Is it beautiful
where you live,
in the ocean both dark and deep?
It is a strange world, yours. With currents and tides and sand instead of soil.
But then, my world
on dry land
is strange also,
to one accustomed to a life lived in the water.
I once saw a skeleton,
belonging to one of your kind
hanging from the ceiling
of some great museum.
Inside the spot where your
flipper would be
there were the fine bones of a hand
just like mine.
lifting that enormous skeleton
of your ancestor
from its great height
in the air
and carrying it
over the land
to the sea
and releasing it
into the waves.
A proper burial
for a citizen of the deep.
There is no way to warn
No words and no way to tell you
that those jelly- fish-like creatures
moving in the currents
are not actually alive.
No way to explain to your
intelligent and thoughtful mind
that what you are seeing
swirling through your home,
tangling around your children,
mixing with your precious food
created by a culture
forever stuck in the moment,
ravenous and devouring,
and unable to learn from our mistakes.
So that even as your people
with the slick, gray backs,
and beautiful, sad eyes
wash onto shores
with bellies filled with trash,
asking for help,
we refuse to change our ways
and instead look the other way
with money we don’t have
and throwing it away
so that the whole planet is choking on our
How can I explain it to you
when I don’t understand it myself?
Or maybe you already do know
that those floating
streams of junk
but are helpless to
stop the debris
from entering your mouth
as you swallow great gulps of the tiniest krill.
your people are
with a message so important
that they are willing to sacrifice their own lives
to send us a plea
written in the contents
of their giant stomachs
filled to the brim
How could I explain?
How could one
who can carry out conversations with loved ones hundreds of miles away
using ancient underwater
howlings of songs
why our people
refuse to listen?
And the worst of it,
that even if I could stand next to the heaving flank of one so ancient and wise
and whisper apologies
it would still be a lie,
simple words to make me feel better.
Because I’m one of the monsters
with plastic in my house, on the packaging of the things I buy, in my children’s toys
and on this dumb contraption I’m sitting here
writing these pointless words on.
Even if my salty tears mixed with the water still drying on the back of the great beached whale with belly full of plastic crying help,
even if I fell to my knees and begged for forgiveness,
it would not change the fact that I am as guilty as anyone else
of poisoning, and defiling, and polluting
a world I can admit I know very little about.
And that’s what keeps me awake at night
and sends chills up my spine,
has me sitting at this computer
night after night
hoping to make sense of it all.
I’m as guilty as the rest of them.
So how can I explain?
I’d ask for your forgiveness whales,
but I know I don’t deserve it.
I am so, so sorry.
I love you.
Thank you for listening,
I love you Sarah because you love this earth with an almost frightening fierceness my own heart recognizes. Thank you for thinking about the bees. Thank you for writing about them, writing for them. Thank you for loving the world with your beautiful, and broken heart. Mine is beautiful and broken too.
Here is a guest piece by Sarah Henry, activist, poet, earthling, and my friend. Thank you Sarah!
Beehives: Natural beehives are naturally occurring structures occupied by honeybee colonies, such as hollowed-out trees, while domesticated honeybees live in man-made beehives
“If Prussia can pervert the benign influences of education to the support of arbitrary power, we can surely employ them for the support and perpetuation of republican institutions.”
Horace Mann ‘Father of Education’, Seventh Annual Report to The
Massachusetts Board of Education 1843
“Our family survived it,” said Charmaine Shawana, a member of the tribal council. “That’s our story. That’s where we come from. We’re remarkable because we survived it. They tried to assimilate us, but they couldn’t.”
Adrian Hedden, Under the shadow of history: Abandoned Native
American boarding school brings to light one tribe’s struggles
“The problem is that you can’t have progress this way; especially in the sciences and engineering. That’s a problem because corporations need science and engineering. If you don’t have innovation, you’re really in trouble. So they have to encourage creativity, and independence because you can’t just copy what someone else told you; – you have to be challenging things all the time, challenging everything, thinking new thoughts. And there you’ve got a real contradiction. It’s hard to train people to be challenging and creative, yet ensure somewhere else in their lives they’re conformists, obedient, and never think.”
Noam Chomsky, Education is a System of Indoctrination of the
the hive: part 1
in the prisons called public schools
i’m a substitute;
which means i show up late-
with too many things-
overflowing from a tote bag-
looking like an extinct animal.
and the kids
cry when they’re supposed to laugh-
laugh when they’re supposed to cry-
little moon faces!
question mark eyes…
i can’t pretend that i don’t see you-
under the bad,
really bad lights
that hurt our insides…
let’s run outside-
loops around the crazies,
push push cars…
we’ll sing songs like the bees!
and make paper
from the sky…
because reading isn’t coal mining
and math isn’t cement casings for a bloody gas line