Day 210 1/21/14: Orca Tuesday

orca_spyhopping-noaaI found several interesting orca stories today.

First, let us consider the mysteries of killer whale behavior:

1. Orcas find kayakers fascinating!  The audio is a little irritating, but the point of view is kind of cool.

2. Orcas follow Kiwi swimmer to the beach.

Next, more trouble for $eaWorld:

3. Is SeaWorld racist?

And lest we forget:

4. SeaWorld is complicit in Japanese dolphin slaughter.

Day 209 1/20/14: Get To Know Your Stigmata Toaster

UnknownIn my endless quest to combine the most unlikely texts possible, I have joined in holy linguistic matrimony a pamphlet called “Stigmata and Modern Science” and the user manual to my Oster TSSTTR6329 Toaster. I hope this inspires you to write an experimental poem or at least make some toast.

IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS: Young children or incapacitated persons should not bear the external marks of the wounds of Christ or the material element of stigmatization, except to the extent prohibited by law.

Warning: Atheists reject the stigmata as an aggressive form of miracle. Never insert your fingers into the holes. Handle with Care.

1. Spontaneously, in ecstasy, and during complete suppression of will and suggestibility, insert the crumb tray into the slot.

2. If living for years without earthly food, lightly tap the sides to dislodge any crumbs lodged in the toast chamber.

3. After the desired level of darkness has been reached the wounds must not vanish.

4. When the wounds bleed they must emit fresh blood. Accumulations create unsanitary conditions and the possibility of fire.

5. The nail-shaped formations of the wounds should be of equal size and freshness and glow more brightly than others.

6. The frozen light will illuminate the crust in the middle of the wound and the brighter edge to assure even browning.

7. English muffins cannot be created by mystical contemplation alone.

8. It is normal for non-Catholics to create an odor.

9. To reduce the risk of electrical shock, bleed during a vision of the Crucifixion and wipe with a damp cloth.


Day 208 1/19/14: I Know Why the Caged Diver Screams

imagesAs my date with a shark cage gets closer and closer, I find myself feeling extremely, ummm..sensitive about any stories or videos related to shark cage diving, such as the Leonardo DiCaprio cage diving story I posted  last week. Then, this morning I found this story about an Australian man who decided to swim with a tiger shark wearing only a bird cage which made me feel a little less foolish and afraid.

Anyway, it’s probably good for me to read these stories. Isn’t life all about seizing the day and bucket lists and profiles in courage and doing something everyday that scares us everyday and dancing like  nobody’s watching? For me, it’s also about working through a primal fear of being eaten alive by a predatory fish although that wouldn’t sound so pithy on a coffee mug.

Day 207 1/18/14: Ram Dass: Living The Mystery

imagesIn “Instant Karma!” a song written and recorded in one day, John Lennon posed the eternal question: “Why in the world are we here?” answering the unanswerable with a single, powerful certainty: “Surely not to live in pain and fear.”

In this humble blog, one of my recurring questions has been how not to shut down in the face of suffering–both my own internal sadness and the suffering of animals, of aging parents, etc.

Today I  discovered this terrific and invigorating podcast that grapples with all of these things–a 1996 Ram Dass lecture called Living the Mystery which I highly recommend. (NOTE: Skip the introductory part. Ram Dass is funny and dynamic.  Listening to this narrator is like hearing someone describe a movie in exhaustive detail and thereby  sucking all the energy & surprise out it. START listening at 17:59! 

Day 206 1/17/14: Friday Poetry/Science Mishmash

basho81. Your eyes will love this: Beautiful biofluorescent sharks & other fishes.

2. Nature has feelings: A fascinating piece on the poetics of Basho.

3. Writer’s block? Pshaw! Check out poet Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiments.

4. New Zealand welcomes Shark Whisperer Ocean Ramsay.

5. Weirdly beautiful time lapse video of living, breathing & fighting coral from the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 205 1/16/14: Making Porn for Mother Earth

6a00d8351fcb0969e200e54f2a6d8e8834-800wiFor those of us suffering from petition fatigue, it’s nice to remember the infinitely creative ways that we can make a difference. Take these German (or are they Norwegian?) hippies who call themselves F*ck for Forest (I’m feeling a little modest suddenly). Whoever thought of harnessing the power of porn to save the Rain Forest? Kids these days!

If the thought of watching longhairs copulate turns you off, I’d say that plentiful pubic hair is a small price to pay to fight deforestation.

I hope FOF inspires someone, somewhere to take action in an erotically (or otherwise) charged manner in service of the Earth….

Day 204 1/15/14: Whales Weep Not!

whalesWhat writer could get away with using “whale phallus” in a poem and still make it beautiful?

That hot-blooded Brit D.H. Lawrence of course!

Whales Weep Not!

They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains

the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.

All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge

on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.

The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers

there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of

the sea!

And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages

on the depths of the seven seas,

and through the salt they reel with drunk delight

and in the tropics tremble they with love

and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.

Then the great bull lies up against his bride

in the blue deep bed of the sea,

as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life:

and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood

the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and

comes to rest

in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale’s

fathomless body.

And over the bridge of the whale’s strong phallus, linking the

wonder of whales

the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and


keep passing, archangels of bliss

from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim

that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the


great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.

And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale-

tender young

and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of

the beginning and the end.

And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring

when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood

and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat

encircling their huddled monsters of love.

And all this happens in the sea, in the salt

where God is also love, but without words:

and Aphrodite is the wife of whales

most happy, happy she!

and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin

she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea

she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males

and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.

Day 203 1/14/14: Poetry & Impermanence: A Rant

Keats-Bright-StarPoetry is a brutal art. One (meaning me) slaves for hours and hours trying to finish a poem that is nearly there. What am I not doing? Am I thinking too much?  Pursuing instead of waiting? Filling up instead of emptying out?  Oh the pressure of the final stanza! Oh the need for transformation, the weighty promise of the unwritten. I wanted some sharp outline of the knowable unknowable. I wanted a final image that resonates in the body as much as the mind. I wanted a poem that shimmered with intellect like T. S. Eliot regurgitating The Upanishads, its edges limned with a the ghost of Robert Frost holding a delicate pane of ice over a swollen stream in March. That kind of poem. All that suffocating desire.

So I stopped writing poetry and wrote an e-mail to my school asking them not to offer employee discounts to SeaWorld. I wrote and rewrote the e-mail. I added things and took things away. I wondered what magical syntax or brutally economical description would be enough to make Recreation Connection re-think the idea of a killer whale living in a cracked aquarium. I started off cheerily! Happy New Year! Thanks for adding Whale Watching to the list of Employee Discounted Activities! Sure beats watching the aforementioned animals perform tricks in a chlorinated pool!  I didn’t use so many maniacal exclamations, but I did make an attempt at friendliness (HelloI am not insane and soon you will warm to my politics). 

I wonder about all the writing we do. All the many non-poems, non-public pieces that we nevertheless compose with compassion and conviction. I think of the journals occupying the shelf on my closet. I think of burning each one, records of my life made long before “journaling” became a verb.

Keats had the best epitaph: Here lies one whose name was writ in water. His epitaph is better than any line of poetry I will probably ever write. A name writ in water is then inscribed in stone. Moss fills the letters.  E-mails vanish into the ether. The blog posts accumulate behind burning links.

If I destroy those journals, will I  stop feeling the weight of accumulated unread years? I’ll wrench pages from spines and light them on fire with adolescent glee. Or maybe just toss them casually in the garbage or donate them to Goodwill and dream of some hipster finding them. But first I’ll transcribe a line or two. A few words from each entry. A record of each vanished day. Some sort of path from there to here.

Day 202 1/13/14: Some Blogs I Dig: Part 1


I have only yet begun to catalogue the blogs I love. Here’s a few to start:

1. Fuckyeahsharks is really fun! Great shark gifs, shark pix and more.

2. I’m always amazed at the fearlessness & intelligence of The Daily Headache.

3. I LOVE this blog! Biblioklept is a daily surprise and delight if you love art & lit.

4. Walking with Alligators: Helping endangered creatures in the Everglades & beyond.

5. Find out how recent wolf & coyote hunts and other wildlife massacres screw up the ecosystem at  Exposing the Big Game.

6. Sofastory: Every abandoned couch has a lurid & lovely tale to tell on this Tumblr blog.

Black Rhino Auctioned for $350K in the Name of Conservation

This is insane….

Exposing the Big Game


by Marc Bekoff

Should we kill in the name of conservation? Individual animals are not disposable commodities

We live in a troubled and wounded world in which humans continue to dominate and to relentlessly kill numerous nonhuman animals (animals).

A Texas hunting club recently auctioned off an endangered black rhino purportedly to save other black rhinos and their homes in Namibia. The Dallas Safari Club says, “Namibian wildlife officials will accompany the auction winner through Mangetti National Park where the hunt will occur, ‘to ensure the correct type of animal is taken.'” This is not a very comforting thought.

This sale, in which an animal is objectified and treated like a disposable commodity, raises many questions about how we try to save other species. One major question is, “Should we kill in the name of conservation?” People disagree on what is permissible and what is not. My take and…

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