Farm. Or be Farmed

The farmer kills chickens when he is hungry, and Japanese beetles,
when they are too, clipping his corn. The farmer still does it.
Crushing shiny bodies between finger and thumb. Red guts.
Wiped on long wagging green tongues. But the beetles keep on.
Out around twelve, more toward dusk. Man has a husk. Armor.
Which can be pierced, eaten into, through.
And chickens, beetles, they do too.

I suppose the farmer feels bitten. Harmed.
And this is why he ends them all. Big or small.

Farm or be farmed.

The Freest Labor

Start building your farm in your brain. Don’t wait for land or lumber. When each nail is set, it damages the wood. Change is not the nature of nails. They’re not meant to walk back. So hold off on the expensive heavy stuff until you’ve done the brain work. Bricks lighter than light and concrete clouds that flash up and move on like summer storms. Learn. Slide up eyelids like barn doors wipe across wide short open mouths, spitting out horses and cows, and goats in molecular droves. Listen. To the names of creeks.
Legends recorded in no legends.
Word of mouth myths. Tell one story to every twenty. Farmers will give away their life’s works secrets for ten minutes of real committed roadside conversation. Don’t waste it.
Don’t wait to taste it. Don’t make them regret it.

Start your garden in your brain. Till it.
Invite the stories and criticisms of other farms in to disc it.
Commit to learn. And to listen.

Dream. Not the kind that find you asleep.
But ones that wake before the sun is up.
Dreams that wait at the bottom of a coffee cup.
Build it. Write it. In the cheapest journal ever sold.
Brain paper. Mind stuff. The freest labor. Human thought.

I like to say, if you lack perspective, you require imagination.
One or the other.

That’s one of the primary problems with human imagination.
It makes it hard finding a good excuse to wait to start anything.


The heart is a fickle organ. Played on by fingers and footsteps on pedals. We must have evolved to be emotional. I do not believe it is a curse. Or a mistake. And surely not an accident. More of a special sort of unignorable compass. Believing someone is emotionless is like thinking nothing is living in a house because there aren’t any lights on. We dress up our bodies. We play dress up personalities. No matter the costume, some form of metaphysical underwear underneath. There are places inside of everyone you will never see. And you really don’t want to either. Every whisper of the heart. Each fear inside the mind. Judgment. Criticism. Thoughts we try to shake out of our heads when we have them. They have us.

We’re a pile of fickle organs.

Flighty. Transparent. Predictable. Emotional. Especially the men. The patriarchy is still parading around the living room sporting a pair of crotch stained tighty whities. Barely covering what no one wants to see. I’ve been there. I live there. All good writing is a confession. You see your strength. We see your self-esteem. Our society in entirety has issues with self-esteem. We were never educated in appropriate emotional vocabulary.

No one ever told you your feelings are a special sort of compass.

But a compass is like the two year old infant of navigational devices. Flighty. Divisive. Devicive. Defiant. Just because that fickle little heart of yours declares north does not mean mountains and oceans don’t stand in your path.

You will eventually have to go out of your way to continue your way.
You’re going to have to compromise with your own self a little bit every day.

And learn. That to listen.
Is different than to obey.

The human heart is a fickle thing.
It was never meant to show right or wrong.
It just points north.

If you also own a shovel

If you fell out of it, it wasn’t love.

If you lost it, it wasn’t love.

If it waited for your sight, if you had to use your eyes, it wasn’t love, at least not at first.

There is no such thing as puppy love. There are no lovebirds.

Let’s say something poetically asinine, like love is a flower. I ask, what is a flower?

Do roses not have thorns? Do plants not feed on decay? Are there not many completely crucial elements required for flowers that you would not call beautiful, that you would not recognize, or think of as desirable?

Love. My mother has it. But not all mothers. Love. The same farm that produces milk also creates a lot of filth. And who wants that? Who wants to know the true, putrid cost of all the things we really like a lot? I can tell this with confidence, there aren’t many of us.

It is not love if you refuse to recognize the cost. I love my child, but he will not remain a child. He is not just his wonderfully sly side smile. There are smells that come out of him that would earn the respect of a skunk. I love him, as a child, all the while, I dream of the man he will be. A man who, by all means, may not want to be like me.

Love is different from comfort, or happiness, or joy, or appreciation. Love has a dishrag in its hand already, ready to clean up after all those things.

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Is it clear just how rare true love really is?

It is hard work.

How many people have you met who say they love hard work?

That is how many people you have met who have loved.