conceived later on, were the first gods to oppose God/Nature’s plan. To this end, it is safe to say that the children of Adam and Cain became the first real devil-followers, if they did not worship him directly.  

At the very least these people-Adam and his descendants- turned their backs on all that was, which is why it says in the Bible they became restless wanderers. At that time there was nothing else besides Nature. What place had they?

Even if Cain is reduced to a metaphor, there is nothing that indicates anyone approving of anything Cain would have to offer. Of what benefit to anyone would it be, other than to give Cain’s progeny the feeling of having a full stomach? The tribe chose to remain outside any harmonious relationship with any creatures small or large, beholden only to itself, on account of its peculiar pipe dreams.

These people turned their backs on all the glory days of our past, and on whatever Nature promised them in the future, which is why the Bible depicts them as restless wanderers.

Day of Mourning

do not look for Thanksgiving

do not open your eyes

do not try and learn

do not ask questions about

do not look for Thanksgiving

do not ask about Abel and Cain

do not wonder about the latter’s mark

do not look in the mirror

do not look for Thanksgiving

do not wonder how those Pilgrims had room

do not ask what below their feet was already!

do not ask how the survivors of 1620 survived

do not ask about Squanto

do not ask about the Patuxet tribe

do not ask why he survived

do not ask about his scars

do not ask about Thanksgiving

or when the name was first used

do not ask about the Pequots

do not ask where they are now

do not ask about Thanksgiving

do not change anything

do not rock the boat

do not hamper chances at stolen wealth

do not ask about Thanksgiving

do not associate yourself with guilt

do not attempt to feel shame

do not ruin the vibe


Below the flimsy and crumbling pie-crust we live on, the Earth is burning. It needed to be that way for life to evolve. Fire is one of the four elements of matter as the Greek understood them, together with air, water, and donuts (we are unsure about this fourth one-it has been a long time since the ancient Greeks). It is arguably the only one that is inherently ambivalent. Fire destroys, as wildfires have so painfully shown, but it also keeps us warm in winter, and at night. 

Back when we were just one of many creepy crawly creatures, we started to build campfires to keep us warm and safe at night. Other predators learned the hard way to stay away, humans were gathered near these flames and many had spears. But the worst thing they had around these fires, with regard to future generations of Earth’s creatures, was time. Assuming they had full stomachs and were not yet sleepy, there was nothing left for these early yous and mes to do except chat with each other.

While out and about on the hunt, or scouting territories for places to camp and/or enemies, or asleep with their families, these people needed to concentrate completely on the task at hand-their survival depended upon it. Now that the hunting was done and everyone was full, the winter clothing had been stitched together, the musk-ox horn had been boiled, its core had been removed, and the resulting disgusting bloody mess had been cleaned up, enabling everyone in the tribe to “pass the horn” and imbibe, it was time to bond. That meant: story time!

Everyone sat around a campfire, rolled weeds, and told each other trashy caveman stories like “Don’t Touch Thoga’s Meatloaf-BAD!!” or “Children Of The Corn.”

Yuval Harari, in his wonderful book Sapiens, showed that the key to humankind’s success was gossip. Without the ability to get to know the others in their group/clan/tribe, humans would have been unable to band together and eventually settle, which means that without fire there could be no civilization.

It is upon this burning rock that our place in history, our civilization, and our destinies are founded.

Summer, A Snake, and the Web

Jimbo, Lulu, and Dina were out in the woods behind the street where they lived. It was summer, and very hot, and the shade inside the forest did them good. At first they played hide and seek, but that got boring after a while. The seeker could always hear where the hiders where heading to while he/she counted, making the game too easy for the seeker.

“Let’s hike up to Devil’s Rock!” said Lulu excitedly. The other two looked at each other. Jimbo shrugged.

“I don’t know,” said Dina, “it’s a long way. And what if we get lost? And it’s almost lunchtime…”

“Good!” said Lulu decisively. “Then everyone goes home now and packs something to eat, and not only for yourself, Jimbo…” she glared at him jokingly out of the side of her eye, “then we meet back here in half an hour. And don’t worry, Dina, I’ve been there hundreds of times.”

The other two friends nodded, Dina a little more grudgingly.

A half hour later Lulu was waiting, thinking her friends had forgotten about her. She was already ready after 23 minutes, and it seemed like it took forever for the other two to show. Finally Jimbo showed up.

“Alright, smart boy,” said Lulu commandingly, “let’s see what you have.”

They both looked into Jimbo’s backpack at his store of foods. There were three sandwiches smeared with tunafish so terribly you couldn’t see the bread, two pieces of cold pizza, five chocolate bars, and some potato chips. Lulu said “uh-huh” or “OK” after each. Then she handed Jimbo his backpack. He smiled proudly.

“Now you can go back and get what you forgot,” Lulu said coldly. Jimbo’s smile wilted.

“Why??” he whined. “What’d I forget??”

“It’s summer, Jimbo,” Lulu said. “Remember? Go get yourself some water.”

Jimbo went off, cursing, as Dina showed up. Again Lulu asked to see what she had brought, and again she sent her friend home to get some water. She sat down on a rock, shaking her head, and waited for the others to return.

On the way to Devil’s Rock, they sang some songs and then played tag. It was fun, but the woods were so thick the only place to run away was on the path, which meant the fastest-Lulu-would never get tagged. 

Suddenly Lulu froze, crouching down.

The other two looked around nervously. “What?” they whispered, as a smile crept over Lulu’s face.

“Nothing,” she said, laughing. “You should see your faces.”

They shook their heads and looked down while Lulu skipped ahead. Dina and Jimbo caught up to Lulu a few seconds later, and Lulu froze again. “Shhhh!!!” she said.

They both crouched a little and looked about. Suddenly, Lulu took off running as fast as she could. The other two kids didn’t know what to do and took off after her. Being faster, however, Lulu quickly outdistanced them and ran over a little hill in a curve of the path.

Dina and Jimbo reached the curve, where a massive pine tree stood. Lulu jumped out from behind the tree.

“Boooo!” she cried.

Dina shrieked and Jimbo fell into the bushes. Lulu, laughing, helped Jimbo up while Dina laughed nervously. Then she pushed Lulu into the bushes.

This time it was Jimbo and Dina’s turn to run ahead, laughing, until Lulu could catch up.

Finally, they made it to Devil’s Rock. They were all hungry, and spread the food they brought out on the blanket Lulu had brought. They ate and joked and told silly stories, each one funnier than the last. When that got boring they listened to the forest birds chatting away in the treetops, and tried to guess what kind of birds they were.

Once they heard a rustling nearby, and it turned out to be a big snake. Dina was terrified, but Lulu and Jimbo watched the reptile, fascinated.

“It’s more scared of us than we are of him,” said Lulu, watching it disappear under a pile of rocks.

Afterwards, Dina did not feel much like joking, and the children decided to head back. They took a different way, where a stream twisted and babbled its way through the forest. At the water’s edge they saw dozens of frogs, and Jimbo discovered that if they moved slowly, they could see crayfish hiding under or near rocks in the water. Little fish also darted this way and that, and the children even went in to cool off.

It was almost sad to leave the stream and the woods behind them, but they promised each other to repeat the adventure whenever they could the whole summer long.

The weeks passed, and Dina showed up less and less. Whenever she did, she looked…different. She didn’t seem to be as happy as before, and she looked thinner. She had also gotten paler. Jimbo and Lulu asked her if anything was wrong, but she shook her head and said nothing.

Finally the day came where Dina did not show up at all.

“Alright, that settles it,” said Lulu. “No one bails on our friendship. We’re going to her house.”

They both headed over to Dina’s house, where her mother opened the door. She quickly looked back into the house to make sure her daughter wasn’t there, and went outside to talk with Lulu and Jimbo.

“I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “Dina hasn’t been herself these last few weeks. She won’t say what it is, but she’s been this way since you three first went into the woods. All she has been doing since then is surfing the internet. She doesn’t eat and barely sleeps.”

Lulu and Jimbo looked at each other. They both stood up.

“Take us to her room,” said Lulu.

They entered Dina’s room, and Dina’s mother closed the door. The girl was surprised and nervous. Lulu sat down on the bed next to Dina, while Jimbo played with a plastic cow he found. 

“Do you know what the ‘www’ stands for, Dina?” Lulu asked her friend.

Dina looked down and nodded.

“There’s a reason they call it the ‘web,’ Dina, and you sure don’t look like a spider,” Lulu went on. “I know you feel safe in there, but why don’t you feel safe with us?”

Dina hung her head.

“It’s not cuz of the snake, is it?” Jimbo asked, looking up from his cow.

Dina nodded.

“Oh, Dina, we have to cure you of that,” Lulu said hugging her friend, “or you’ll never have fun with us in the woods again!”

“C’mon Dina,” added Jimbo. “If you’ll go again, I’ll help you dunk Lulu in the stream.”

It was settled. They went back to the woods and had a wonderful time again. Dina and Jimbo dunked Lulu in stream and even filled her face with mud. They did manage to start coming back regularly, loving it every time, and, one day near the end of summer, Jimbo caught a snake, and Dina even petted it.

It really was more scared of them, and they let it go quickly.

Dina hugged both of her friends. She looked happy and healthy.

The Birth of Evil

About 5,000 years ago, a volcano erupted in an abnormal way in Anatolia. In the 21st century these occasions might warrant a headline in a newspaper or a story on the news, and as terrifying as such a catastrophe might be for those in its proximity, most understand these events and the processes prompting them. Somehow this lessens its dramatic effect.

Not so 5,000 years ago.


The power exploding from a volcano is monstrous. When Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, the blast released 24 megatons of thermal energy, 7 of those a direct result of this explosion. A surge of this magnitude is equivalent to 1,600 times the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, yet the Mt. St. Helens eruption was not even the most violent of the 20th century. Volcanic eruptions are a superhuman event which dwarf our imaginations. The attendant panic is also immense, which would explain the necessity of crafting stories about them. Explaining things helps diminish one’s fear of them.


Witnesses described these catastrophic events so long ago as a battle between earthbound, fiery Stone Monsters and Thunder gods, played by someone with a beard, who tried to quell the rebellion with either an Illudium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator or one of the more impressive items in the heavenly arsenal: lightning.

One of the oldest versions of so-called cosmic wars is the Hurrian Myth about Kumarbi and his son Ullikummi. The father sent Ullikummi as a rival in his quarrell against the Thunder god, his brother Teshub. The Song of Ullikummi from the middle of the second millenium B.C. is the first mention of a stone birth, or monster: this behemoth appears at the top of Nemrut after Kumarbi impregnates the mountain. This story is typical for the Hurrian religion, which arose in and was heavily influenced by the volcanic region in eastern Anatolia they called home.


The theme of stone monsters occurs only in the myths and legends of the peoples of ancient Turkey and in the Caucasus, and should be interpreted as a reflection of a unique volcanic event-the appearance of a lava spine at the volcano’s peak. The place of birth of the rebellious anti-hero Ullikummi, who, according to the myth, appeared atop a mountain next to an inland sea, is the volcano Nemrut on the northwestern shore of Lake Van in eastern Anatolia.

The Thunder gods always won these epic battles, either because they used a trombone (Youtube:Strangest foreign objects: WWE Top 10 (#4), March 16,2019) or because the eruption sputtered out.

The well-known figure of the dragon slayer, described in so many mythologies and representing the old weather god, who uses twenty-four of his most potent weapons (lightning bolts) to kill the fire-breathing serpent (volcano/lava flow/lava spine), conveys the allegorical picture of the war between good and evil, and became popular in areas without volcanoes. 


The eruption of Nemrut 5,000 years ago not only entailed a one-time or repeated ejection of lava streams. Another seldom occurring but noted phenomena accompanied the event. A gooey, viscous glob of magma oozed from the crater and “stacked itself” into a tower instead of flowing downwards-the phenomenon called a “lava spine”. The fiery fluid which is pressed out of the volcano’s vent kindleth, in terms of texture and the way it grew, the pressing of toothpaste out of a tube (Volcano Toothpaste! The punk band name!.


The odor of sulphur, specifically, also known as brimstone, is almost omnipresent during eruptions, along with the expulsion of ash and steam. The sulphur present in the Earth’s crust also evaporates and spreads its characteristic acrid stench.


Volcanoes are “mighty hunters” who destroy not only landscapes and settlements, but also the lives of countless fauna, like Bambi and Godzilla, something the eyewitnesses of the catastrophe on Lake Van acknowledged and registered in their oral traditions. The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 exacted the deaths of an estimated two million animals in the area.


Bible scholars associate the name of the “mighty hunter” Nimrod with the Hebrew word “mrd”, which means “Rebel”. Nemrut grew into a myth, later adopted in the Holy Book.


Nimrod represented the volcano. People who had never seen a volcano before misinterpreted the mountain as a person. No identification of this tyrant with either a mythical hero or a historical king ever occurred, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. The name of the mount is ancient, however, and the oral traditions of the area describe Nemrut as a “rebel” and “mighty hunter,” or “warrior”.

In the Scriptures, Nimrod became the Earth’s first tyrant and “a mighty hunter before the Lord“. The translation of the word “before“, is slightly inaccurate; others read “against“, or “mighty in wickedness before the Lord” (Strong’s Concordance of the Bible). Nimrod opposed God, which would fit not only to the geological history of Nemrut but to the myth of Ullikummi as well.


And this, dear children, is why we may say, in these very backward times, that to “live” is “evil.” 

Wo Am I

all of my parents are dead

and all of my frienships are lost

my brother stubbed his toe

my sister was crushed by a meteor

I was abused by a woodchuck

and lost my last friend’s hammer

my house was foreclosed

under the meteor and

my engine knocks and pings

I cannot afford Valvoline

the walls of my home are crumbling

since I’ve been using the bricks

to hammer in the nails

to hang up my pictures

if only I could find that hammer

PS-I am currently in France, so the $5 prize for winning this poetry contest must be forwarded per bank transfer. I’ll give you the details as soon as you declare me the winner and don’t forget-I don’t like to wait.