The backstory for this poem stems from the industrial backdrop of the photo below. Not that industrial is evil. It is just suffocating the tropical permaculture garden we’ve planted on campus at UMiami. There’s a reflective metallic container just to the right of the big gravel heap, in the far back of the photo. That’s where the hose and water pump are. The contracted company hired by UM to build a road through campus excavated the ground between the garden and water pump. They’ve cut out the pipe feeding water to the irrigation system for not only the garden, but the arboretum here as well.
We’re against the odds, machines of brute power, Dr Doofenshmirtz, and Team Rocket. As the hose putters out a stream so feeble that my own stream would put it to shame, the plants voraciously lap up the trickle that sustains their growth, and our own at the same time.
Why the garden can’t fail:
I’ll have to get my kale from Canada.
The worms will swim away.
The sun will rise and find ashy grass
Where life once held sway.
And the human body, adrift again,
Will feed off cultural whims
Looking at mother’s brown breast
As a scoop of ice cream
Brutishly fondled and dribbling down creased chins.
All I want
Is to go to bed at night
And sing the rose’s lullaby
Into the ecstatic depth of merging earth and sky
So set the mesa
Gather round all yee little ones
Fill your bellies until the stress of the journey
Attenuates like a leaf hovering
Until its twisting desiccated edge
Touches the forest floor,
Resting in gentle wholeness on mother’s
Rip-roaring wide open chest
Thumping with patient shivers of serenity
From which the honeybee arcs, flower to flower
Finding its way through a maze of color and sweet
Over eons of
my Wonderland fam
White man’s guilt
booming in my veins
Nature, I’m sorry
I won’t let the garden die.
Bonus pic from the arboretum: