I am inspired by Benjamin Lay’s protests against slavery in 1728. Lay was a hunchbacked 4′ dwarf, who lived in a cave and foraged and planted fruits and vegetables.


As of May 20th, new Godsil poems may be found at


With cover artist of “My Milwaukee” and “Forbidden Pleasures of Permaculture in the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas,” Shelby Keefe, April 14, 2007, at benefit for MilwaukeeRenaissance at the venerable Coffee House, for 30 or 40 years in the basement to Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church on 19th & Wisconsin. The benefit featured the music of Howard Lewis Hinterthuer, poet/singer/songwriter, founder of the Embeded Reporter music group, always looking to do benefits for environmental and bio-diversity movement projects, including one for Growing Power in December, and the Bonobo Project in January. Send e-mail to godsil.james@gmail.com for more information.

Bio sketch at…


On this page…

  1. Poetry and Prose 2020
  2. Poetry and Prose 2018
    1. 2.1  God Gave Joshua The Horn To Set The People Free
  3. Poetry and Prose 2009
    1. 3.1  Mon
    2. 3.2  Dodging Bullets Riding Whales
    3. 3.3  Worm Mon, Chicken, Junk, Fish, Food, and Love Mon: Good Mon
    4. 3.4  Water and Weed Your Visions!
    5. 3.5  Gargantua’s “Depression” Stirs Primal Powers
    6. 3.6  Boomers’ Children: The Greatest Generation
    7. 3.7  I Want To Be a City Fish Farmer
    8. 3.8  Give God a Morning Kiss
    9. 3.9  Bonobo Mamas At Heidelberg Gardens
    10. 3.10  Climbing Out From The Second American Civil War
    11. 3.11  Bounty Once Thought Waste
    12. 3.12  The Story of Loaves and Fishes From the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas
    13. 3.13  Information Age Movement Organizing
    14. 3.14  Squeezing the Bad Out of Life
  4. Poetry and Prose 2008
    1. 4.1  Apple & Raspberry Harvesting in Bay View With Your Honey
    2. 4.2  A New City of New Orleans
    3. 4.3  Freedom Train Brings Milwaukee Lincoln Brigade to Great City of New Orleans
    4. 4.4  21st Century Milwaukee Helps the World Feed Itself
    5. 4.5  Yes
    6. 4.6  Tim Russert: A Child of Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis of Assissi, and Virgin Mary
    7. 4.7  Sissy Roofers Love Wild Women and Free Range Chickens
    8. 4.8  Fire Arcs Spark Divine
    9. 4.9  Square Inch City Farms To Change the Way We Live: Permaculture Cities!
    10. 4.10  Family Therapists and Surplus Suffering
    11. 4.11  Viva, Hillary Rodham Clinton!
    12. 4.12  Dancing in the Streets of the U.S.A.
    13. 4.13  Crafting My Many Selves
    14. 4.14  Floating Down the River Through My Backyard City Farm
    15. 4.15  Wrestling With My Vanities
    16. 4.16  Grandpa Knows Very, Very Much About Some Things
    17. 4.17  Charismatic Friends and Families
    18. 4.18  From Culture Consumers to Culture Creators in Old Milwaukee
    19. 4.19  I Love My Peddler Prowess!
    20. 4.20  Earth Poets 20th Anniversary Offerings
    21. 4.21  Some Children Are Better Taught by Their Parents
    22. 4.22  Lovingly Composting The One Dimensional Man
    23. 4.23  Should We Let St. Patrick Rest?
    24. 4.24  Divine Delusions
    25. 4.25  Viva Hillary Obama Wisconsin!
    26. 4.26  Growing Power Growing Food
    27. 4.27  Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambee Garden
    28. 4.28  Janine Arseneau’s “Delicious Revolution” Starts Poetry Jam Session
    29. 4.29  Looking Like Bridie’s Found Her Harvard
    30. 4.30  Presidential Campaigns and “Growing Power Awakening”
    31. 4.31  The Emancipation of the Fourth Estate
    32. 4.32  Norm
    33. 4.33  An Old Roofer’s Response to Quantum Physics’ “Zero Point Field”
    34. 4.34  Thank You For the Tears of Joy
    35. 4.35  If John Kerry Had Offered This Speech at Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home
    36. 4.36  Dare to Dream of Three Generation Households
    37. 4.37  You Are Invited To My 100th Birthday Party
    38. 4.38  Our Hearts Are Made of Love
  5. Poetry and Prose 2007
  6. Poetry and Prose 2006
  7. Poetry and Prose 2005
  8. Poetry and Prose Pre 2005
    1. 8.1  My Life’s Highest Professional Honor: The Good Word from Grace Lee Boggs
    2. 8.2  Renowned Slate Roofer and Green Trailblazer Joe Jenkins to Publish “Confessions of a Sissy Roofer in “Traditional Roofer” magazine.
    3. 8.3  Wrote Luhrssen in the “Shepherd” re “My Milwaukee”’‘’

Poetry and Prose 2020

Poetry and Prose 2018

God Gave Joshua The Horn To Set The People Free

Joshua Gave Yoda The Truck To Use It

Workin at dawn on the 4th of July makes it easy to understand
How in God’s name you could buy Yoda a beautiful and efficient
Rolling and flying office…

I pray I can manage and maintain
The office and the elegant conveyance
Up through my 90th.

After that I might need some kind of tiny car
Also as a rolling song of who we are.

My Mother always wanted me to wear a suit and drive a fancy car.
She now finally understands and is pleased with my CRR t-shirt and
Big beautiful silver blue Community truck.

On her deathbed she told my dad, Joe, to “send Jim $250 to buy a decent suit
So I would not embarrass her at her wake.”

I arrived with the suit, showed it to her, and she said


In a dream on the 4th of July, she floated into my minds eye, and echoed


Yoda(previously known as Godsil, Olde, etc.)

Poetry and Prose 2009


Should “man” become “mon?”

Should “woman” become “mon?”

Should “persons” become “mon?”

Hey Mon, the way Bob Marley said it,
Is very easy on my mindbody.

What about yours?


Dodging Bullets Riding Whales

Dodging bullets
On the way up the mountain.

Dodging bullets
Down deep in the sea.

Dodging bullets
Riding whales.

Spirit trumps bullets.

Rainy Spring Weekend Morning

Worm Mon, Chicken, Junk, Fish, Food, and Love Mon: Good Mon

Worm Mon

“Worm Mon” and “mon” is, for me, gender neutral.
If you would prefer “worm man” or “worm woman,”
We can oblige.

Worm Mon raises worms.

Chicken Mon

Goes to the forum to suggest chicken farm industry for Milwaukee.

Junk Mon

Hopes to figure out good uses for all of creation, starting with what some call junk.

House Mon

Learning how to mother and father and shepherd increasingly lovely homes.

Fish Mon

Partnering with Milwaukee yeoman urban agrarian in efforts to transform industrial slums ito fish and vegetable farms.

Food Mon

Working with family and community gardeners to advance locally grown, intensive, natural, urban agriculture.

Love Mon

Enjoying conversations with Rumi, Hafiz, and the mystics of all people’s most authentic spiritual traditions offering food for thought
on creations most dazzling mystery—


Back to top

Water and Weed Your Visions!

I swear it’s true that
Hope tends to quite often
Somehow materialize
That which it contemplates!

Not always, but often enough
That I water and weed my visions.
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Gargantua’s “Depression” Stirs Primal Powers

As humans pause
‘fore gargantua’s gaspings…

Gasping themselves
In all that foul air…

Forced to meta reflect,
And explore new daily rounds.

Good anti-dementia exercise.
Fresh and happy neural rhythms.
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Boomers’ Children: The Greatest Generation

Stocks tank,
Boomers keep working.

Forced entrepreneurship and victory gardens,
Small businesses and barter networks,
Co-ops and small is beautiful solar architecture.

Our young become…
The greatest generation!
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I Want To Be a City Fish Farmer

I’ll feel safer for our bodies’ futures
If fish are farmed in our ‘hoods.”

Our children and our elders
Will be joyful
While visiting our fish farms,
And eating our fish.

I have no doubt that Mother Earth
Prefers protein for humans from fish
More than from cows and/or pigs.

And I’ve a better chance
To lose my bulging belly’s shameful girth,
On a diet of baked fish
In virgin olive oil and fresh garlic.

Home Depot Paint Desk, 3/7/09
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Give God a Morning Kiss

Give God a kiss,
While walking
Out your door.

Give God a kiss,
While walking
Through new doors.

Give God a kiss,
While walking
On this floor…

We call…


Inspired by Karen Hafiz Kolberg
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Bonobo Mamas At Heidelberg Gardens

Bonobo Mamas at Heidelberg Gardens
Surrounded by East Grant Boulevards…

Getting that tree ready for my nest…

After my 100th.

Sitting up there…

Mixing my mushrooms…

With my Avalon breads…

My Gardening Angel greens…

My King Solomon Baptist Church honey…

Communing with Grace and Starhawk.

Back to top

Climbing Out From The Second American Civil War

I think we’re climbing out from a second American Civil War,
Not as manifestly bloody as the first,
But bloody still and more blurred in boundary.

We’ve a long way to go.
We’ve a long way already come.

Hang in there!
Hang on!

The best parts…
Yet to come!

Thank you for working toward this day!
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Bounty Once Thought Waste

What gift, the bounty
Once thought waste!

No Imperium’s edicts
Could approach
The benign effects

Of so luminous an…


Back to top

The Story of Loaves and Fishes From the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas


It began in earnest when the kid from the hood,
Just 15 years old, shot in the stomach,
A fine Riverwest, gay, pub worker/owner,

A few weeks after an intemperate leader
Gay-bashed rogue cops

Rather than thoughtfully, powerfully,
Seize the reins of justice.


This outrageous shooting, plus
A rash of thuggery that summer, 2005,
Brought forth a community gathering,
Which I attended, at the Art Bar on Burleigh,
Across from old St. Mary’s,
Where the shooting had occurred.

I had the same sinking feeling in my stomach,
As during the 1970s and 1980s, when I and friends
Had done our best to inspire thought in things better
Than racist scapegoating at community meetings,
Following notorious crime events and moments
In struggling Milwaukee.


But when I arrived at the Art Bar, there was a
Spirit of graceful, powerful…resolve.

A succession of strong and warm people,
A polyglot, rainbow melange,

People with deep roots in the neighborhood
And the movements of our times,

Expressed thoughts and feelings aiming to heal and renew,
To draw upon our deepest imaginations and
Sources of resilient endurance…

To keep our eyes on the prize that
Ghandi and King, Rosa, John, and Bobby,
Mandela, Grace Lee Boggs, and many more,

Had blazed in great visions in our youth.

Having spent much time alive
In the dark, dank tombs of pharaohs,

While not witnessing manifestations of bestial hate
Aimed at minority “others”

I was overwhelmed by these
Bursts of warm light
Coming from everyday people.

I had to leave early,
Lest I lose my composure,

And while driving home
Along sacred city trails,

Alongside resurgent neighborhoods
And cleansing rivers,

The notion of finally meeting Big Will Allen,
The legendary urban farmer already renowned

In awakened circles for his avant-guard
Permaculture and urban agriculture innovations,

Innovations agricultural and “biological,” e.g. vermaculture,

Agriculture ecological, e.g. gloriously productive
Simulated indoor river valleys with sweet water
And fat, healthy, tasty fish,

Innovations social and cultural, e.g. farmer training youth programs.

And when I got out to Growing Power, on 55th and Silver Spring,
More than one incredibly exuberant persons,
Starting with Miss Karen, greeted me with a warmth and generosity
That continues to inspire, and even, startle me.

Later on I learned that I had experienced my first moment with…

Growing Power Magic!

That’s what Miss Karen calls it.

And it’s true!


I returned home to fine an e-mail
Sent from Harvey Taylor, Milwaukee poet and stevedore,
Which contained a song he’d just written
About Big Will Allen and Growing Power!

And then at my 60th birthday party,
Sally Leiser, whom I’d never met, showed up
At the Kern Park “country club,” out of the blue,
And shared the Growing Power story,
In perfect pitch!
Back to top

Information Age Movement Organizing!!

There are those among us who would gladly
Make money at a regular job,
And craft a life focused on raising families
And creating the good life…

And there are those who don’t quite fit this mould.
Back to top

Squeezing the Bad Out of Life

Let us pray we improve
Our skills
Squeezing the bad out of life!

Exhale that bad in your life!

Dance it out!

Laugh it out!

Cry it out!

Do it!
Do it!

It feels good!

Get hot!

Get loose{!}…

Squeezing that bad from your life!
Back to top

Poetry and Prose 2008

Apple & Raspberry Harvesting in Bay View With Your Honey

Imagine a Sunday morning stroll to a city farm in Bay View
Some Saturday or Sunday morning this coming Fall…

Where you are invited to harvest sweet ripe raspberries,
And, red cherry tomatoes from a rooftop farm.

And arugula!
Power packed green
Our Movement’s Best Organizer enjoys.

You are also shown how to mix radiant wastes
With wood chips and leaves,
Let that alchemize a while,
And feed the rich humus results
To your red wriggler worms.

The worms casting then are rightly called
Black Gold!

The kind you give to your soil,
So seeds planted yield great harvests.

For you and your honey to enjoy,
Every Summer and Fall…

At Gods Hill City Farm,
Or, your farm,
That’s just around the bend!

Contact godsil.james@gmail.com
Back to top

A New City of New Orleans

Good morning, America, how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your favorite child.
I’m the people of the city of New Orleans,
I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

There’s a train they call
The City of New Orleans
Stops at cities great along the way…

Detroit, Old Milwaukee, and Chicago,
St. Louie is the last stop of the day.

And on that train a rainbow throng is gathering,
With eyes fixed on the prize of freedom,
And on that train a global village’s bloooming,
Visions of the new dawn that we’re growing,
Knowing, the human race is one.

Good morning, America, how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your favorite child.
I’m the people of the city of New Orleans,
I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.

I was down but now I’m back
Let’s move it on.
Back to top

Freedom Train Brings Milwaukee Lincoln Brigade to Great City of New Orleans

21st Century Milwaukee can help the world feed itself,
With gifts of worms and worm casting methods
To grow soil, food, and square foot farms
Tended by urban villagers with
Green collar, blue collar, and white collar training.

Viva Eagan seed money and support!

Hot Summer Day
Milwaukee 2008
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21st Century Milwaukee Helps the World Feed Itself

Not Vast Wheat Farms But Square Foot Backyard/Rooftop Worm Depositories & Food Gardens

19th century Milwaukee may have been the port
From which went forth more wheat to the wider world
From the Great Plains and Great Midwest
Than from any port heretofore in the history of humanity.

There is a lovely poster with a beautiful women
Casting wheat to the world entitled…
“Milwaukee Feeds the World.”

Perhaps the image for the 21st Century
Which may find Milwaukee helping the world’s cities
And their immediate water basins and bio-regions
Re-learning how to feed themselves…

With the help of worms and radiant waste,
Growing the finest soil for the healthiest plants,
Animals, and Humans,
Growing backyard mini-farms, community gardens,
City farmers, and liberating convivial communities.
Back to top

Yes! Sweetheart...Of Course... It’s All About Me!

And every day is my birthday...



And yours too!

Lovely Summer Sunday Morning
Milwaukee 2008
Back to top

Tim Russert: A Child of Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis of Assissi, and Virgin Mary

Tim Russert

I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of
Love and respect showered upon the spirit of
Tim Russert upon his far too early return to
The Spirit.

Part of his love and glory
Came from his early mentors
Devoted to the teachings of
St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis,
And to the “Sacred Heart of Mary.”

The Roman Catholic Church as an institution
and the Catholics as a “culture”
Have many things to answer for.

Tim Russert and people like him,
Who number in the thousands in Milwaukee,
Offset some of that shadow side
Of one of the great religions of “The West.”

Perfect Summer Day
Milwaukee 2008
Back to top

Sissy Roofers Love Wild Women and Free Range Chickens

Sissy roofers have to very carefully tend the fires
Upon encountering wild women and free range chickens.

The taste is so rich
They fear collapsing…

In gratitude.

Perfect Summer Saturday Morning
Milwaukee 2008

Fire Arcs Spark Divine

Janine’s response to my favorite sissy roofer on the planet (any planet):

free range chickens and wild women
dance in exuberance
in the company of sissy roofers
knowing they each share
the spark of the divine…

tend your fires carefully,
magical sissy roofer
of the sweet inland seas

in each fire

Square Inch City Farms To Change the Way We Live: Permaculture Cities!

Will Allen rightly booms forth during most of his glorious Growing Power tours…

It’s not how green is your thumb!
It’s how fertile is your soil!

And then…

Just start growing something, anything,
In any kind of pot. See what good will happen!

Community Growers Recruiting Square Inch City Farmer Apprentices

With Will Allen compost or homemade compost following Will’s methods,
A network of artist/artisan/urban farmers is giving people small hanging pots
To grow arugula for their family and friends, and, if they are ambitious,
For one of Milwaukee’s most revered family grocers, e.g. Seneks on Downer,
Which put out the call for “local organic arugula” this week.

From Pots to Plots

The hypothesis is that 100 such pots will yield one or two
Apprentice city farmers,
Once the magic is experienced.

It will also yield returns for those offering the pots,
Intrinsic and otherwise. And…

Hastening the Emergence of 10,000 Mini City Farms & Roof Top Gardens

In each of our venerable industrial cities
Becoming, by necessity, something new…


Permaculture Cities!

What say?

Apprentice Urban Farmer
Back to top

Family Therapists and Surplus Suffering

It is my studied opinion, based on
Living through many an ocean of sorrows
And witnessing my sweet ones
Gasping for air in their own such seas…

It is my studied opinion, and my
Deepest intuition…

That a considerable portion of human suffering
Would be reduced were more of the people
Connected with competent family therapists
To help them untangle…

Family knots!

If it is the case that the earth is the insane asylum
Of the universe, a plausible hypothesis derived
From reading any newspaper, high brow or pulp…

If that is true, then family therapists are surely
Worthy of our spending some time with,

When the inescapable imbecilities and
Constant provocations of those we live with
And/or love

Begin to make us…mad!

Family therapists are a noble few
And in Milwaukee very, very well trained.

Family therapists are as valuable to our evolution
And survival, as roofers, artists, urban farmers,
Doctors, lawyers, and teachers,
And any other worthy trade or social role.

Family therapists reduce…
Surplus suffering.

Unnecessary suffering.

Avoidable suffering.

Not all suffering
In this highly painful
World of being.

But enough to warrant
Googling…”family therapists, Milwaukee,”
Before popping your cork
When a family member
Is totally out of line, obnoxious,
Or even…noxious.

Viva, family therapists!

Cool Spring Day
Milwaukee 2008
Back to top

Viva, Hillary Rodham Clinton!

We owe this great day in the U.S.A. to…
Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hillary and her family will offer much to the movement
Growing across the land
To welcome egocentric old men
From dominant families and cultures
Into the compost pile of history.

She and her movement will play a decisive role
In this historic movement.

Great energies, community building, and mindful public policies
Are ours to look forward to in the face of
Life’s tragedies,
With new leaders in D.C.
Who shame not the nation nor the species.

Viva Hillary Rodham Clinton!

Hot Spring Saturday
Milwaukee 2008

Dancing in the Streets of the U.S.A.

In my mind’s eye, we’re dancing the in streets today.
What a great gift we’ve offered ourselves and the world!

Perhaps the world’s oldest political party
Has chosen a fine son of the best
Of the movements of our time.

The dreams of our visionary leaders
From days gone by,
Are in many inspiring ways
Taking shape, manifesting.

The Obama movement
Has enormous possibilities
For peace and reconciliation,
For justice and harmony,
For some kind of transcendence.

He and his team have loosened
Some rich soil and
Connected with many new sources
Of nutrients and energy!

May Obama live a long life!
May he inspire and advance
Our movements!

New Day, Milwaukee

Crafting My Many Selves

I love crafting my many selves!
This work is never complete,
Nor an easy task!

I am so vast and so complex,
So filled with contradictory voices
Even naming myself becomes a game.

Who am I today?
Which identity to present to whom?

I’m exultant when I pick
Just the right name
For the person, place, or day.

What self, what culture
Will I choose on the morrow?

I sometimes swim through my selves.
Other times I simply float down
Those luxurious rivers.

Don’t dare tell me who or what I am!
That is my choice to make!

I’m coming to love my many selves!
Even their quarrels, battles,
And intractable impossible
Glorious contradictions.

Perfect Spring Morning
Milwaukee, 2008

Floating Down the River Through My Backyard City Farm

It’s really quite easy to float down the river
Running right through my backyard city farm.

I never was one to sit still enough
To float down that river
Through my mind’s eye.

Backyard, and frontyard(!) city farms
Are practical, and divine, in other ways as well.

No burning fossil fuels
While digging with one’s worms!

No burning bridges
Since everyone knows
You can’t argue politics
Or religion while planting
Those incredibly tiny oregano seeds.

Glorious Brisk Spring Saturday
Memorial Day Weekend, 2008

Wrestling With My Vanities

I can barely stay upright
When you let me talk!

I love your attention!
I love attention!

I once ran from
Its thrill.

But a cascade of follies
Throughout my adult years
Calls for good news
For my well weathered soul.

Your kind attention to my words
Is very, very good news!

Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

Overwhelmingly lovely Spring Morning
Milwaukee 2008

Grandpa Knows Very, Very Much About Some Things

Grandpa knows very, very much about some things,
And very, very little about others.

Satisfied Young Elder
Bracing Milwaukee Spring Day, 2008

Charismatic Friends and Families

I wonder if we should reflect upon the custom
Of public accolades for charismatic citizens.

We are our relationships, n’est-ce pas?

If a family member’s social practice
Suggests an astonishing “gift of grace”…

Does that gift not reflect directly upon
The family which has nourished them.

The family of origin.
The family of this life’s construction.

Let’s bring that partner(s) spouse(s)on stage!
What about Mom and Dad?
Brothers and Sisters?

And the children!

Look at how well they have lived
With the inexorable and inescapable
Imbecilities and deviations from perfection
Of their charismatic parent!

Viva, the families of our great and modest beings!

Bracing Spring Day, Milwaukee 2008

From Culture Consumers to Culture Creators in Old Milwaukee

It is now well within our reach to
Create our own culture!

We now can be our own “Le Monde” and “Les Tempes Modernes!”
How about a Great Lakes Times,
All the news we’re fit to create!
Let’s be our own “Guardian!”
Let us create a “Milwaukee New Republic!”

The Milwaukee Renaissance
(On Line Magazine and Movement Resource)
Is ours to craft!

Even as we grow perfect red cherry tomatoes
In our Milwaukee three generation hamlets…

And sing new songs and bellow barbaric yawps
From roof tops and glades
In the Holy City
We appear to be making.

Peddler 2008

I Love My Peddler Prowess!

I love my peddler prowess!
Give me a worthy “idear,” person,
Or even practical
Goods or services…

And watch me fly!

Rather Chilly Spring Sunday
Note: “Idear” in honor of Ted Seaver

Earth Poets 20th Anniversary Offerings

Some Children Are Better Taught by Their Parents

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
Back to top

Lovingly Composting The One Dimensional Man

We need not worry to bury
The one dimensional man.

Why not intend him,
Gently, gracefully…

Into the compost pile
Of the human race.

Should We Let St. Patrick Rest?

Should We Let St. Patrick Rest?
At least at Timbuktu in Riverwest,

Say, a century’s experiment
In the Holy City of
The Sweet Water Seas?

St. Patrick’s better angels
Would surely welcome Brigid her due,

The Patrick that was a great and modest being
Would gladly cede center stage
To one so wise and lovely as our Brigid.

St. Patrick’s very human failings
Were likely at least in part derived from
His status as a Roman male,
And Church of Rome authority.

Are we not tired of archetypal Romans,
Spiritual or material powers, whatever?

Are the sissy roofers of Milwaukee
The only ones to notice this exhausting hubris?

Patrick in his day may well have expiated sins
In acts of mortification, perhaps even quite pure forms of flagellation.

But retiring Patrick from the reigning icon role
Of St. Patrick’s Day might free him up
For all kinds of new adventures with lots more soul.

Transforming St. Patrick’s into St.Brigid’s Day,
May even pave the way for Patrick’s release
From the agony of purgatory,
Even, perhaps, retroactively,
In defiance of space and time!

Free Patrick! Free Patrick! Free Patrick!
Let Brigid speak! Hear what she has to say!

Let us gaze upon images of Brigid!
Let’s see what that might do!

And what about what St. Patrick’s Day has become?
I can imagine St. Patrick’s shedding a tear
Every time a young Irishmen or otherwise
Drinks a not even fatal, bur rather, a banal beer!

A Spring Like Day, March 14, 2008

Divine Delusions

Bay View genius Michael Moynihan’s response to Hillary Obama Wisconsin breakthrough…

“A poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more:
It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Worse than nothing. It signifies a delusion so deep, a denial so unrecognized, and an ignorance so complete, that it makes thoughtfulness, critical thinking and intelligent discourse seem impossible.

Divine Delusions

I love my hour upon the stage!
I adore Michael’s!

I strut and fret less as my hour
Approaches its final strokes.

There is less sound, less fury,
And I’m sure…the sweetest of new meanings.

Possibly to echo through the 7th generation,
Plenty enough for me.

My delusions divine have contributed to Wisconsin
Overwhelmingly choosing a “black” and a “woman.”

A new sensibility quite likely, perhaps
Mixed with the better angels of aeon’s of “white men.”

A new sensibility marked by a certain kind of
Race and gender ambiguity…a more balanced center.

Which our resident surface level nihilist but deep beauty
Michael Moynihan helped grow!


Viva Hillary Obama Wisconsin!

Yin and yang.
Black and white.

He and she.
Mind and heart.

Workers and owners.
Men and women.

North and South.
East and West.

Viva Hillary!
Viva Obama!
Viva, Wiscosin!

Obama 650,000
Hillary 453,000

Seventy four per cent!

McCain 224,000
Huckabee 151,000

Hillary voters greater than
McCain/Huckabee combined!

Obama almost tripled McCain’s showing!

Viva Hilary Obama Wisconsin!

The world was watching.
We did our ancestors proud.

Apprentice City Farmer
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Growing Power Growing Food

Toward a Planetary Real Food Movement

Michael Pollen has inspired the nation to “eat real food!”
Like great grandma served her family when times were good.

Milwaukee’s Will Allen and his Growing Power team
Have awakened me to the promise of front and backyards,
School yards, corner lots, old industry leand for reclamation…

For the renewal of home and community gardens,
For self-reliance, community, grace, and beauty.

And now Linn Cohen-Cole and Devinder Sharma
Are stretching my mind to our brothers and sisters
Across the planet, in cities, towns, and rural places,
North South East West…
Small organic farmers

We all need real food!
We all can learn to grow it!
Or partner with those who do.

Organic farming, permaculture aspirations.

Starting with connections in the “noosphere,”
To ennoble and protect our lives in the biosphere,
To begin with a germinating web of exchanges
On line and in the real,
Theory, practice.
Practice, theory.

Let’s rehearse a future
With an emerging planetary movement
For organic farming and organic farmers,
In the cities
In the towns
In the country.

We’re in this boat together.
We’re on these lands together.

Learning how better to love one another,
Our biosphere,
Our Life.

We now can reach out beyond our locales,
Beyond our regions, beyond state borders.

Internet empowerment for real food farmers,
For real food partners and consumers.

Looking forward to story sharing
And chaordic vision practice.
Very, very intensely.
But with humility, awe, and irony.
And fun!

Growing farms and gardens to the 7th generation,
Of grace, beauty, and justice,
With reverance for mother earth and all creatures…

As the Growing Power vision puts it,

Creating a just world,
One food-secure community
At a time.

Viva, Real Food!
Viva, healthy people and healthy food!
Viva, growing power growing food!

Humanity is One!


Sweet Red Cherry Tomatoes From Your Harambee Garden

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

Janine Arseneau’s “Delicious Revolution” Starts Poetry Jam Session

dreaming of
a delicious revolution,
from the ground up

cherry tomatoes
in their sweet red summer glory
giving up flesh and nectar

leaving seeds behind
to find their way
back into the soil
to create more
sweet little tomato treasures

softening the earth
opening hearts
nurturing spirits

sustaining us
uniting us

the transformative power
of a tiny cherry tomato

this revolution should be
televised and broadcast widely


Back to top

Looking Like Bridie’s Found Her Harvard

Happy Birthday to Bridie!
Highlights of 20th Birthday Week

Bridie Godsil with Morrey of Crown Hardware and new roofing tools
Rainbow Roofing

Leaning How To Nail Fasten Metal Flashings
And Heat Weld Membrane Seams


Two Girls and a 3/4 Ton Truck
Ready to Haul Your Stuff

Viva, Bridie Wines Godsil!

Happy 20th Birthday!

What a great and good adventure
You are making of your life!

What a joy to be part of
Bridie Rose Wines Godsil’s Life!

What fine people love you!

And thank The Friend
That you were born!

She has spent about 5 half-days with me this past couple of weeks,
Some of them in bitter cold,
Others requiring some mind/body/hand precision,
Like shooting basketballs,
Which she does so well!

A total pleasure to be with these past couple of weeks in my work rounds.
She has a peddler’s aspect the truck will serve,
E.g. buying, selling, bartering, and delivering things from
Craig’s List Milwaukee Emporium.

Looking like Bridie’s found her Harvard.

Part of her “folk” Harvard adventure will be presented at
A wiki web site master wiki gnome Tegan Dowling
Will be creating for Bridie’s 20th Birthday,
The Friend willing!

In the way that I pray, I pray the tragectory of Bridie’s last 3 seasons,
Remains with her for the next 320!

She is one of the reasons I can weep for joy
At an inside table with food and warmth for my babies,
With promise of nice bedrooms for the evening.

Dreaming of 3 generation homes for my sweet ones,
With lots of grand children picking summer raspberries
And sweet red cherry tomatoes.

Olde Godsil
Back to top

Presidential Campaigns and “Growing Power Awakening”

A “Growing Power” presidential campaign
Starts out with a Will Allen Tour
Of the first organic city farm
Of post-industrial,
Greening Milwaukee.

Nature’s magic.
City farmer work .
Combine to yield small daily miracles,
Astonishingly fresh and healthy
Veggies, fruits, fish, and fowl, and…
City Farmers!

The candidate who awakens to the promise
Of the emerging urban agriculture movement
Will win the people’s nod.

The presidency that will really, deeply matter,
Will go to the candidate who has a “Growing Power Awakening,”
While enjoying a Will Allen Tour, of his teams’
First Organic City Farm of Milwaukee,
The “City of Culture,” sooner than you think to
Offer its bounty of
10,000 city gardens
To the people of
It’s bio-region,
And training,
And inspiration,
To the people of the world.


The Emancipation of the Fourth Estate

It has been my experience in over 40 years of work
In the major movements of our time,
That the reporters of St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee,
Fargo, Denver, Brooklyn, and Detroit,
Were quite often the first people in their city
To “get” some major new social trend or fact,
To grasp the “essence” of new developments.

It is also my understanding that many of the
Best and the brightest of our nation, i.e. big city reporters,
Sometimes find themselves intellectually and spiritually challenged
By virtue of the imperatives of the cash nexus.

It is my hope that the internet may afford
A response to this challenge,
A means for small miracles in the lives
Of we citizens of the great cities of the
Great Lakes and Mississippi River regions,
With connections to our brothers and sisters
In the east, west, and southern coasts,
Reporters, the Fourth Estate, and
Citizens, alert and active.
Educating one another.
Co-creating a more graceful civilization.

The Fourth Estate?

Conversations With Bohemian Gentry?

Why Have Not Hillary, Obama, and/or Edwards
Looked into City Farming?
Are They Not Ignoring
Millions of “Locavore” Voters?

Are They Not Missing a
Costless, Creative Way
To Transform Our Health System?

Does anyone have any idea as to how it could be
That our top Democratic Three,
Have not yet understood the cancer
That is industrial agriculture?

Michael Pollan inspires in me
The concept that we are violating
Our bodies and our spirits
By a basic, “systemic” flaw
In our “food system.”

Local, organic, city farming
As pioneered by Milwaukee’s Will Allen,
Dramatically endorsed by Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley,
Is proving a creative, evolutionary response.

But somehow none of our best and brightest Democratic candidates
Has awakened to this new possibility.

Why not?

Zero Degree Day
January 2008


What a man!
What a force of nature!
Look at all he did!
Witness the fruits of his labor!

You would have had to live a while,
Alongside of Norm(to paraphrase Otis),
To have any chance
Of understanding…words won’t do!

Where to begin? What can one possibly say?

Hampton Gardens, 1952.
Tall, dark, handsome, strong, lithe, agile,
Totally at ease with his self and his body.
A friendly smile, soft spoken,
A tad shy with the straight Irish-American elders.
Warm and friendly with us little guys—second graders,
Destined to become “Betty’s Boys.”

Knock-down dead gorgeous movie star beauty wife, Betty,
Brand new apartment, the hottest possible cars
(was that the red Cadilac to Betty’s pink Studebaker era?).

Traveling at 90 to 100 mph through Illinois
To give the nation the sweetest ice cream—custard!
A professional baseball player in his 20s,
Made it as a pitcher to the St. Louis Browns for a time!

An Italian! Brother of a millionaire Italian trucker!
Played cards at high stakes with guys on the edge of …
Played golf, probably at high stakes, with others, on the edge of ???
Spent time with wife and son at great Italian restaurants,
Had, something his son’s friend’s families only dreamed of,
A night life!

Norm Tarantola introduced some kind of a Mediterranean way
To South St. Louis, just a bit beyond “The Hill.”
He sent his son Norman Jr.(“Rock”) to private Catholic schools,
St. Joan of Arc then Chaminade,
Correctly believing that a good education would
Make life easier than it had been for him.

This was in the early 1950s, when most northern European families,
Including the vast majority of St. Joan of Arc, German and Irish,
Had barely any contact with Italians, whose culture was different,
Some of it very, very much better, e.g. excellent spicy food, gardens, wine & celebrations,
Some if it a mixed blessing, e.g. explosive temper outbursts.

To be continued…

An Old Roofer’s Response to Quantum Physics’ “Zero Point Field”

May we help you…
Calm and stoke your fire?
Perfect pitch your symphony?
Manifest your most glorious selves?
Gracefully order you elegant chaos?

Thank You For the Tears of Joy

We were violently cast adrift
In the cold and briny deep, clutching
Our ship’s detritus, gasping for air.

Barely conscious face down in the sand,
Freezing shivering, vomiting water,
Bodies bruised and swollen.

After what seemed a lifetime of misery
Some rays of sun began to dry our
Clothes and bodies—we slowly awakened.

Able to open our eyes and hold our heads up,
Eventually pushed ourselves from the sand,
Knelt, crawled, and finally stood—wobbling.

We began a halting walk
Away from the sea, across the sand,
Toward higher drier land—hungry.

Past the dunes we climbed small bluffs
And spied a modest house
Set in a yard with a once painted picket fence.

The gate had no latch,
We walked past toward the porch,
Knocked on the door—no one was there.

The door knob turned,
We opened the door
And slowly walked in.

It was a lightly furnished house,
Rather recently occupied,
With some food on a kitchen table.

We gathered at that table
By windows where the warming sun
Welcomed us to sit and eat.

We looked at each other.
Smiled, then laughed,
And wept for joy.


If John Kerry Had Offered This Speech at Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home

First Draft of John Kerry Speech for Delivery at Steps of Old Main at
Soldiers Home of the Great M Idwest?, in Milwaukee, Wiconsin.

Milwaukee is becoming home to all of God’s children.
It is a lovely city
where the waters and citizens from every continent meet.

Milwaukee, like life itself, is a terrible beauty,
the scene of great tragedies, but also, of great triumphs.

It is humbling and awe-inspiring to meet with you at the Soldiers Home
of the Great Lakes and the Great Midwest, home to the sacred remains
of the gallant soldiers and families, who faced the horrors of war,
and whose finest aspect informs this gathering today.

I have chosen the Soldiers Home as one of my major Midwest
destinations, so that I and we can experience the spirit of these buildings,
where healed and died the soldiers who fought the war that ended
10,000 years of slavery in Western civilization.

These are also the buildings and the graves where
inhere the spirit of the soldiers who fought the wars that wiped the
malignancy of Hitler’s Nazism and Mussolini’s facism from the map of
Europe. And these are the buildings and the graves where will reside
the spirit of the Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting
the scourge of terrorist fundamentalisms in these times.

It is at these grounds that I wish to address the issues of war and
peace, and the issues of race and religious reconciliation.

How can we learn to be good soldiers and citizens in a just war,
without learning the lessons of the Soldiers Home?
How can we learn to be good citizens in our domestic
war against intolerance, injustice, and violence, public and private,
institutional and individual.

These 43,000 graves and these marvelous buildings that housed those
maimed and wounded by the dogs of war, speak clearly to a basic and
fundamental principle.

This great country should never go to war because we want to.
We should only go to war because we have to.

These buildings which constituted a nurturing village for our soldiers
since the Civil War era, are currently in a disgraceful state of
disrepair, largely forgotten these past 15 years. This failure inspires a second
principle to guide our collective enterprise: when we make a mistake,
when we overlook something of great importance, we must seek out a wise
response to our mistake, apologize to those harmed by it, and move on
to a brighter and more thoughtful tomorrow. It is quite human to err, to
apologize, and to move on, informed by our mistakes. It is quite
limitingto our humanity to err, evade, and continue on misguided pathways.

Let us renew these buildings and fill them with new life and new purpose.

Let us renew our foreign and domestic policy. Let America once again
embody the charisma of freedom and democracy. No more unilaterial
wars! No more rejection of treaties designed to heal our
environment. Never again Abu Ghraib!

We will reclaim the Soldiers Home for the generations. We will hear
the spirit of these fallen heroes. We will extricate this great nation
from a narrative of self-destructive fear.

Let us reclaim the narrative of hope that has served so well this
nation’s great contribution to the advance of liberty, community, and justice.

(to be continued)

Dare to Dream of Three Generation Households

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
A plenty.

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!

You Are Invited To My 100th Birthday Party

June 18, 2045 at around noon.
Bring a Friend. Bring The Friend!
We’ll start out at the Riverwest Co-op Cafe.
With a tour bus.

Great food, drink, music, and Sweet Ones!

All will merit a prize, perhaps hand crafted
Coffee table books of interviews and pictures
Of the great and modest beings who sparked some kind of
Historic Milwaukee, Great Lakes, and
Mississippi River Valley

Some kind of Upper Mississippi River Great Lakes Culture.
Growing our own food and culture.
Growing Power!

Harvesting our water and wind!
Sun power! Soil power!
Rain power!
Our power!

Cultivating healthy spirits,
Young and old.

I am hoping for your blessing and support
For adventures of the Mind and Spirit,
Following my 100th, which is past 8 a.m. that day,
Perhaps just through the food, music, dance, poetry,
And performance art that mark the day.

Or perhaps I’m by my 100th worthy of
Sacred mushrooms and the like.

In any case, the birthday party may extend beyond
June 18, 2045,
And may involve touring beyond the borders of
MyOur Milwaukee.

And, if I don’t quite make it to my 100th,
You’re invited to my funeral!

If you don’t quite make it to my 100th,
Or my funeral,
Do your best to let me know.
I’ll shed a tear for you…
You know.

Rainbow dancing in the streets,
Even those whose people
Have not danced sober in the streets
Since the dawn of the industrial age.

RSVP: sacredmushroomsifworthywhen100@milwaukeerenaissance.com

Our Hearts Are Made of Love

Don’t be afraid.

It’s ok.

You can fall in love.

You can say “I’m in love”
Even if your love
Sometimes makes you crazy.


Or would prove impossible to live
Day to day with…


Our hearts are made of love.

It’s good to be falling into love.

With one special person.

With many special persons.

In different realms of being.

In different galaxies.

In the regions of the heart.

The rich paths to the Soul.

Poetry and Prose 2007

Poetry and Prose 2006

Poetry and Prose 2005

Poetry and Prose Pre 2005

My Life’s Highest Professional Honor: The Good Word from Grace Lee Boggs

by Grace Lee Boggs
July 1, 8:35 a.m.

My friend, James Godsil, is a poet and roofer who lives in Milwaukee,and works closely with Will Allen, the retired basketball player who is known nationally and internationally for Growing Power, the 2–1/2 acre urban farm with five greenhouses which produces over 100,000 pounds of chemical-free vegetables a year and is also a fish farm.

To date, Will has taught farming and food processing to more than 1,000 students and helped launch more than 25 urban gardens, some in the poorest counties in the U.S.

For example. Sharon Adams has eliminated blight and reclaimed her Walnut Way neighborhood not far from Growing Power with youth community gardening programs developed by Will Allen.

“We’re not just growing food, we’re growing communities,” says Will.

Godsil is the webmaster for Milwaukee Renaissance and works tirelessly not only to spread the good news about Growing Power but to create a national network of urban farmers as the surest way to rebuild and respirit 21st century U,S. cities. See www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/BillSell/AnUrbanManifesto/

continued at Grace Lee Boggs

Renowned Slate Roofer and Green Trailblazer Joe Jenkins to Publish “Confessions of a Sissy Roofer in “Traditional Roofer” magazine.

This is a dream come true!

Wrote Luhrssen in the “Shepherd” re “My Milwaukee”’‘’

August 02, 2007

Jim Godsil is someone everyone in Milwaukee meets sooner or later. The intellectual roofer and soulful artisan has conducted countless campaigns by e-mail and in person on behalf of bettering local social and cultural life—calling out the treasures hidden in the city’s history, the potential of the present and the promise of the future. In a booklet of poetry that catches his visions in short, lyrical phrases, Godsil addresses his thoughts to “We Sons and Daughters/Of the Sweet Inland Seas,” the Great Lakes bioregion that might function quite well outside the orbit of Washington, D.C. Godsil’s human preoccupation with his homeland, Milwaukee, has universal resonance at a time when globalization has become the engine of global catastrophe. Gracing My Milwaukee’s cover is a painting of a local landmark, Soldier’s Home, by Shelby Keefe, another artist filled with the unique spirit of our Great Lakes city.


Denise Dee organized the presentation of “My Milwaukee” at Schwartz’ on Downer to include Dave Luhrssen’s review which may have more soul than that reviewed!

Olde Godsil

Olde Godsil at Riverwest Co-op Office, August 2, 2007
Photo by Jake Hay

Back to top

Godsil Interviewed by Julia Kolker

Confessions of a Late Comer to the Environmental Movement

60th Birthday Greetings from Family and Friends…


Last edited by godsil. Based on work by Godsil and Tyler Schuster.  Page last modified on January 23, 2020

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