Where The Wild People Live

The full moon rises. Another night of song and prayer. Howls echo into the night as mother moon reaches her maxim. Drums are the driving force. Fireworks burst in the night time sky.

All day there are chainsaws resounding across the camps. Groups of people chopping large woodpiles for their neighbors in preparation for the coming snows. Yurts and teepees going up filling every open space. 

Daily actions drive out in caravans to disrupt DAPL’s construction. Those that return tell stories of great strength and peaceful resolve through extreme conflict. Armed DAPL workers that pull out their guns and threaten the Water Protectors. National guard lined up in riot gear. Water Protectors being jailed in dog kennels. Twenty hours spent imprisoned by a police force that is utterly disorganized in their attempt to control the will of the people.

At sunset, my uncles strip down and dive into the freezing waters of Cannonball River. They shout, “In the spirit of Crazy Horse! In the spirit of Sitting Bull!” as they resurface. The river reflects the purple-orange of northern heavens.

A somber note is in the Hayukka Camp. Clowns feel as much sadness as everyone else, if not more. They feel it all, whatever it is. 

News that the pipeline is almost 100% complete in North Dakota has reached the front page of the Bismark Times. Everyone holds their breath that there will be a continued halt to construction as the Army Corps continues to not approve a permit for construction underneath the Missouri River.

The Bismark Times says the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is going to go ahead with construction anyway. They can afford to pay the fines. They even offer to pay the $10 million in expenses that Morton County has incurred arresting everyone.

This is where this country is these days. The only penalties banks and corporations face are monetary, and they have so much amassed wealth no fine is too much to stop them.

Where are the People to hold these tyrants accountable? You think politicians have any control of these bullies? When are the People going to rise up and demand change?

Iceland is a small island. And yet after the financial collapse they had millions in the streets. Within weeks the bankers that caused the collapse were in jail. A new government was in place. Now they are one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, with the Pirate Party making gains each election in Parliament.

It doesn’t take much for social change. It takes the people trusting their own power. It takes getting rid of cynicism and despair. It takes warriors investing in their hearts.

Standing Rock is where these warriors are born. It is where the wild people live. The last people willing to take risks to save the water where all life comes from. It is a native movement that has encouraged others wanting to find their roots to dig in deep.

Communication is key here. The white way of talking has ruled this country for far too long. Man comes up and tells Other Man what to do. Other Man responds by arguing a better way of action. Both Men spend more time arguing than doing anything.

Here that doesn’t happen. Nightly, the conversation over the fire is about letting go of this old way of talking. Letting go of this toxic masculinity. Listening and showing respect.

Grandfather walks up to the Sacred Fire. The fire goes quiet to listen. Grandfather taps the fire with his staff and says, “This fire. These rocks. This river. These have been here. A long time. These people. We come here to learn the old ways. The ways of our relatives. The ways of this earth. This ground. These stars. The people come to the earth. They ask for her lessons. This is the way it was told. This is what we find here.”

The youth lead the charge. The elders are there with them. The clowns provide distractions to disrupt the Black Snake, so that the rest can continue to take action. The rest learn how to live without the Black Snake’s influence.

Two nights ago, I dreamt of the Black Snake. He had all my relatives entangled in his long winding scales. But he was not invincible. He was not indestructible. In the dream, I was close to defeating him. Another swipe of my sword and he would have fallen.

Life, unfortunately, is destructible. And we must protect it or fail ourselves.

Where The Wild People Live

The Ruins of Ireland

As I walk in the ruins of Vikings, Druids, Celts, and early Christians, my mind is in bits at how frequent this green land was attacked and often conquered. Yet all of this history still remains perfectly intact. A little worn by the weather, but otherwise mostly untouched. 

It seems surreal that so many folks came after this emerald jewel in the sea. A country with no physical borders, no unfriendly neighbors except for the clans within. No real resources beyond rocks, potatoes, rain, and abundance of green grass. And far away from all the action going on back in Europe. It’s hard to see what the practical attraction must’ve been all the way back then.

And yet, there’s a special magic that floats free in the rolling green hills of Ireland. Maybe that’s what those ancient conquerors were after all along. A spell cast by the goddess or the kiss of some ancient fairy maiden. And the new that came and replaced the old, often carried with them even more radical superstitions than those that had preceded them.

We can thank this type of superstition for the preservation of ancient ring forts from 3000 or 5000 BC and the old Druid faerie rings teaming with the human sacrifices of prehistoric times and the early celtic burial mounds complete with the head stone still standing where a shaman once stood and conducted the sun to rise and even the thousand year old Celtic crosses and earlier Celtic grave markers spread all across the land with no special distinction, sometimes penned in with a farmer’s sheep, or other times left at the center of an expansive castle garden, or other times in a well-cared for grove of Willow trees just on the edge of town, or perhaps the whole town just laid out later to surround these ruins in an effort to leave them undisturbed.

Even at the medieval cathedrals you’ll often find the ruins of the early Christian church that preceded it, and sometimes, you’ll even find a beehive monastery built by early Celtic monks that preceded that. All of them the most insane rock balances you’ve ever even imagined.
It’s interesting to think what the US would look like today if its first settlers had paid heed to a similar kind of special attention deserved by an indigineous burial ground or the ancient monuments and natural formations that must’ve dominated the landscape before we were there. If only those early invaders had actually paid attention to the curses cast by disruption suggested by the tribes who spent millenia cultivating these sacred places. 

Instead of fearing faeries or a witch’s spell as the Irish often did, these first Puritans used whatever was in their capacity to bulldoze through history. The same has stayed true in the country as it has planned its cities and engaged in suburban development, for the better part of the last four centuries.

The US is a young country, as a result, and the idea of preservation there is less than a hundred years old. “Historical societies” have only started gaining a buzz in the last half century. Sure, we hold onto a bell that’s got a crack in it from 1812 and a yellowed piece of paper that supposedly signed our freedom from a little while longer, but otherwise for some reason we’ve decided it’s smarter to tear things down before building new ones. That lack of respect for time and growth ripples on down through the rest of our society.

I mean, what’s the oldest thing you’ve ever seen in the states? I’ve been to cave dwellings that were built sometime around 1000 AD. The only reason they’re still there is they’re in the middle of the desert and hard to get to. Meanwhile since they’ve become more accessible, folks started right away with the graffiti and defacement of a child with a crayon and a clean white wall. 

I don’t understand the type of mind that would carve their name directly into a thousands year old petroglyph of a bear chased by a hunter, but I’ve seen it. Didn’t that idiot think about how by carving directly into an ancient image, their stupidity is on display for all to see for the rest of time, and with their name, no less! Thanks Mark of 1996.

I’ve been to the mountains and rivers and forests and plains that surround these sacred places and they face no greater a fate. Places that have taken eons to form are completely deforested and strip-mined for the sake of a quick “profit”. Things going to hell, thanks to the bastards in a matter of years long before I lived. All of these hills and mountains and southwestern deserts and temperate rain forests are scarred with a ghost town industry. 

As soon as coal, oil, precious metals, or lumber is found, whatever corporation steps right in with no regard for the land or the people that have lived there almost as long as the land, leaving toxic sludge and other refuse in their wake. And what’s not taken by the corporate interests is nicked later by random visitors. Folks who like pretty stones or petrified wood or artifacts from prehistoric times. I can only guess how shortly lived a ring fort discovered in the suburbs of New Jersey would be. Folks would be showing up at all hours of the night removing each and every stone for their private collection.

All of this is clearly obvious to everyone, and yet it continues. A nation of useless waste and self involvement.

Based on this I wouldn’t say it’s a long shot, that we got the current political predicament. The current social strife. We’re a nation that can’t even keep track of what short history we have. We bulldoze right over it every time. Of course, it’s going to repeat itself. We don’t have anything concrete to use to teach our youth about which paths have already been tried and been proven not beneficial to anyone. Racism, financial collapse, and Donald Trump are still a thing because no one alive seems to remember the civil rights movement, the Great Depression, or World War 2. Most folks don’t even understand that we’re all immigrants there. They forget that we all sailed in on a boat not long ago.

The Celts and Native Americans were able to remember their entire origins to this day through an oral tradition and ritualization of their ancestors, and yet we can’t even remember that racists, bankers, and Nazis are not only bastards, but they were already defeated, only a few decades ago.

All of it is just really full of perspective out here in this land of revelry. 10,000 years or more of invaders and yet the things from then that have disappeared went away mostly on their own accord. 
Rock does eventually erode. Wood disintegrates.

There’s a big difference there compared to a corporation bulldozing it all to make way for a parking lot or mini mall or a highway. Here in Ireland, they mostly just build around it or add to it. Or if it’s a ring fort they might just build a castle garden on top of it, where the rock circles become the foundation for flower beds.

The old Celts buried below must be rolling in their graves tickled with floral jubilee.

I’m not going to say it’s better here (though the grass IS greener). It’s still the Western world. There’s war. There’s poverty. There’s even a stronger Christian right wing here than in the US, successfully stripping away a woman’s right to choose. But shite, at least they have their roots.

The Ruins of Ireland

The Lessons of the Crow

For the last year, The Crow has been telling me our planet is into its last stage of suffering. It’s only a moment before we pass the point of no return and the whole thing tosses us off of it. In many ways we’re already there.

I’ve seen it across the country in the form of waste. From landfill along the highways to deforestation and strip mining in our national parks. In East Texas, they hand you an over-cooked hamburger in a styrofoam container 5 times a normal size, with a plastic bag and a handful of bleached white napkins. On the Oregon and Californian coastlines there are the dead bodies of seals and sea birds decaying slowly, their guts full of plastics and no one notices. Back home in Philly, I’ve watched folks unload an entire car trunk’s worth of garbage bags in the abandoned lots of East Kensington only to have them open up days later scattering tons of plastic and paper product into the wind and across the sidewalks into the local ecosystem.

I’ve seen it everywhere and I’m no saint. I propel my poetry tours upon the ignited fumes of a fossil record that reaches back eons. And I, a storyteller, know nothing of its history. I, like everyone, have been taught to fill the tank without asking questions about where the fuel comes from. Right now each gallon comes cheap and I know it’s at the expense of some sacred waterway in North Dakota or a child’s life in the Middle East.

Yet, I keep going. We all keep contributing. This endless cycle has no end in sight.

That’s the reality.

The Fool in me sees the other side to this blunt truth. He sees that dreams can be manifested. He believes in The Artist and The Poet, and their abilities to create new realities. He sees The Crow, and says, “Well, there must be some reason The Crow is talking to me specifically, and not only that…He’s talking to other folks in my tribe as well. There must be some reason all of us in particular are even noticing.”

And then it clicks, and it’s pretty simple. It’s that we are the solutions that we seek, and all of this can be remedied if people like us continue to wake up to it.

I’m all about social activism. But the Earth is my number one bae. She doesn’t get enough attention in this current hierarchy of things that need to be fixed. I wish that were differrent. The warning signs are all there and it’s up to us whether or not to use them to empower ourselves and our home planet into a brighter future.

The industrial revolution is over, it’s time for a rêvolution of heart.

Anyway, Happy Earth Day, friends!

The Lessons of the Crow

BECOME A PATRON TO MY POETRY!

Donate $1 a month to my Patreon campaign, and have full access to my forthcoming release, Travel By Haiku: Still Trippin’ Across the States. It’s as easy as that!

marshalldeerfield3

Happy New Year, everyone!

Just a little update for 2016: I’ve got good news from the writing room! All 5 volumes of my next book, Travel By Haiku -> Volumes 1 through 5: Still Trippin’ Across the States, are officially drafted. Now, they’re not quite done or nearly as pretty as I’d like them to be, but all those hundreds and hundreds of haikus written from my travels over the last year are finally narrowed down and organized onto the page, ready for editing. Also this means I‘m ready to move on to sifting through the thousands of photos I took on the road to find the 10-20 best to accompany the pages of the book. It feels great to be taking a break from sculpting words and moving onto the images of all these landscapes that inspired me so much this last year.

In the meantime, I’ve added all five volumes of Travel By Haiku to the documents section of my Patreon account. For $1 a month you can have full access to these rough drafts and watch the writing process unfold, as I continue to update them. $1 a month goes a really long way, as I save up for my next trip across the country. All donations will go towards expenses encountered while making merch for the next tour. This includes the production of new books, new t-shirts, mix tapes, etc.

There are other rewards too, if you’d like to donate a little more. For $5 a month you’ll have access to all of my previously published and soon-to-be published short stories. This includes all of the stories from Fire. Sun. Salutation., as well as short stories that you might’ve heard during my last book tour, about travels in California, but aren’t actually published anywhere yet.

I’ve tried to make these rewards make a little more sense, as well as add to them. Essentially, I’ve made it so my writing is behind a “paywall”, which is exciting to me because it means I can share it, without devaluing it, and yet with the power of crowdsourcing the overall price is very little for each individual.

There’s other rewards too like me helping you write and edit your next short story/novella and monthly postcards sent to you or someone you love. And I don’t think anyone will take me up on this, at the moment, but for $50 a month, I’ll even take you on your next road trip! That’s right, I’ll be your Neal Cassidy to your Ken Kesey magic bus ride. Together we’ll live out the story of our generation and find the American Dream!

So take some time and check things out. Volume 1 of Travel By Haiku is available now for anyone to check out, as a free sample. It’s the shortest chapter of the forthcoming book (the other chapters are double and triple in length), but it also has some of my favorite haikus. For example:

The Sea: Never in
any rush to get any place
but always on time.

You can read through the rest by going to my Patreon campaign page and clicking “Creator Posts”, then scroll down, and you should find it.

Thanks all and much love,
Marshall James Kavanaugh

BECOME A PATRON TO MY POETRY!