Sarowak in Santa Fe

A new decade, 1990
and we’re gathered in a big room
in Santa Fe, white people listening to the white traveler
who’s just returned from the rainforest of Sarawak, Malaysia
a slide show and a mission
to showcase
160 million years of bats flying whirlpool circles at dusk
wide river sailing under a green sky
where vines, entwined, climb to heaven
he’s raising money to stop
the destruction of creation
the blade with the teeth and the legless crushing bulldozer
who’ve come down from some myth
curse of steel burns the earth
chains and the company cut it all down
with a violence unknown to the green
Warped, cunning power exposes the sky
the mountains and rivers spill stunned, senseless
While we, in the big room, lost to the Life
stare at paper maps, at vdos of original earth, at cold numbers
we in the rich world, helpless to understand
no room big enough to begin
and not the kind of mind to understand anymore

Disposable chopsticks, he says,
one billion pairs a year
made from this rainforest
How many pairs of disposable chopsticks in 160 million years?
How many in Borneo?
And concrete forms, used once, thrown away
in 160 million years, no concept of “away”.

Footsteps on the path
brown eyes in brown faces, heavy as cracking limbs and severed trunks
these people say “don’t build the camp near a rotting tree”
every rotting tree waiting to fall
silent giants stranded helplessly in paradise
sentenced to be stacked lumber in somebody’s yard
far from this emptying place
It’s a warning.

Sunlight in the leaves
disposable chopsticks
who chooses for the green?
Who has the will to kill the steel and defend our mother
—who even notices?
Up against the howling wall
we grow intimate with waste
the fire burns steady, invisible
but for the green smoke, the rootless mud
Sahara dust on which we all choke writing checks
Writing checks to withered Eden, writing checks to save the earth
paying gold to gain elbow room in a refugee camp
shopping for imported things
witnessing super breeder reactors
hunger of strip mines and space-stations in the dead zone
Silent before the decimation of songbirds
and the fine mist that poisons breakfast here in the big room
tiny soulful international outcry circles
like those whirlpool bats
casting shadows on the waters
remembering ecstasy

Akashic spiritual readings, rose quartz ascension chambers
hypnotherapy for breast enlargement
holotropic synchronization, hawiian temple bodywork intensives
inner higher master consciousness
the guru says
‘the whole thing of enlightenment is gaining a permanent smile.’

Hurtling towards the crises of crises
Can you bring back one species with your permanent smile?
Can you bring back a thousand rainforests?

Overnight healing, accelerated information processing, bioenergetic contemplation
Interplanetary divine government seminars, white eagle holistic dentristy
Feldenkrais, rolfing, diamond approach, metanoiesis
Become light, attract your shaman soul mate
Organic colonics, the dolphin dreamtime
Feng shui— arrange your personal space
in perfect harmony as the world dies in flames around your house.

One thinnest seam of dark blue light barely breathing
Soul stuck like concrete to disposable tropics
Don’t give me that New Age metaphysical shit
fuck your light visualizations!
deal with the darkness first
Don’t even talk to me
unless you can give the earth back an elephant, one blue whale
the final tiger
Why are we still here heading towards dessert?
What will it take to stop stuffing ourselves?

Footsteps on the path
sunlight in the leaves
who remembers ecstasy?
Tomorrow dying at our blissed-out birkenstocks
in a room in a building in a city in an empire bloated senseless
and starving for meaning
for one measure of forever
What shall we do, Wisdom?
Don’t build the camp near a rotting tree.

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