Wednesday, 13 of December of 2017

Category » Karen Coulter

Karen Coulter – Friendly Takeovers


Alex-Martinez-2It happens as soon as you turn your back–
the eminent domain seizure of “your” land
Nature filling the void.
If I stop lighting fires in the woodstove
as the weather first warms
by the next cold snap
it may be too late–
bluebirds or blackbirds nesting in the stovepipe
the little ones already peeping
if I leave a wheelbarrow overturned
in the lower garden
because a tire’s gone flat
the next time I think of resurrecting it,
casually flip it over as if I’m in charge,
there’s a thriving ant colony underneath
filling the entire space
and I have to flip it back over
when I return from a week in the forest
and go to the outhouse the next morning
two yellowjackets buzz at me warily
el-mundo-magazine_twwu-lisbon-bridgefrom newly created hexagons of hives
so I have to use the old outhouse up the hill
after my next time away
I can’t open the small cooler any more
because during three days
an enterprising mama spider
wove three nursery webs
out from the handle
and the little ones,
so tiny I have to strain my old eyes
to see them,
are already unfolding their legs
for the exodus
to take over the whole place.
Of course theres also the small green tree frogs
resting with the wild mushrooms
in the cool damp root cellar,
sometimes the big brown toad
or the yellow and red-striped garter snake
in the water trough
the thirty or so deer feeding in the grass all night
leaving pressed down grass beds
for me to find,
the cottontail rabbit I see
Laid-Backif I’m up early enough in the morning
scavenging left over dogfood
down by the trailer,
the woodrat once again
making chaos of spilled compost,
gnawed bread loaf
fallen dishes,
leaving a characteristic stink
in the kitchen.
the huge great horned owl
roosting somehow inside
the chicken coop
after its feast
staring at me with bewitching gold eyes
clinging firmly to the wire mesh
with talons
that could rip my face off
but don’t…
what else should I expect?
I’m over half a century old,
reassured by thoughts
of leaving the earth
for the next generation–
of birds, ants, yellowjackets, spiders,
frogs, toads, snakes, deer, rabbits, woodrats and owls.

Karen Coulter
July-August 2009 Earth First!

Karen Coulter – My Mother, The Earth

She is letting them take her away
to the surgeons’ knives
uncomplaining, saying it’s better than continuing
in excruciating pain
better to leave us to perpetuate life,
indignity tormenting.
Scars already almost meet
across her body
where her ankle structure was broken
then awkwardly repinned together
where the toxins created gall stones–
a deep slash across her belly
and the removal of her life-giving,
an invisible wound deep within.
The strain of surviving the mad rushing poisoned society
making brittle the fluid sliding joints,
creaking the once sensual movements–
rotations of earth on its axis,
the subtle tilting thrown askew.
Body failing to move, the blood can thicken,
clots bumping their way through narrow passages
to hearts and lungs, the intricate cycles
of breaking, pulsing delight and wonder
which gave birth to me
as to all my relations–
the algae growing in the sea,
the dolphins dancing,
bursting from depths to sky
in a shower of sparkling spray.
My mother knows all this
and smiles to me
as the boy with the stretcher says,
“You’ll have to say goodbye now.”
She purses her lips to kiss me
my hot tears start to well and spill
for the first time in her presence
as I touch her
and she is wheeled away
out of my control, my care
for she has chosen to risk dissolution
over contrived suffering.
She is everyone’s mother.
We are grown now, old enough to know–
I can’t allow her smile of hope to fade,
must learn from the earth while there is time–
and you?
With only one,
the ashes are scattered–
a lonely home,
then none
Karen Coulter
August 11, 1994

1 comment

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