Before the End of the World Message to Daughter

mangled beauty of lichens
garlands on rot, cedar to the skies:

my host is soil, earth, shadow, sun
douglas firs rotund, towering
flash of light, crawling ferns
tapping woodpeckers
touch my shape
three hundred years growing
imagine droplets twenty feet down
prodded by fungi, bacteria
the heights of machu picchu
inglorious compared to lightning
growth from seed to forest
sentinel, dizzying Hominids
as they gather gravity backwards
wondering why magic like this
easily cut to the stump
bulldozed into malls

I feel burn, 61 years almost
climbing alone, Eagle Fern Park
sad testament to “postage stamp
County park,” yet I go hard, no stops
licorice ferns, red alder, Pacific yew
old growth they say
roads down below, that eagle creek
rambling, some sense of where
heart and respiration go
into space
leaving behind digital duncery
hoping for some epipheny
yet soil wet, bracken and lady ferns

dreaming, the senses go electric
lightning synapses, groping
memory, yet seed to egg
child trapped in vortex
we celebrate as much
as is human, flooding
gates of consumerism

we can rejoice with atheistic
solidity, giving space
to history, natural forces
the hurly-burly of dna
monkey or mouse
snail or Einstein
we are one, yet in books
TV, forced annihilation, we
only see messed up prophets
sloven, uncaring of nature
flat poets, lives lived in sketch
books, yet salamander, red-backed vole
holier than thou, so old man
covers few scant miles
smiles, pokes, prodes
stick in hand, wondering, wandering
daughter not by side
the smile in the heart,
flooding huckleberry, salmon berry
anything but this homo sapiens
gas guzzling suicide

Note:  See here, here, here.

Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. He organized Part-time faulty in Washington State. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his autobiography, weekly or bi-weekly musings and hard hitting work in chapter installments, at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam, coming out Jan. 2020 from Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.