The Corn Mother

Tsalagi Red in the Corn FieldSelu, The Corn Mother shed seven drops of her blood and from the spots where the blood fell grew seven stalks of corn to feed the people.

Then came the white Europeans, who took Selu’s corn and used it to feed their cattle and make plastic and sweeteners, while the people went hungry. Now they have decided to use it to feed their SUVs.

Selu, The Corn Mother shed seven drops of her blood and from the spots where the blood fell grew seven stalks of corn to feed the people.

Tsalagi Red in the Corn FieldThen came the white Europeans, who took Selu’s corn and used it to feed their cattle and make plastic and sweeteners, while the people went hungry. Now they have decided to use it to feed their SUVs.

The starving people of the world? Let them eat dirt.

America’s gas-guzzling greed will drive up the price of corn and all foods for the people of the world. Grain prices in the past year have doubled as drought has increased from global warming, and as more and more land is taken out of food production for “alternative” uses.

This is capitalism, where money determines the outcome, not the needs of people. This is insanity.

Is your Jeep Cherokee more important than your Cherokee grandmother? The fools who run the world think so.

Balance

The Cherokee place a high importance on the concept of “balance” which refers to both balance with Mother Earth, and balance within the tribe, the clan, and the individual. And, of course, these are all related to one another.

Much has been out of balance lately, and I have grappled with how I can keep balance in my personal life, when everything around me seems so out of kilter. It has been difficult!

For the first time in over a year I have decided to attend a demonstration against the Iraq war on its 3rd anniversary. It’s not that my opposition to the war has lagged, in fact Roadside Bomb, the anti-war poetry group I perform with, has been actively ambushing innocent bystanders on a regular basis. It’s just that personal balance has taken priority.

Politically and environmentally, there is much to despair about in the world today. For most of my 3 decades as an activist-writer, I have swung like a manic-depressive between periods of 25-hour work days to sitting on my ass for weeks at a time, paralyzed by a feeling of hopelessness.

For the last few years, I have shifted my focus from activism to writing, deliberately avoiding any kind of commitment to social change organizations. This has brought me guilt, so I have made up for that by putting my politics into my writing.

It seems to me that demonstrations have been ineffective, largely due to the corporate control of the news media, which has become nothing more than cheerleaders for the Republican agenda. Perhaps I can make more of a difference by becoming the media which we so desperately need in this country. Or maybe I’m just kidding myself.

In any case, we do what we can do. Without some balance in our lives, that is very little.

from the skin

I enter the belly
of the cross-town train
        across from me
a young soldier
is gazing at Portland
        grim and gray
I look to see
what he is seeing
and what I see
is the crumbling
                facade
        of modernity
clinging desperately
to the old city inside
which is trying
to shed its itching skin

I’m suddenly aware
that under the plaster
lies something
closer to the truth
        old streams
that still travel their ancient course
breaking down bones
of wooley mammoths
killed by the last chthonic belch
this old tooth of a city
is
        I see
                no fossil
but some living carnivore
long thought extinct
        ravenous
like the methane beast
that waits in the bogs
beneath the Siberian permafrost
ready to devour
these latest upstarts
to challenge its dominion

in the newspaper
I read that the river
has swallowed a farmers field
        the storm
has swallowed a city
monsters have emerged
from the skin
of old and brittle men
who sacrifice to the dragon
this tender young flesh
which so willingly goes
into the gullet
                oblivious
to the flashing teeth

© 2005, duane poncy