Monday, December 3, 2007

How much?

I was contacted and asked to review some music by a band that travels by bike (extracycles) and so far, I like. But, one song (poem rather) really struck home and I thought I'd share while I'm still writing more on the band. It's called "How much" (Best when you listen and read- go to http://www.gingerninjas.com/howmuch.php.

How much

How much Do I care
About Peace?

Do I care
Enough about Peace
To ride
My bike to work
To not say, "It's too far"
And instead,
Just move closer?
And quit when I get there
Say Enough is Enough is
Enough
I will not work for the Man
Anymore

Do I care
Enough About Peace
To ride and ride and ride
Cleaning my mind
Until I find
A real job
Working for everywhere, everyone, everything
Else in the world?

Not real like 9 to 5
Real like keeps me alive
Not real like Peter Jennings
Real like Amy Goodman
Not real like "Somebody's gotta do it"
Real like Earth Island Institute
Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty
International, Global Exchange
South Yuba River Citizens League
Real like if I don't do it
Who the hell will?
Do I care
Enough about Peace
To admit
That all inactions are actions
And all actions are votes
Not voting is
Voting

To vote
With my mouth
With my conscience and wallet
And my ballot while I'm at it?

To Buy
All organic
All the time, always
From sheets to roses to
Underwear to sprouts?

To cause
A commotion at Safeway, say
Let me know when you make the transition
And I might reconsider my decision
To never shop here again

To digup
My chemically dependent
Heavy drinking lawn and
Replace it for good
With a permaculture garden
To share
With my neighborhood

To ship
Forty pounds of corn
And 5000 gallons of water
To my refugee pen pal in Rwanda
Every day for a year
Before eating one more mouthful of
Cow?

To build my house out of straw
Make it small
Fill it with compact florescents
Superinsulate the water heater
Make certain
Every splinter of wood is
J. Butterfly Certified?

And once I've built it
To stay home
To not fly
To forsake air travel
And its suicidal tendency
To warm
Up the world, its
Insatiable greed
For being there and
Here, on the very same day
And Fuck those little plastic cups
Anyway

To let
My fingers
Do the walking
Right out the door of
The businessasusual yellowpages
And into the National Green Pages
Every time the American in me
Can no longer resist
The urge
To consume Do I care
Enough about Peace
To de-cumulate?
To sell half,
Of my shit,
Then give half of what's left away
Today? Except for the television
Much like a landmine
Must be destroyed
Before maiming the mind
Of one more little boy

To have
Just one child

To adopt
Between one and eighty eight
And to meditate
On the origins of
Impatience, anger and hate
So that I may never yell
At any of them
Or anyone else I love
Or don't yet love

To spend
As much time with them
As I do sending
Interoffice email
At my job
Real, or not

To remember
That the truth has been found
I can't buy from Exxon
Without Prince William Sound
I can't buy from Chevron
Without hired helicopters
Gunning N'goni to the ground
Not from Shell and that little thing
With Ken Saro Wiwa
Not from the Unocals
And their Ivy League Pals
Shilling on Niteline
Promoting the new
Uzbeki, Afghani,
Osama bin Pipeline

And therefore,
To commit
To a reduction
In internal combustion?

To drink
And drink and drink
Burning gasoline
Until I feel fiery compassion
For the eternal sufferers of my
Infernal dedication
To internal combustion?
Infernal internal eternal
Combustion

To admit
I'm addicted
To my automobile
My own two little
Axles of Evil?

I keep finding myself
Back at the pump
With every finger
On the trigger

And I know in that moment that
They is me
I am them
Pushed and sucked and pumped
Through a dirty oil
Filter



Do I care
Enough about Peace
To sell
My car?

To hitchhike
But refuse to ride
In any SUV-8 commuter?
Range Rover, Range Rover
Send our black soldiers
Right over
Jesus Chrysler, Honda Krishna


I keep finding myself
Back at the outlet
Ready to plug something else in
Or check something else out

Do I care
Enough about Peace
To clothes
The Gap or at least
Stand in front of The Gap
With a picket?

To never
Set foot in
Wal-mart K-mart Ware-mart
Bi-mart Petsmart Star-mart or
Star-bucks again?
How 'bout Home Depot?

To stop
Buying clothes made of oil
Sewn by 8-year-olds in dark factories on
The other side of the planet
Sold in stores built on wetlands
Farmlands, once quiet lands
So-far-from-where-you-live lands
So hemmed in by asphalt big
Trucks broken glass and
Mufflers so underserved
By public transportation that
Driving there seems like the
Only reasonable way
To get there
But which are too cheap
To pass up?

Do I care enough
About Peace
To stop
Buying those clothes
To shop instead at thrift stores
To buy organic cotton hemp recycled
Clothes made by people I know who
Live on my street?

To acknowledge
That peace is, redwood trees standing
Peace is, worldwide family planning
Peace is, organic peach canning
Peace is, Maya Angelou in the Oval Office
Sitting at the big desk
Peace is, live music in my kitchen
Peace is, your grandma riding her bike to
The bus to the farmers market
Peace is, a living wage for the
Columbian peasant who grew
My cup
Of Coffee
Peace is, the collective self-esteem of all
The world's kids

But I've got to wondering
If you gathered all the ten-year-olds in
China, America, Afganistan, Nigeria
And Mexico City
Into one giant circle
And gathered all their self-esteem
And put it in a laser beam
Of light
And shot it into the Night
Would it make it to the Lincoln Bedroom
Would it make it
To the Moon?

Do I care
Enough about Peace
To cutup
My Discover Card and
Send it back to the bankers
Who are using my money
To erect the 3 gorges dam
To displace a million people
Brown, voiceless people
To drown the great Yangtze
And 5,000 years of cultural history
Beneath the largest chunk of cement
Ever conceived by Stanford University
Engineers

To distrust
Scientists with technological cures for
Organizational problems?
DNA cures for tomatoes that ripen
DDT cures for mosquitoes that bite
Nuclear cures for energy problems
Nuclear cures for war problems
Nuclear cures for nuclear waste problems
"This just in! Top scientists announced today
that they've found a cure for
ignorance,"
All the newsmen blared.
If Einstein was so smart
Why didn't he see we weren't ready
For MC
To be squared?


To revolt
Every time some corporation
Commits inappropriation?
Steals
A word, a plant, an idea, a gene
A famous face, mental space, sacred place, or
Sixth grade class?
Get the hell out of my watershed
Before I copyright our whole language and
Trademark your ass

To boycott
Their labels
Never worship their stars?
Carry scissors and markers and
Stand in the street
Offering on-the-spot removal of
Swooshes® from feet?

Do I care
Enough about Peace
To educate
Myself
In the Arts
Of resistance
By seeking out the real news
In Boycott Action News,
In Adbusters, WorldWatch, Mother Jones,
And Yes! Magazine?


To climb
Up the ranks
Of the Ruckus Society?

To recycle
But only as a last resort?
After reusing, retreading, reducing
Rejecting, rejoicing, and replacing our
Throwaway culture?

To wear
A plate and cup
In a cloth bag on my shoulder?
Ready to catch
Spontaneous nourishment without
Needing virgin
Old growth disposable tableware
And when the cashier say, "Paper, or Plastic?"
I'll say no
Thank you


To ask
questions about everything
I demonize, criticize
Generalize, jeopardize, ostracize, canonize
Fantasize, memorize,
Advertise or supersize?
About everything I say
I can't live without?
About everything I stand for
Sit for, work for, play for
Pray for, pay for
Live for?
About everything I eat, buy, do, make, facilitate,
Drive, consume, produce, wear, think,
Believe, value, throwaway and
Leave Behind?

Do I care
Enough about Peace
To set
Myself on fire on
Las Vegas Boulevard?


To walk
The talk?
To walk and walk and walk
To walk to the White House
To walk to Iraq
To walk to nowhere in particular
Holding a sign above my head
That says
One Walker for Peace
Ignoring mind closures and no trespassing signs
Testosterone fueled egos and
The intentionally blind
Planting tiny peace seeds in
Every fertile, bare patch of
Human mind
That I find?

Do I care enough
About Peace
To ride my bike


To work?



By Kipchoge Spencer, 2003

1 comment:

greg said...

Wow! And to do all of those things from a place of inner peace too, what an accomplishment indeed.