Farm Poem #5

Old dead apple tree

“It’s sad,” he said gravely, gesturing. “What will you do?”
“You mean the apple trees?” I replied. “They’re dead.”
He nodded. “But still.” He shook his head. “You should do something.”
“Like, perform mouth-to-twig resuscitation?”
He ignored this. “Do you plan to replant them? The fields just look…
I don’t know. So vacant.”

And the cattleman in me wants to ask this
Economist if he plans to help;
For if he doesn’t know the first thing about apples
Then don’t know the second,
No more than the serpent understood gravity,
Or Newton original sin.

“But still,” he repeats, his eyes far away,
“It’s sad. Just letting them die like that.”
And beyond the tangle of black limbs and
Bracken, creeper snaking through poison ivy,
Rose hips thorning hackberry bark,
Bloated branches of fire smut,

Trunks cankered and split, punked hollow,
My eyes fly far, too,
Past all resemblance of what it meant
–economically, ecologically, energetically–
To keep this old orchard orcharding,
And I see his blue sky, bold, unmarred,

Where silver dream-liners soar
Turbulence-free to tropical destinations,
Cocktails served at thirty five thousand feet,
Views unimpeded.
I see people, and more people.
I see their foreground,

And I see their distance,
And I am not afraid.

Farm Poem #4


On a farm there’s no spring break,
Instead, a spring bend:
Mountain twigs ice-tipped melting
Into rivulets,
Into rivers.

Richard Feynman said
Fire is sequestered sunlight
Released. Stretching,
These story arcs
Are seasonless.

Where does winter go?
Into stones and bones
Deep beneath the earth.
To the other side!
Where everyone wants to go

Until we don’t;
Until frozen, we thaw.

Farm Poem #3

The Super Bowl was trotted out yet again last week, an event that would have entirely escaped my attention if it hadn’t been for an agricultural brouhaha surrounding a Bud Light commercial. Forgive me for not actually seeing the commercial in real time, or even going back and watching it after the fact; I spared myself this optical indigestion by hearing it blared through the headlines.

From what I’ve been able to decipher, Bud Light aired an ad pushing against corn syrup, and America’s grain farmers–who were all ears–took umbrage. Turns out this country ain’t big enough for two golden nostrums! Of course a social media showdown quickly ensued (cue bow-legged lobbyists flourishing limp-wristed pistols at the Not-OK-Corral). Trigger fingers were triggered! Tweets were fired! Facebookers liked/didn’t like certain posts! In short, it was another 45 minute news cycle.

Here’s my world-weary take on it:

–I demand at least 4 swirls. Grandma said never settle–

Farm Poem #3

Bud Light is at war with agribusiness,
A super bowl of big mouths:
King Corn versus the King of Beers,
Where farmers score points by
Pouring soil down the sink.

How fitting, a battle down the tubes,
On the tubes, in our tubes–
Nostalgic as milk and Cheerios,
But different.
No! The same!

Take your bowl of beer and grain
And slurp it up your corn hole.
Dilly dilly, silly!
We are what you eat.

Kings are always
The first to inform us
There can only be
One king.