Uncle George and the Woods by ROBERT A. DAVIES Under a canvas slung over a pole I lie in my sleeping bag looking at the world below. Suddenly I see a shadow just beyond the cliff I’m camping on, Uncle George old man high up in an oak. How long has he been watching? We greet each other. He has shown me Cassiopeia identified many plants, he too at home in the trees. I wish I could greet him now prominent among the ghosts of those whom I haven’t thanked. Thank you, “Uncle George” uncle to countless scouts. I find the woods welcoming whether in them, or as now picturing myself in them. Driving to Timber, Oregon by ROBERT A. DAVIES After the fields of red clover set against green and blue my acre of trees will be no less a pleasure. The big Douglas firs — all over Timber the residents are cutting trees that shelter their houses. Next, the houses themselves! Winters are wet and cold and long jobs scarcer than ever, there’s no CCC to return. Roads are smoke filled, the town naked as sheared beefalo. What happens when trees in the yard are gone? Of course there are plenty of trees they just aren’t legal, though dawn might usher in another what’s-theirs. Robert A. Davies is the author of Timber and, more recently Bluff Hollow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kadavergehorsam in the Land of Opportunity * by CHARLES ORLOSKI Come, come Angel of Death, please visit my rented-room, let us talk? In late-1980s, a University of Scranton graduate, I planned marriage, children, building prosperous future working for Taylor Borough’s Amity Lumber Co., and Municipal Waste Landfill, at $7.25 an hour. Daily, I watched garbage trucks enter upon the landfill’s State Certified scale, where total garbage tonnage was calculated, municipal waste processed for proper burial, and lots of “Green” fell into Amity family coffers. Angel of Death, please help me remember here? Was it Saint Thomas Sunday when Amity family approached, asked me to speak at a Taylor Council meeting, provide persuasive argument why residents should consent to landfill expansion plans, come within 200 feet of people’s backyards, in vicinity of kid’s swing-sets, bird baths, elderly hammocks, vegetable gardens. Angel of Death, I’m sure you heard many muddled tales like mine, so please don’t go? I want to make confession, and undergo America’s favored purification act, become, “accountable for actions,” before you come along, and account for me. That anticipated night, at Taylor Borough Council meeting, I rose, stood confidently at podium, told residents how unwise for them to protest Amity Landfill expansion. With Letterman charm, I asked, What mattered foul garbage odors, rodents, potential ground water quality threats, daily noise from dump-trailer and “haul-pack” heavy burial equipment? Talking DOWN to crowded assembly, including friends played and grown-up with, I explained how Taylor needed “good jobs,” and guaranteed how veto of Amity Landfill expansion would forever stymie T-town’s economy. Angel of Death, I am sure you understand how I needed to secure prosperous future, and while doing my duty for Amity family, I emphasized financial benefits of having Municipal Waste Landfills built in post-anthracite coal hometowns. Chided assembly, called to mind “N.I.MB.Y.,” I cynically remarked how no one wants prisons and heroin-addict rehabilitation centers located in neighborhoods. “And until the Federal government invents better Final Household Waste Disposal Solutions, Taylor’s garbage must go somewhere,” I lectured. Angel of Death…, upon speech conclusion, a hullabaloo, comic annihilation of my purported “eloquence,” compromised testimony. Afterward, hot September night, angry Taylor citizens waited upon my exit, owner of local barbershop threw me the finger. Alarmed, I hurried to car’s sanctuary. And now, Angel of Death, as I approach hour of flesh-bone demise, and while there’s still time to confess before becoming just another “obedient corpse,” lowered into an E.P.A. approved grave, including double-lined abyss, State-of-Art methane collection system, at age 62, I want you to know that its terrible to have learned all the loyal “duty” Adolf Eichmann did, all for upwardly mobile career advancement. And in comparison, Dear Angel, I ask you to internalize how easy OBEDIENCE once was for me to a Municipal Waste landfill owner’s will and revenue goals. In closing, and prior to application for “final dirt cover” upon all that one (like me) must leave behind, 1. I must keep hope your C.E.O. understands where I have been – through arbeit darkness did I tread for decades, not blind, just banal 20/20 vision. * A German word meaning “obedience of corpses” found in Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil.” Arendt explained how Adolf Eichmann, as a law-abiding citizen, “consistently acted upon orders – always so careful to be “covered – he became completely muddled, and ended by stressing alternately the virtues and vices of blind obedience, or Kadavergehorsam, or the “obedience of corpses.” This line sneakily appropriated from the mouth of Bono’s band U-2, song titled, “All that you can’t leave behind.” Charles Orloski lives in Taylor, PA. He can be reached at email@example.com. Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting) Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us as http://www.facebook.com/poets.basement. To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work). Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where. For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights. Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document. Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions). Submissions not following the guidelines may or may not receive a response. Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology. For more details, tips and suggestions, visit http://crowvoice.com/poets-basement. Thanks!
July 4, 2014