The Wolf and the Earthworm

Evolution doesn’t mean progress. A species is as likely to evolve toward their own demise as they are to avoid it, and history might argue, more likely. So, if all our ‘advancements’ in technology, medicine, food production, hastens our ultimate extinction, well then, humans aren’t the most intelligent creature, are we? Common grass would probably outlive us. Trees almost certainly will. Nuisances like field rats and house mice and insects will benefit from the same circumstances that bury us. Worms for sure, licking their little imaginary lips at this moment. So fixated on the top of the food-chain we’ve entirely overlooked its bottom. Where decomposers make a buffet of predator and prey alike. Of course, we are all on course to be a course for bacteria, fungus, a trillion other pesky neighbors we’ve always put beneath us.

Language, considering how often it harms us, is not a positive advancement, it is a thick silence stuffed courtroom where the jury is still out and the judges are in their office pretending we can’t smell the cigar smoke. If the weapons invented last century end up annihilating us, we won’t be around to concede, but we will have lost this great argument that we are some divine, hyper intelligent transplant in this place, and common things, like houseplants, and inbred purebred dogs, and dung-beetles and dust mites, well, let’s just say they didn’t commit species wide suicide. So, the irradiated, zombie faced jury returns to their seats and the last one of them who can really stand straight enough declares the verdict.

Our kind is currently dumber than the very least of these.

Evolution does not stop with mutation, with innovation, or invention, or vagabond species escaping their nursery environs. Evolution is mutation plus time. Longevity. Sustainability. Evolution can only be determined on a timeline, and ours is frayed and wavering. We are so smart, so capable, right up until we threaten making our only world uninhabitable, and then we are so fucking stupid it hurts my stomach and makes it hard to sleep at night. We are a species plagued by emotions about which we were never given an education. Anxiety. Depression. Happiness. Fulfillment. Chemical cocktails that reduce truth to the bottleneck of our one particular, highly limited vision of ourselves. The idea that we would drop a nuclear bomb on another nation to save our own, as if that would not set a thousand wars into motion, as if our country is not floating on the same molten ocean, as if killing is not the seed of a gigantic, deep rooted, immortal killing tree.

I would sacrifice all of it, all the gadgets, the languages, the governments, the societies, for a good night’s sleep. I would turn off the lights on this moment. So that we could all see how much brighter and healthier our timeline could be. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress. And when compared to sprinting forward and never looking back, it is better evolution.

Our ancestors tried to explain this to us the best way they knew, with reductive, anthropomorphic stories, you know, our people’s preferred vehicle for deep instinctive truth. A tortoise and a hare racing toward a finish line. Spoiler alert: only one of them gets there.

Apes with big brains and too much time on their hands.

We’re sticking out sideways on a salty rock with dry patches shifting like rashes from so much tectonic scratching. Everyday we move menial amounts of dirt, and waste, and value, and paperwork, and then we go home tired, pretending there’s no tomorrow until tomorrow is honking beside the bed at six in the morning. It’s not nothing. And yet, it’s also not the something we imagined it would be.

It’s just apes with big brains and too much time on their hands, with a highly developed imitative faculty, building termite mounds and anthills, while failing to cite their sources.

We’ve invented nothing. We’ve failed at conquering our own backyards, let alone any frontiers. We are infants, evolutionarily speaking. We’re bees. Who forgot all the scavenging we’ve been doing for fifteen thousand years. We believe we’re actually shitting out honey.

We’re surprised.
Every time.
We remember why
we’re the only apes
that live in hives.

Antiquated memories

I can not bring this self to desire new life.
Not when so much stock has accumulated in the old.

I do not fear the cold.
The winter we step out from under
into open bare treetop spring.

I have no qualm with my ape ancestry.
In fact, it better explains our species.

Our tribal colorisms and regional warfare.
Our instinctive challenge to anything new,
or different, or fundamentally not already ours.
Not our fast talk and plastic cars,
dictionaries and missionaries and doctors
toiling over life and death and credit checks.
Pastors organizing potluck dinner dusting
torture tools turned clean untested symbol.

Simple, for us millennials, to pack up our stuff and run
into new towns, new habitats, new jobs and prospects
and adventures breeding misadventure.

But I can’t do it.
Am I not like my peers?
Do I not share their fears?
Their crippling paralysis in the face
of any form of honestly given criticism.

I run from nothing.
I live where a death framed family lived
farm where they did
rusted old half-broken tools.

I prefer used.

Even wasted. Tedious. Outdated.
My life is not for the new.
Because there has never been such a thing.

Just perception. Since there was ever an us,
there has been one-sided perspective.
It defines our lives.

To the point we started building fences
just to make for greener grass
on the other side.

The Legacy.

Here now I can’t even say God made me anymore.
Made my eyes and ears and hopes and fears.
Here now, I must be the one who counts.
Counted on accounting for his own self, sake and form.
They tell me there is more to the word I
than meets the eye or nose or ears though.

Apparently, I is a legacy.

I is a line of time creased in several billion places
or so the story goes, but I all the same.
Throughout every age. Stage.
From gill-bearing fetus to Madison Square Garden
to adolescence and the Grand Ole Opry
of a good midlife crisis. All sorts of stages. Many forms.
Enough years you need to come up with different words for them.

Millennia is just the beginning.
Millennial won’t come close to touching the end.

There may have come a time in which I chose to die.
When passing on and leaving behind served
successive generations far more than what
I could have ever done with mine.

My time with I.
How many of us have been poured out into that letter is unknowable.
But how many of us have woken up into it can be counted like single petals
on a solitary head of an ox eyed daisy.

We sit, and for almost no reason commit the treason
of refusing to blame God for existence.
For in it, there is I.

My eyes and ears and hopes and fears.

What makes me who I am today
is who I have been for a billion years.

Modern Christianity – Old Journals

Can the livestock lie down with the wolf?
A lamb of short cut wool. Nude colored
and halved black hoof tapping shoals noisily in the dark.
Stalked by the wolf black as night, red in tooth
a blood matted mouth, grinning. A greeting
only to the innocent glowing white lamb,
friend to friend.

How can it be? The lamb remained a lamb bald and weak,
small and sleek. Or has the world worked hard hungry hands
over the offering? The grass fed sacrifice, reshaped dense,
sharpened bones into slicked back horns,
tiny trembling feet raised cloven hammers,
pounding ground and snorting dust and air.
Our innocent lamb now works and bleats to inspire fear. Pure no longer.
Tough and mean, still convinced beneath a thick skull it appears to be meek.

And the wolf, a beast howling hunger up at a full round moon,
a predator pitifully calling on company gurgled out a vertical throat,
outpouring pain and a gut wrench of sorrow. A friend with a voice also,
conscious of harmony, listening with sympathy, at songs sung lonelily.
Sweet, uplifting tones when times are good, and behavior tame, otherwise,
there is an ape in place of our angel, whose fists lay down lessons of pain,
obedience, trembling submission only to wait a little while,
and then call student come crawl deep beneath covers and cuddle. Embraced.
In the same soft arms that were just hard, tense, hands formed of fists,
capable now of good thorough petting.

The mythological hunter, once roaming and stalking in tight-knit droves,
has been reshaped into a pet, brown eyes for Man. Batting and staring.
Hungry to please, begging for scraps, sharing the fleas.

And the lamb is grown into a ram, lunging before a hyper dog’s raised ears,
wildly smiling while the sheep rears. Both give and take. Equally tease.
Playing games and ignoring the other’s presence with ease.

But when those ancient voices speak up now in an animal’s mindset,
it has become the wolf who lies down to the lamb on its hind legs.

Of Man and Mirrors

At first, self awareness always feels like the world is ending.
But that is not what is happening here.

We are witnessing the birth of our first population-wide form of self-awareness.
We glimpsed ourselves as a species. And it has given all of us an identity crisis.

This is not the end of the world.

It is the cultural equivalent of what most animals do when seeing their reflection for the first time. These are the birthing pains of new consciousness.

A great reckoning of Man and mirrors.