There’s Life for Me In My Dad’s Backyard(1.5 minutes)
There’s life for me
In my Dad’s backyard!
The sweetest cherry tomatoes
I’ve ever had!
Wood chips, veggie surplus,
Brewers yeast, coffee grounds…straw,
Throwing out heat for our winter hoop house,
Food for our 10,000 red wriggler worms all year round,
Who make love with our soil
And give birth to beautiful black gold.
Out black gold is a soil so nutrient rich
That red radishes, dark green spinach,
Red chard, light green peas,
Giant yellow sunflowers…arugula and mescline mix
Seem to grow overnight!
Our red raspberries are 5 to 6 ft. high!
We’ve 5 tomato varieties fit for the Riviera.
And now this incredible Riverwest artist,
Shawn Gurath, has painted two giant horses
Two doves, and either a burning bush
Or the new Eden’s apple tree
In a backdrop of perrywinkle blue
On our once ugly garage wall
We see upon looking out our kitchen window.
This backyard alive is in a quite working class ‘hood
In a community of 5 emerging planetary villages in…
Bay View, Wisconsin,
On a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan!
I love my Father’s house!
Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambee Garden(l.5 minutes)
Have you ever wished to venture forth beyond
Your primal ancestral circles
And see what’s up in the village
Across the river from your own?
Have you ever longed for sweet red cherry tomatoes
So fresh and juicy the old world
Protestant or Catholic in you worries that
Eating them might be some kind of carnal sin?
Have you ever felt the joy of sacred fatigue
At the end of a workout in rich soil
Hands in the dirt, good sweat, and
Joyous work laughter moments with friends?
Have you ever imagined that…
Your nation gave rise to a movement
With other nations you are learning to love,
With an eye, strong body, and heart
Fixed on the prize of
Ten thousand backyard city farms.
With 4 chickens (no rooster) each
(Roosters visit from the early rising towns)
Eyes on the prize of…
Ten Thousand community farms and gardens,
In old industrial city neighborhoods,
Transforming themselves into
Planetary villages of grace, beauty, and health?
And the nation chose a leader
Who could understand all this!
Too Much Snow and Rain to Roof 2008
When London Farmers Prepared to Meet Milwaukee’s Will Allen Growing Power(1 minute)
I had heard about a gentle giant professional basketball player
Working wonders with wastes and worms and kids in the ‘hood
But was too busy with life as usual to check this out closer.
But then a gay neighbor who opened a lovely art bar
Was shot by a 15 year old kid from the hood
In Riverwest, Milwaukee, where I was once “mayor.”
The citizens of Riverwest responded with mind and heart,
Inspiring me to “do something” and I did…
I drove about 20 minutes to check out this Will Allen Growing Power.
And because of that I now find myself working with Will and his team
And dreaming of witnessing profound transformations of communities
Across the planet, one school or neighborhood garden/farm at a time.
And welcoming connections with good people like yourself from London,
And nourishing visions of mighty collaborations that make a mark,
And eating perfect cherry tomatoes and arugula from my backyard “farm.”
Viva, London Farmers!
Viva, Growing Power!
The Mouse and the Worm Transformed Milwaukee(1.5 minutes)
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!
When Milwaukee Starts Feeling Like Some Kind of Holy City(1 minute)
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(.25 minutes)
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(1.25 minutes)
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!
Confessions of a Sissy Roofer(3 minutes)
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!
Lovingly Composting The One Dimensional Man(.5 minutes)
We need not worry to bury
The one dimensional man.
Why not intend him,
Into the compost pile
Of the human race.
It’s time for the one dimensional man
To go away.
Let’s Fix Our Eyes
Let’s fix our eyes
On the prize
Of a new civilization
Because it’s time.
To certain peoples the parents die
Once the children are born.
Men and women with children
Die to themselves and become
Their children’s food. But…
We are more than food
For our children!
We are food
For our lovers!
We are food
For our neighbors!
And slowly becoming
Food for humanity!
Tasty, in the main.
An acquired taste,
We are the most organic
Energy to be found.
We are each other’s
And you, my sweet,
December 28, 2006
Visions of Three Generation Households in Old Milwaukee(3 minutes)
Is it possible to imagine laying plans for
A three generation household in old Milwaukee?
Where old granpa and/or olde grandma
Live in pleasant, modest, and private
But accessible quarters, in the same lot or hamlet
That mom and dad, and perhaps young children
Also live, perhaps work, and surely play?
And not necessarily just biological family hamlets.
Spiritual, cultural, artisinal, etc. “families”
Could aspire to succeed in Three Generation Households.
Say like the Polish working class neighborhoods of a century ago,
With the duplex in front, often a cottage in the back.
Where the elders helped with looking after the grandchildren,
Often cooking large meals for all 3 generations,
Maybe earning pocket change with some neighborhood service
That further connected families with clans with communities?
Can some of us children of the movements of the 60s,
Pull something like that off with our kids and grand kids?
Young elders with gardening, fix-up, cooking, cleaning,
Driving, errand-running, and child-rearing skills,
With compassionate, exuberant, kindly focused spirits
Surely are blessed with the kinds of resources
That might inspire the new generations to risk some shared fates.
Young elders with new generation partners!
If 10 percent of us did that, if 5 percent of us did that,
It would be an historic project!
What must one do to arrive at as much?
The Indiginous Peoples of North America have told me…
“Watch the animals and learn how to live.”
So watching the bonobos is high on my list.
Barbara Bell, Harry Prosen, and Gay Reinartz
Should be consulted.
Talking with family therapists about their “shop” another.
Mary Maroney, Jim Morningstar, and Roberta Hanus for the humans.
And then there is talk with my family and my friends.
Perhaps some of the three generation households
Will not be biology as destiny but rather
Freely chosen fully conscious transgenerational partnerships.
With eyes wide open!
“Shadow work” with Jung’s children.
Trips to witness possible household members
In challenging circumstances.
Baby steps and escape plans
And more talk with my neighbors, work and other kinds of partners.
The sweet ones!
Study the bonobos. Talk with the sweet ones.
Experiments. Baby steps.
Therein lies one path to take
Toward some three generation households in Old Milwaukee!
Some Children Are Better Taught By Their Parents(one minute)
Some children are better taught by their parents,
Like it’s been for the previous 3,000 generations
Of village life.
It’s only in the past 3 to 5 generations, in the main,
That children have been thought to acquire more
From formal educators than their mothers and fathers,
Aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas.
Certain kinds of children, the more spirited,
The more sensitive, the more exuberant ones,
Might be especially deprived by the lack of parental mentors,
And the presence of employee teachers in bureaucratic settings,
Who really are not meant to “deal” with these kinds of youth.
A lot of our so-called ADD kids would do just fine
Working with their parents in certain kinds of
Personalized work study dramas
Tailored for each unique child,
As only a parent can do!
Rainy Day in Milwaukee
March 31, 2008
Help From My Sweet Ones
I cannot decide which of the above
To omit because of time’s constraints.
So some of the sweet ones of the Holy City
Have been asked to help for
Peddling My Folk Poems with the Earth Poets!