Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kamala Platt

Seasonal Still Life, September 2011

I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world .”*
--Troy Davis

Today, there were piles of feathers
and a detached wing
outside the Meadowlark aviary
where we found the peachicks,
their small bodies torn asunder.

Marauders—probably raccoons,
maybe babies themselves,
followed drought-driven hunger
that took them away
from the remnant of a stream
where “fishlings” no longer
squirmed in the mud.

It was the last day of summer.
105 degrees had reduced to 95 at midday
and 75 at night
in Los Ebanos, Roma, Rio Grande
where more walls
will be built on flood plains
homes will be evacuated ,
and young animals will die--
if autumn rains ever come, again.
Yet, tonight, fires still smolder
& Atlokoya, goddess of drought, reigns,
though the peachicks’ remains look more
like the dismembered Coyolhauhqui.

And tonight, the last day of summer,
at 11:08, their time, the lights
went out again in Georgia.
Tonight, despite the chanting
that connected the continents
in the light of prayer and good will,
Troy Davis was executed

On this last day of summer,
he refused his last supper,
in order to spend time with his friends.

Kamala Platt
September 22, 2011

*Troy Davis’ words come from his final letter to supporters that I read in Information Clearing House, September 22nd, 2011.

This poem was conceived as in some ways a "companion" to Seasonal Still Life, 2005--once I found it going in that direction I built on it, though it also resonates some with "In Support of Troops Home Fast" which has the images of pea hen killing at Meadowlark montaged with emailed images of the killing of Palestinians and others in the middle east.

Sadly, the pea chicks in the new poem did die the night before the Troy Davis execution. My Dad had found them (as described in the poem--his words adapted...) when he went to feed them that day. I read my Dad's email, called my parents to learn more, and we talked awhile, and when I hung up I saw notices of the delays of the execution and while I was reading that update, the message came through that Troy had then been killed. That instantaneousness and the intensity--the mix of hopefulness and disillusion in both situations--was behind the poem.  

One peachick earlier met its demise by the strangulation of a black rat snake; all their deaths have been traumatic because of the time & care we put into incubating & raising them; my dad got the incubator set up this spring when the pea hen was laying but not brooding, he collected the eggs, turned them twice a day until each hatched and from then on out we were caring for the babies: keeping the chicks warm (yeah, even in the heat they had to have a heat lamp at night) fed, clean...I have a friend in Ks who is bethel's interdisciplinary loan librarian and between her ordering and Amazon, I got most of the books on raising pea chicks that exist...(the best are from India, as are these peafowl, in origin). As the poem alludes, though, the bigger issue behind the recent killing is that it feels partially drought-induced. Nature, including humans, is suffering, and yet we put our time, technology and resources into more violence, which seems to only ramp up & get ramped up by the extremes in climate... When willl we get the implications of the fact that we all have a common future? Back to the peafowl, my housemates at Meadowlark report that "We have been enjoying the full grown ones [that I let out of the aviary to roam freely earlier this summer]. They walk right up to us and hang out."

Arthur Judah Angel, Exonerated Death Row Artist

A Teacher show the light, correct, transform, reform but death terminates and destroys giving its victims no chance for a change. every society still retaining death penalty is still blind to sound reasoning.

NO dividend. We lost lives and treasures in them. Enough of this abuse.

The only solution to death penalty is abolition. Don't  kill for me.

 In this age and time, WHY THE GALLOWS? WHY?


.Date of birth; 21 November 1962

.Self trained Artist, self employed, full time professional, human rights activist, author, Motivational Speaker."A humanist, (Arthur) works on projects that promotes life and restores hope to those who have despaired- Hence Life bridge/Rumbles Entertainment - a pet project 'Arthur' conceived and is pursuing for the rehabilitation/reintegration of ex convicts and youth empowerment respectively.