The Rape of Our Mother

Albany, NY June 17, 2013

Albany, NY June 17, 2013

I better let you know ahead that this is about horizontal hydraulic fracturing for fossil fuels. My religious society was working on a resolution to oppose fracking, which they ultimately passed under certain conditions. This poem was inspired by a forum  presented as part of this process – to provide information from as many perspectives as possible in order to help the congregants make their decisions on the resolution. The forum was led by a man in the fracking industry who spoke of the ground as feminine and something to be forced open with blasts and chemicals.

Shortly after, my home state of New York banned fracking. I hope we ban all infrastructure and transport of fossil fuels as well because it is absolutely necessary to cease the extraction, transport, storage, and use of fossil fuels; and change to renewable energy sources so we have a chance at sustaining life on Earth much longer and also of curbing the increasing natural disasters occurring all over the planet.

I found this quote by Zig Ziglar that fits this poem quite well: “Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.”

 

She was a stubborn woman.

She wouldn’t give a thing away.

And so the tiny men

took their giant steel rod

and shoved it–

shoved it–

they shoved it

down deep

into her bedrock.

 

Still–

she would not give her treasures.

So they forced the steel sideways–

forced it–

they forced it–

two degrees at a time.

 

The object of their lust

was still elusive.

Still–

they would not stop.

 

Little bombs blew up

along

this

horizontal violation;

triggered tiny cracks,

rumblings, and shifts.

 

Then they stole,

the Fools’ gold she holds

until it no longer flowed.

 

The little men– left her

full of dirty fluids,

full of holes,

fractures,

and broken roads.

 

They moved all their tools of destruction

over a mile;

and repeated the previous assault.

 

They did it over

and over

and over.

 

They smugly

left thinking

they had taken

something for nothing—

something that could not

buy

clean water

clean air;

or keep Our Earth Home safe.

 

They could not

buy

health;

love;

respect;

or peace.

They could not

buy

integrity.

 

They were

just tiny

little

men

who did not

listen

to their

Mother.

Posted in Poet, Social Justice | Tagged ,

Bomb Trains! – the Song & Poem

Bomb Train Response 5-7-15

Here’s a song I wrote about the dangers of Bomb Trains (trains carrying crude-oil all over North America), that I truly believe was given to me by God. The melody came to me in my sleep, and I got up and completed the lyrics by morning. Wish that happened more often. You would think it would be otherworldly, but it’s just an important message. Maybe it’ll piss you off, give you hope, or motivate you to take action.  If anyone wants to publish one or both of these, or alter these for social justice work – please private message me. Sharing is encouraged.

I haven’t gotten around to writing out the melody and chords, but listen to the Bomb Trains! song for an albeit, rough rendition on youtube. My thanks to Terri Roben for her guidance on melody and lyrics, her voice and guitar. Also thanks to my friend who wishes to remain anonymous. (The odd spacing and fonts are of no significance other than the orneriness of wordpress. I have no patience to sit and tweak it for hours until it comes out right. 😡   )

The Song

Bomb Trains!

(Verse 1)

47 dead in one small town
when a train explosion took them down-
Giant sticks of dynamite
terrorize our neighborhoods every night.

We demand environmental justice.
No such thing as acceptable life losses!

(Chorus)

Bomb Trains, Bomb Trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oil’s corporate gains?

(Verse 2)

Global made their plans behind our backs,
running unsafe tank cars on the tracks.
(200) black cars everyday
filled with crude oil makin’ their way

down to the Port of (Albany)
threatening our public health and safety.

(Chorus)

Bomb Trains, Bomb Trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oil’s corporate gains?

(Verse 3)

The company profits on a gamble,
but disasters will be left for us to handle.

Safe energy is attainable,

divest in fossil fuels, choose sustainable.

With 5 explosions in two years,
similar tragedies could happen here. It could happen here!

(Chorus)

Bomb Trains, Bomb Trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oil’s corporate gains?

(Bridge)
No more oil, gas, and coal.
Solar power is our goal.

It’s time to change, make new choices.
The world NEEDs us

to RAISE our voices!!

(Chorus)

Bomb Trains, Bomb Trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oil’s corporate gains?


(Verse 4)

Spread the word – with neighbor residents.
Make your voice heard right up to the president.

We have power to build traction.
Won’t give up ‘til there’s appropriate action.

(Chorus)

Bomb train, bomb trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oils corporate gains?

Bomb train, bomb trains-
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oils corporate gains?

How many lives will be sacrificed

for Big Oils corporate gains?

 

The following a poem version of a song I wrote to raise awareness about the short and long-term dangers of transporting crude oil by rail in the city of Albany and beyond.

The Poem

Bomb Trains!

47 dead in one small town
when a train explosion took them down.
Giant sticks of dynamite
terrorize our neighborhoods every night.

We demand environmental justice.
There’s no such thing as acceptable life losses!

To call them Bomb Trains is no exaggeration.

Time ticking towards the next Conflagration.

Global made their plans behind our backs,
running unsafe tank cars on the tracks.
200 black cars everyday
filled with crude oil making their way

down to the Port of Albany
threatening our public health and safety.

To call them Bomb Trains is no exaggeration.

Time ticking towards the next Conflagration.

The company profits on a gamble,
but disasters will be left for us to handle.

Safe energy is attainable.

Divest in fossil fuels, choose sustainable.

With 5 explosions in two years,
similar tragedies could happen here.

It could happen – here!

To call them Bomb Trains is no exaggeration.

Time ticking towards the next Conflagration.

No more oil, gas, and coal.
Solar power is our goal.

It’s time to change, make new choices.
The world NEEDs us to

RAISE our voices!!

We have power to build traction.
We won’t give up until there’s appropriate action.

Together we will be

stronger than this rabid greed.

Spread the word – with local residents.

Make your voice heard, right up to the president.

Ask him –
How many lives will be sacrificed
for Big Oils corporate gains?

 

© J. Rae

 

Posted in Poet, Social Justice | Tagged , , ,

Albany Opposes Pilgrim Oil Pipelines in Late Night Vote

Glad someone blogged about this!

Protecting Our Waters

Community to Council: “We Aim to Stop These Pipelines”

Albany Willie White testifying Common Council May 16 2016Willie WhiteAVillage Executive Director, testifies against Pilgrim pipelines. Photo: Iris Marie Bloom

The City of Albany Common Council voted on Monday, May 16th to oppose the Pilgrim oil pipelines, two proposed pipelines which would begin and end in Albany, New York. A standing-room-only crowd, 18 of whom testified against what one speaker called the “preposterous Pilgrim pipelines,” packed into City Hall at 7 PM. The energetic crowd, including Ezra Prentice Homes residents, faith leaders, union members, health professionals, and environmental and climate justice advocates, toughed it out in the increasingly warm and airless chamber until the vote was called at 11:15 PM.  “That was a real nail-biter,” commented Albany resident Roger Downs, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, after the vote. Downs had been the first to testify in favor of the Resolution Opposing Pilgrim Pipelines, more than…

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Posted in Social Justice

AIP Celeriac Salad

Talking with a friend about what to do with celeriac inspired me to transpose my “chicken scratch on a post-it” to a recipe. I have not tested this in awhile, but I do remember that the mayo was never quite the thickness of store bought mayo. It worked though. You will need a good hand blender. Add the liquids to the coconut mayo gradually — reduce the amount of liquids if needed.

Photo by Aad'm B.

Photo by Aad’m B.

Scrub the dirt out of the nooks and crannies of the celeriac root. Pat dry. Then, cut all the lumps and bumps off. I cut it into chunks small enough to fix into my food processor, and grated it. You may use a hand grater if you like. It may be neat to try a spiralizer on it for a noodle-like quality.

Mix the shredded celeriac with enough coconut mayo to make the salad.

For a non-AIP version – add craisins, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, parsley –whatever you like. Shredded carrot and or broccoli could make nice additions too. Garlic can be substituted for asafoetida if you’re not worried about FODMAPS.

Ingredients:

  • 1 celeriac root – shredded
  • Coconut Mayo (see below)

Coconut Mayo:

  • 1/2 c coconut cream – (not concentrate or butter)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon –juiced
  • 1/2 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 t ginger powder
  • 1T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • pinch asafoetida
Posted in Recipes, Veg | Tagged , , ,

Idealism is an Attractive Flower: Book Review

Idealism is an attractive flower by Oneida Morningstar Cramer

Idealism is an attractive flower by Oneida Morningstar Cramer

Two of my favorite things, photography and poetry combine in this unique and beautiful book of innovative photopoems by a woman with a unique and beautiful name – Oneida Morningstar Cramer. Her first published work, Idealism is an attractive flower, which won Gold in the poetry category of the 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards and also received the 2015 North Texas Book Festival Silver Book Award, is a pleasurable wander through the author’s perspective and imagination — drawing the reader to be present and rapt in the wonderment of each moment frozen in her photographs. Cramer is simple in her presentation, occasionally philosophical, and often comical or charming in her compositions — speaking through a child-like voice, the voice of the experienced parent, the voice of the scientist, or her personal perspective.

Perhaps the number of poems in this book relate to one of it’s common themes – music —as in one poem for each of the eighty-eight keys on a piano. Coincidentally, or not, it ends in a musical poem that may  wrap up the overall intention of this book. “Bow for the muse… Bow for the music,” is perhaps a summation of the muse each photograph inspires and the music (or art) created by the author as a result. (I was not surprised to read that she had worked for a music conservatory.)

Then, I think of the title photopoem, Idealism is an attractive flower; and I wonder if it is about using imagination to step outside reality, to create the music, to change the reader’s mental state – which may be all the reader truly knows. The theme that stands out most is of a temporal nature — interestingly, so is music (and mental states). She notes the temporary, “ephemeral” nature of life. Another strong theme, not entirely unrelated to time (or music), are her allusions to the stage performance. We are given a space – a stage, a backdrop, maybe some props, and life awaits our actions. She will also show you her ecological passion, kinetic sensibilities, familial love, and musings on modern life and joys of past times.

This beautiful, Smyth sewn book has eighty-eight stunning photographs (including the cover) juxtaposed with words thoughtfully arranged within and sometimes outside the borders of the photograph in various fonts and colors, although Century Gothic seems to be appreciated. (What’s not to love?!) The result is a mixed media art otherwise known as photopoem. Inspired by her work as a journalist/photographer, O.M. Cramer developed this form of art. In the photopoem, the image on the page and the images the author conjures through words are interdependent and transfix the reader simultaneously. One photograph, not accompanied by words, has no need for them.

Her poems are short – frequently consisting of one stanza with about three stressed beats per line, make skilled use of assonance and consonance,  and often illustrate with action and personification. I suspect she is a fan of T.S. Elliot. Rarely does she make use of rhyme — one exception being the wonderfully musical, ECHO CHAMBER.

It was difficult to highlight my favorites without spoiling the book. While sitting in a drugstore… yanked my heartstrings. The simple image of a butterfly resting atop the orange stamens of a Marigold personifies the soda jerk and evokes memories of sipping on a root beer float while sitting on a spinning stool at the long counter in front of the soda fountain. In the artist studio… is a delight for the eyes and mind. In a playful font, she employs action and props to describe different types of artists. Her finale describes the performance of the chef with vividness intensified by the image of hands working over bowls surrounded by the props of the kitchen bathed in warm light. Down my alley… is one of two photos with felines as subject; but the felines’ challenges become very human in her poetry. This high-bred house cat sitting at an open gate longs to be feral– to take her “chance to run in the wind,” or will she “follow the line?”

Aside from the sublime contents – I particularly love the size (6” x 9”), shape, and weight of this book; as it makes it easy to hold in one hand, bring it in close, and absorb every detail of the photography and layout. The glossy photos enhance the experience. Enjoy drinking in the image before reading the text. This durable hardcover book has a matte finish and includes the author’s photo and bio on the back cover. Aside from a short dedication and introduction,  Idealism is an attractive flower consists of page after satisfying page of photopoems that utilize the space provided unfettered by page numbers or ornate borders. If you appreciate sweet simplicity and creative imagination, I recommend this book from Eudora Publishing Company, ISBN-13: 978-0-9905190-0-3, for $24.99, $4.99 (e-book — available as an .epub on iBooks release date, publisher: 12.31.14, Eudora Publishing Company, genre: poetry/photography).

Idealism is an attractive flower  is available at Amazon – URL: http://amzn.com/0990519007 and iTunes (e-book) – URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/idealism-is-attractive-flower/id960973546?mt=11&uo=4.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Write | Tagged , , , ,

Tonglen

I’ve been wanting to write about the practice of Tonglen — so this is it.

Dappled Interlacing Roots

 

meditating with window open for bird song

man talking on phone is distracting

he has cancer

contractor swearing is irritating

he has an autistic kid —abnormalities, needs brain surgery

life in perspective

emotions felt for them

wishes for health and peace

 

another one killed for color of skin, being poor, mental issues

no – shot for ignorance and fear turned inside out

makes no sense

so helpless

nothing to do but burst from the heart

tremors from the inside

will reach out

as long as we face the truth, feel it,  and speak it

 

Sorrow is painful

Not needed or wanted –  treated with contempt — needs unmet

Many out there feeling like you — disconnected, sad, hurt

Open with compassion for all those feeling just like you – include yourself

Send them wishes for health, abundance, joy, and peace – include yourself

Heal the world faster;

by healing yourself,

and loving along the way.

© J. Rae

 

 

Posted in Blog Talk, Poet, Self-care, Social Justice, Vent | Tagged , , , ,

Turmeric Gingersnap Smoothie

Turmeric Gingersnap Smoothie

Enjoy! This is healthy! Turmeric is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. I know this from personal experience, and there’s plenty of data out there to back it up.

Adapted from this awesome recipe from a website called Natural Health in Action.

Mangoes that are ripe are likely to have some yellow, red, and a little green in the skin. Still, color is not a guarantee for ripeness. Press it gently with your fingers. If it gives easily, it is ready. Unripe mangoes usually take a few days to ripen at room temperature. Cut along the widest diameter of the fruit. When you hit the hard seed, angle the knife to just graze over it. Take the seedless half and use a knife to score a checkerboard design into the flesh, but not through the skin. Push it from the skin side with your fingers until it turns inside out. Then, slice the cubes off into a bowl. (This same technique works for avocados.) Then carve around the seed, and carefully pry it out with the knife. Repeat the scoring and slicing off the other side of the fruit. Once ripe, the mango can be stored in the fridge whole, or sliced and covered, for about 5 days. Mango can also be frozen after cutting into cubes.

I used the beverage version of coconut milk, which is really not the healthiest. There is often carrageenan and/or guar gum in it, which is bad news. Ideally, watered down pure coconut milk is best. I used a half a banana instead of a whole one, a tablespoon of chia instead of a teaspoon, dumped in the spices, and added a couple of tablespoons of hemp protein. I also added my usual nutrition boosters, which are optional. The result tasted almost like a gingersnap cookie.

Turmeric Gingersnap Smoothie 2

Here’s my adaptation broke down:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 c mango (or less)
  • enough coconut milk to reach the minimum mark on the blender (about 4 oz.)
  • 2 T hemp protein powder
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 T coconut oil (best quality)
  • turmeric powder (to your liking)
  • ginger powder (to your liking)
  • cinnamon powder (to your liking)
  • couple shakes of sea salt (unless salt is something you need to avoid)*optional
  • couple shakes of kelp powder *optional
  • big pinch of ground eggshell *optional

 

Posted in Liquid, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Art Appreciation

Here’s my take on both being appreciated for your writing (or any other art form, or any contribution) and appreciating the writing (or any other art form, or any contribution) of others:

First be grateful for what your (writing) gives to you,
but remember that
what you think of your art is none of your business.

Then remember that this world is now highly saturated with information —
more than can be absorbed in it’s entirety.
People have varying levels of saturation as well.
There is nothing wrong with that.
It just is.

Different people are attracted to different things.
For example, I’m rarely attracted to mysteries, horror, or noir;
but I love books on spirituality.

Many friends won’t pay for your work.
That doesn’t mean they don’t value you.
It may mean they have no interest in your genre,
or that they have budgeted for something they value to a greater degree (rent, for instance).
If you touch even one person with your writing
that is success.

When you have the energy, inclination, inspiration, or motivation
to appreciate the work of someone else;
then open yourself up to it.
It doesn’t count if it was done from a place of scarcity, reluctance, or resentment.
You are not a bad person if you did not read or finish the book.
There are gems to be found in just one line of poetry, or one paragraph of prose.

Once in awhile stretch yourself and be open to the work of others.
Support the work of others as much as you can.

It is good for you.
Someone will return the kindness.

All My Guts and Soul

© J. Rae

Posted in Feelings, Write | Tagged , , ,