Eco Check Experiments

Let ego frame
The image and the deed.

Then filter that
Through eco.

The Mouse and the Worm Transformed Milwaukee

There was a time when everyday people
Were too disconnected to intensely engage and prevail
In turf and other struggles with the commercial classes.

But then the mouse of the internet connected them so well
That powerful visions spread like prairie fire
And quite “small” people became quite large
And began to prevail and save sacred buildings and sacred spaces
In the face of outraged opposition from the commercial classes.

There was also a time when everyday people
Were too disconnected from their ancestral power
To grow healthy and tasty food in their yards and ‘hoods.

But then the worms of Will Allen’s Growing Power
Were spread so widely to the four season kitchen and community
Gardens that Milwaukee awakened to the folly of reliance on
Food from distant places grown primarily for profit and often
With frightening disregard for health, safety, and evolution.

And 10,000 gardens blossomed in neighborhoods once written off
As ghetto and violent and ugly, and the people reconnected with
Nature, used waste products for radiant energy,
Became strong and sure enough to ask neighbors for favors
And found themselves walking the sidewalks and biking the streets
Past corner community gardens of beauty and conviviality.

The mouse helped connect people in the realm of mind.
The worms helped connect people in the realm of body.
The mouse and the worms helped connect people in the realm of …Soul!

Dreaming of Life as an Avant Guard City Worm Farmer

I have visions of re-creating myself
After three score and two years
As an avant guard city worm farmer.

Worm farmers are at the edge of history,
Transforming, with the worm’s help,
Wastes into treasures­the world’s most fertile soil!

Worm farmer take our waste products: ­cardboard,
Wood chips, brewers’ yeast, coffee grounds,
Veggie wastes from table, restaurant, and stores­
Home to their ranch, say, a corner of a city backyard.

They layer this great harvest of good waste and
Introduce some worms to this feasting grounds,
Who process it into “worm castings”
Otherwise called “black gold.”

When Milwaukee Starts Feeling Like Some Kind of Holy City

When Milwaukee starts feeling like some kind of Holy City,
On cold winter days laid off construction workers
And retired young elders will gather veggie wastes
From every neighborhood’s food and cafe co-ops,
Brewers yeast from the finest micro breweries,
Wood chips from the city yard,
Coffee grounds from Alterra roasters all over town.

They’s deliver this precious cargo of potency
To neighborhood gardens, edible school yards,
And emerging at-home city farms and kitchen gardens,
For composting food for a myriad of city worm ranches
And neighborhood year round food growers.

The kids in the hood will gather buckets of compost material
From just about all the neighbors,
And simultaneously deliver their block’s newsletters
Filled with images and information to promote and defend
Their increasingly connected neighbors,
On higher and higher planes.

(to be continued)

City Farmers

City farmers are a vital
Source of energy and light.
They have a glow about them,
As if some kind of beings,
Totally and gracefully

When Milwaukee Becomes The Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas

When Milwaukee becomes the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas,
Perhaps only a generation or two from now,
Irish German Polish Italian American families
Will bike from the western suburbs to the Juneteenth Day Celebration
On MLK, stopping on the way at the Amaranth Bakery and Cafe.

There they will meet up with Hmong African Arab Indian American families
For a feast of soups from the kitchens of the world,
With ingredients picked that morning in the Growing Power city farm across the street,
Where now stands an empty lot.

As they bike across Lisbon and Walnut
The sidewalks will be filled with families in their Sunday best
Walking a mile or two toward the festival,
Past family businesses and artist/artisan workshops that pay the bills.

At the LGBT Center the west and northwest throng
Will join some south and east side Mexican Cuban Jewish Bohemian American families
For last minute practice to prepare for the folk song, dance, and theatrical offerings
In honor of the day when freedom grew stronger, on Juneteenth Day,
Preparing the way for that great moment, when it dawned upon the people, that Milwaukee had made itself
The Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas.

And I, or my descendants, will not be judged chauvinistic for hoping that the dance choreographed
By the Kho Thi with the Trinity Dancers wins first prize!

January, 2007

Confessions of a Sissy Roofer

I love my sissy roofer self.
Sissy roofers are a very good thing!

Sissy roofers wear gloves while working,
So their hands don’t turn to hooves.

Sissy roofers wear knee pads while kneeling,
So their knees don’t fail them before they’re 40!

Sissy roofers are ethnically ambiguous.
They know black and white is an attitude.
They aspire to be golden inside.

Sissy roofers meditate while working
(chop wood carry water pound nails)

Hoping to summon up the virtu for
Spontaneous and exuberant hugs
Of the sweet ones, and courage for
Sober dancing in the streets
(arms waving high!)

Sissy roofers send their friends to AA
Or family therapists,
Instead of tying one on with the bubbas
And whining about their lot.

Sissy roofers loathe Rush Limbaugh,
Preferring MPR. They voted for
Adalai, JFK, LBJ, Jimmy,
And now tilt toward Obama.

Sissy roofers partner with strong women,
And look forward to the day
When the corporate boys wake up and
Offer 50 pound bundles, so
Women, elders, and small bodied peoples
Can ply our nobel trade.

Sissy roofers are like the harpooners of Moby Dick,
Except they would never wish to harpoon a whale these days.
They would rather ride whales, in the sea and on the land.

Sissy roofers read the mystic poets of all of God’s children,
To help them deal when a comrade falls to brain injury or death.

Sissy roofers are obsessive about the use of time…
And attention to detail.
If you waste time, you make no money.
If you can’t create a roof
That’s like a 100 page manuscript without one typo,
You make no money.

Sissy roofers read the Greek tragedians,
To find support in facing up to this highly painful world of being.

Sissy roofers have a chance to climb high on the roofs at 60.
Macho roofers are done for, in the main, around 40.

Sissy roofers have more fun.
They make more money.
They win respect.
They respect themselves.

If they ever get too old to climb
Sissy roofers will return to the ground
Work with radiant wastes and worms, and
Bring heavenly food to kitchen tables
Working with rather than warding out
The waters of the heavens.

Viva, Sissy Roofers!

And Milwaukee Evolved into a Permaculture City With 10,000 Rain Barrels for 10,000 Kitchen Gardens

How long shall we imagine it will take
Before the Sons and Daughters
Of the Sweet Water Seas,
Help Milwaukee
Become a permaculture city,
A city of 10,000 rain barrels
For 10,000 rain gardens
And 10,000 kitchen gardens,
Where the people
Worked with nature
To reclaim their relationship
With fresh, clean

Milwaukee’s Homeland Security Threat: No Food Self-Sufficiency

At a gathering of the Milwaukee Urban Agriculture Network,
At Timbuktu on Center in Riverwest…

I was told that our Republican Governor, Tommy Thompson,
Told the nation that our current commercial food systems,
So dependent upon huge oil inputs and travel costs
Is a major homeland security threat.

Have our Democratic leaders committed to make Milwaukee
More self-sufficient and food secure?

Are our Democratic leaders, our Republican leaders,
Taking steps to grow soil from our wastes?
Grow organic food from this rich local soil?
Growing organic farmers in our schools?

Are our Democratic and Republican leaders
Arranging a grand alliance to make Milwaukee
The nation’s leading permaculture city?

Let us be the vanguard city
Developing victory gardens
For our health and homeland security.

Let us become authentic patriots!
Google “permaculture” and discover
What is to be done.

Milwaukee’s Resurrection

Is America’s Resurrection.

This most reviled
Of American cities

That Milwaukee
That reviled Milwaukee


A new city of rain barrels and rain gardens,

A city of city farms and gardens,
And neighborhood co-ops,
Of a Central Park
With a great river in the middle,
A cleansing river,
With cleansing shores.

A city where eco
Increasingly trumps
Ego…Has been sighted!

My Milwaukee

Our Milwaukee…

A new Milwaukee…

Is daily spreading…


Ineffably bounteous.

The old city…

The city of drunken m….
Of drunken k…..

That old city
Of dirty j….

Of dumf p…..

That city of lazy n…..
Of greasy d….

That city of German-borned
Who xenophobic Yankees worried
Might support the Kaiser
In 1917…
Even as they were being slaughtered
In the battlefields of Europe,
And had been slaughtered in
The battlefields of the Civil War…

That city of capitalist exploiters.
That city of anarchist and communist crazies.
That city of racist and sexists.

That city of oppressive Fathers,

That city of…

That city of…

That old city
Is fading away.

That old city…


Food for a new city.

A city in renaissance!

A city of history.

A city of destiny.

A resurrecting city!

A new city
With a new history.

A city
Coming back to life!

A civic culture of fresh air and ideas!

Polyglot! A myriad of urban villages
Of planetary citizens.

Bracing wind all year round.

Life giving sun! As much as France.

Fertile mother earth!

The greatest of fresh water seas!

This new Milwaukee

This vital brew…

Of great and modest beings.

My Milwaukee,
Our Milwaukee,
Is resurrecting itself.

Becoming a
Permaculture city.

A city where 10,000 gardens
Feed 10,000 families.

The Milwaukee resurrection
Is the American resurrection.

We have survived millions of years
In preparation for these years.

How many billions of bullets,
And other missles,
Have we dodged?

Well let’s dodge bullets and missles,
For another million years.

Watch what good things
We will do!

These years when the sons and daughters
Of Milwaukee from all over the planet…

These high spirits on this fertile land
And freshening water…

These sweetening waters…
Of the Great Lakes…
The Sweet Water Seas.

These waters of our lives

We are becoming aware of…

Falling in love with…

These waters.

And this land.
These bushes,
These plants,
Animals, insects…
These trees.

My Milwaukee,
Our Milwaukee,
Looks straight in the face
Of life’s cruelest tragedies,
Its horrors,
Its sick jokes.

Increasingly unafraid.

Finding new ways
To clarify
What is to be done.

Drawing upon nature’s wisdom…
Discovering nature’s patterns
Nature’s ways.

We are nature!
And how subtly
We are learning…
and re-learning,
To groom one another.

Nature’s bounty,
For an increasingly comprehending

An increasingly subtly resilient

A satisfied mind.
An overflowing heart.


June 2007

The Marriage of Art, Preservation, and Urban Agriculture

Imagine the power and the grace that would ensue
From a marriage of art, preservation, and urban agriculture!

Beauty, meaning, and fine food conjoined,
Locally created by neighbors and friends!

Art that grows from and with the local soil
And sacred places to enliven our minds
And ignite our proper passions.

Imagination and aesthetics as pathways
To daily choices sustaining community and
Public regarding self-reliance.

Why Not?


Thank God Plants Eat Sun and Make Bugs High

Autotrophy means plants make their own food.
Heterotrophy finds animals needing other organisms.
Plants eat the sun to make sugars and starch—photosynthesis.
Earth’s most profound chemical reaction.
Animals eat each other or our miraculous sun eating plants!

Plants also release the oxygyn we breath.
Deep breathing bliss requires our green benefactors.
And the roots and shoots of plants are…forever young!

Insects and birds get drunk on plants’ nectar.
The wind at play and “high” insects or birds
Spread that pollen for new rounds of glorious plant
Oxygyn giving life.

Red White and Blue Are Now Green

Red, White, and Blue are now green,
And Uncle Sam and Colonel Sanders
Must re-invent themselves.

Uncle Sam needs a smart woman.
He’s not nearly subtle enough
For today’s crises.

Colonel Sanders is now an embarrassment.
He’s far too greasy.
As goofy as Joe Camel.

We must raise a green flag quickly.
Red white and blue are now green.
The barbarians are at the gates.

The most dangerous ones
Are us.

All nation’s must raise their own specific
Flags of green.

We must change.
We can change.
We can do it.

Best and Highest Use

Imagine the kind of city we’ll have created
When the “best and highest use” for vacant lots
Is defined by our own Department of City Development
As city gardens chaordically creating
Community, self-reliance, and
City farms.

My Brain’s Euphoria Circuits

Laughter gets them going good,
To open the door for my social brain’s arrival.

Derisive laughter…devolution.
Laughter hierachies, to be overcome.

Laughter grow allies.
Laughter, growing power.
Laughter, spiritual food for humans!

Social networks, “social capital”…
Are also neural pathways,
Of incandescent majesty!

Light meets light!


My Milwuakee, cont’d

Working class elders
Will read well crafted
Poems in local bookstores

While prodgial teans
Turn in handguns,
And intern at Growing Power
City farms and community gardens.

Reformed rednecks do tai chi class,
Followed by the salad bar
And shots of wheat grass
At local Outpost Natural Foods Co-ops.

At-risk teens learn ceramics at Muneer’s studio,
And sometimes hear Rumi readings
By Israelis and Palestinian poets,
A married couple since about 9/ll.

A Vietnam American grad student in fine arts,
And his Norwegian American architect partner,
Team up with a Yoruba priest and New England baker,
And win a national design contest,
On green adaptations for a whole city block,
Now an eyesore,
Soon a major eco-tourist destination.

Our Family’s Destiny

The Marriage of Tiny Homes,
Compost, Gardens,

Recycled Computers,
Intentional Communities,
Family & Co-op Bakeries and Cafes,
Our children’s theatre at the Avalon,
Our elders’ olympic games and contests.

With all of God’s children,
Planetary humanity,
Urban villagers,
Guild sons and daughters,
Civitas loving wise elders.

Sacred city places,
Forest and river valley moments,
In the city,
Cleansing lake,
Cleansing air.

Ligthening our burdens,
Awakening our spirit,
To our broader family’s
Unfolding Destinies

With our friends and

The Friend.

Good Food and Beauty

The people will come
For good food and beauty.

Especially good food
Locally grown
By farmers we’ve met.

Good food and beauty
Arouse the best passions.

Knowing our farmers…
Primal delights!

Good food and sweet aroma.
Tasteful decor and eye sweets.

We easily surrender
Clenched egos to

Good food and

Let’s Fix Our Eyes

Let’s fix our eyes
On the prize
Of a new civilization
Because it’s time.

Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on May 18, 2009

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