12 THE SONG OF THE PESTICIDE
Across the bridge fields were being irrigated
but the crop was a bust.
It could not be overstated
that all that grew here was dust.
“The fertile soil has gone
leaving this useless and salty crust
in spite of all the water they’ve drawn.”
We crossed this fruitless land
that went on and on.
I wondered if Abbey had planned
for us to walk all the way
across this great expand.
Abbey had nothing to say
as I followed
him across this endless day.
My enthusiasm began to erode
as we crossed through the barren and dry
fields where the fruitless seeds were sewed.
Then we heard a noise from the sky.
“Run!” screamed Abbey.
And I did try
but soon the crop duster was upon me
and I was caught in it’s poisonous wake.
My eyes burned when I tried to see.
I made a big mistake
when I picked myself off the ground.
The first breath I tried to take
knocked me back down.
Birds with human heads
were dropping all around.
They convulsed for a moment and then were quickly dead.
My head started spinning and I had a vision
so dark it still fills me with dread.
13 SONG OF THE VISION
I was caught in a maelstrom.
There was no knowing
where I was coming from
or where I was going.
Down and down and around
I was flowing.
I screamed but there was no sound
and I braced myself for a collision.
But there was no sky. No sound.
This fall was without intermission.
Just as I thought I could no longer stand it
I had vision
of the life of the planet.
It all happened so fast
but, though you wouldn’t understand it,
somehow I lived every moment that past.
I saw the first creatures crawl upon the shores.
I saw every great volcanic blast.
Then I witnessed docile giants and fierce carnivores.
I learned what happened
to the dinosaurs.
I saw great ice sheets move across the land
Strange creatures rise
and then meet their end.
I saw so much materialize
as the Earth went through so many stages
I could not describe all that passed before my eyes
with a billion pages.
Then came man
whose existence was not even a second to the ages
that came before he spread across the land.
He had no sense that the Earth was only on loan
and he built his civilization without a plan.
He thought he could own
the Earth. I watched them fight. I watched them bleed.
I watched them cut each other to the bone.
Without reason. Without need.
The world had gone completely mad
with this creature so full of greed.
He was spoiled but never happy with all he had.
Then I saw them poison the land, the rivers, and the sky.
I had never been as sad
as I was when I watched so many beautiful creatures die
by our hand.
I watched them multiply
and take over the land
until there was no space
left for nature to stand.
Then the vision was gone without a trace.
I was in a stadium with a tremendous crowd
and it was raining litter all over the place
as if from a tremendous cloud.
I was dressed as prisoner. I had a number ten digits long.
My ears were bleeding because it was so loud.
The audience chanted a hateful song.
“Swirly! Swirly!” they sang out.
“You’re mistaken! This is wrong!”
I did shout
and I demanded to know
what this was all about.
How was I the star of this show?
Why was everyone so mean?
I never dealt the Earth a blow.
My conscience is clean!
Then I watched my own life flash
up on the stadium’s big screen.
The crowd booed all the gas I used. All the trash
I tossed. And I said “Come on! You can’t bust
me for that. Everyone makes a little splash!”
Then the screen showed something that set off the crowd’s blood lust.
They way I would carelessly toss
my cigarette butts.
Just when I thought I was going to come away with a loss
I turned and saw Abbey
talking with someone who looked liked the boss.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying but they were motioning towards me.
“Have mercy on me!” I pleaded.
The judge made a decree
and the vision receded.
14 THE SONG OF THE FACTORY FARM
I came to spewing vomit
that tasted like an ashtray.
I looked into the bucket
and saw cigarette butts and again my stomach gave way.
This went on for weeks and I knew
I would have to pay for every butt I threw astray.
Abbey was nowhere to be found as I went through
It was a kindly cowheaded farmer’s wife brought me special brew
and, when I could stomach it, a meal.
I laid in bed in disbelief
of how horrible I could feel.
When I puked up my last butt I finally felt some relief.
The cowhead farmer came in and so I asked him,
“If you’re the farmer what’s the beef?”
He said “Now that you’re ready, I’ll take you to see them.”
Just then Abbey reappeared and said,
“I bet you’re glad you got that out of your system.”
So I asked him, “How is it that I got punished when I’m not even dead?”
He replied, “When in Rome...”
Feeling better, I followed as Abbey and the farmer led.
As soon as we left the little home
we were subjected to a horrible smell.
My mouth started to foam.
and vomited bile all over my clothes.
I said, “I wish I could tour this hell
without my nose!”
Abbey replied, “The farming techniques
of these CAFOs
We were led into a chicken warehouse where a hand
was cutting off beaks.
This vision was too much to stand.
There were human heads on all the chickens!
I saw some chickens shit-canned
because they were not hens.
Others were crammed
into the tiniest of pens.
I asked what poor souls are so horribly damned.
A chicken replied,
“I was only a lawyer before I wound up jammed
in this cage for taking the side
of a farm
that was polluting far and wide!
I knew it was causing great harm
but I won the case
with lies and my irresistible charm.
So they cut the nose off my face
and, as if that wasn’t enough,
put me in this horrible place!”
“It seems like lawyers have it pretty rough”
The lawyer answered, “That’s because it is so tough
to take the right side.
when it is so easy
to take people for a ride.”
If you would’ve asked me
I would say I couldn’t have gotten out there too soon.
So I was glad when they led me
out into the afternoon.
We stood over the shore
of what they called a “lagoon”.
The smell was so foul you could not ignore.
The shit and piss and blood
made me throw up even more.
Then I saw the wretched souls wallow in the crud.
They had fins for arms and when they came up for air
they flopped back in with a thud.
Of all the horrors I knew, nothing could be worse than swimming in there.
I asked Abbey what they could have done
for punishment like that to be fair?
Abbey pointed, “That one
worked for the EPA
and when he saw the damage done
by factory farms like this he just looked away.
He was in the corporation’s back pocket
so now he’s spends every day
drowning in that shit.”
Horrible flies swarmed the man and left a scar
every time they bit.
We moved on and it wasn’t too far
before we came to a huge building full of half human half cow
waiting to be brought to the abattoir.
Once again I was struck by how
the horrors of a place could be so unreal.
The farmer told me that their chow
was themselves rendered into meal.
Far more terrible was the fate
of the souls being raised as veal.
Looking at one such soul trapped in a tiny crate
as asked, “What foul conspiracy
would make the Earth this irate?”
Abbey answered, “Here is a cook who promoted the fallacy
was a delicacy
that justified the cruelty that it took to create the meal.
Now it his fate
to know how it would feel
to be trapped in a crate
where it can’t even stand
having to wait
to be slaughtered by a cow’s hand.”
Such horrors were too much to even face
let alone understand.
I begged Abbey to lead us out of that place.
He reminded me, “Though we have traveled far
in this wretched space
but we still have to see the abattoir.
Don’t worry, my friend
is just around the bend.”
In the slaughterhouse the gore
was enough to send
puking my guts out once more.
The place was covered with flesh and blood and dung.
Poor souls were dragged across the floor
and from their ankles they were hung.
They lucky ones were knocked out.
The more unfortunate ones among
them still had their wits about
as they were boiled alive.
“But we need meat, no doubt,
in order to survive.
Cattle, poultry, and swine
have allowed us to thrive.”
“I don’t think nature’s creatures were intended for the assembly line
though it may be to our advantage.
The problem with us is when we dine
we don’t consider what is in the package.”
15 SONG OF THE WILD
Behind the farm the land became rugged and wild.
This was the first place we came to
that wasn’t totally defiled.
There was a road that went through.
Down it a truck sped.
Out of the window an empty beer can flew
and hit Abbey in the back of the head.
“This always happens to me here
in this Desert of the Dead.
The Earth is getting me back for all the cans of beer
I tossed out on the highway side.”
“Wait a minute! I need to make one thing clear!
Are you a resident here or just a guide?”
“Well... there are some things I have had to make amends
for since I died.
That is why the Earth sends
me here to lead you through this hell.
To this task my soul happily lends
but I do not belong here.
I am just serving the Earth’s will.”
“It seems pretty clear
after puking all that cigarette butt
we all have something to fear.”
Down the ridge we saw some leopards gut
some poor man they had trapped in a pen
but shoving a red hot poker up his you know what.
“I hope I never see that again!
I can’t imagine how horrible that felt!
Of all the horrors I’ve seen happen
that’s the worst I’ve seen dealt!”
“It’s pretty savage
what poachers will do to keep a pelt
from receiving damage.
It seems even crueler down here
where the hunted have the advantage.”
We saw another man naked and full of fear
as gorillas hunted him down with a spear
and removed his hands and his head with great zeal.
Though he was decapitated
his ability to feel
was never incapacitated.
And so it was on this wild ground
the grand beasts whose numbers have been decimated
had turned the tables around
and were chasing down
all the trophy hunters and poachers that could be found.
We saw wolves, lions, elephants and bears (black and brown)
and go to town
on the shades of those greedy men.
Abbey and I stayed on the shoulder of the road
as the carcasses were carted away
by the truckload.
Before us, a jungle lay
and Abbey went in and, of course, I followed.
16 THE FIRST SONG OF THE JUNGLE
The jungle was dark as night
and by then I should’ve known
that this place was certainly not right.
From everywhere we heard a quiet moan
and there was a strange glow about the place.
From the birds, the trees, and the snakes there shown
visages of a human face.
They would flicker. They would fade.
Some would vanish without a trace.
The road had ended so Abbey pulled out a blade
and started blazing a trail.
Out of every branch blood sprayed
and the ghostly faces began to wail.
I tried to avoid getting soaking wet
but to no avail.
It wasn’t long before I dripping blood and sweat.
Progress was a chore
with all the obstacles we met
and being weighed down with gore.
When we reached the river
Abbey collapsed on the shore.
The thought made me shiver
of sleeping with these ghosts all around.
Still, I was so exhausted I had to deliver
myself to the ground.
I meant to merely rest my eyes
but soon the sound
of ghostly lullabies
filled with sorrow
made me realize
I had to let my consciousness go
and I took flight.
With the river, my spirit did flow.
Together we journeyed deep into the night.
At the end of shadow
there was a flickering light.
In it I saw ghosts of things that long ago
were put to death by our impact
The Carrier Pigeon, the Quagga, the Caspian Tiger, the Dodo
and so many creatures and plants I could never have kept track.
For a moment they appeared
and then quietly faded into the black.
But after all these beings disappeared
then dream went on
and became even more weird.
There was the Polar Bear, the Elephant, the mighty Lion.
All of which were slipping away
but not quite gone.
And the dream continued to play
and the visions drew nearer.
The last still haunts me to this day.
I saw myself as if in a mirror.
When it first played
it couldn’t be clearer
but, just like the rest, I began to fade.
17 THE SONG OF THE FOREST
I woke to my own echo
telling myself it can’t be true.
Abbey asked “Do you really think so
after all you’ve been through?”
“It was a dream. I was just only freaking!”
“I suppose that I’ll have to grant you.
Of course, technically speaking
this is all a dream. Still,
if it’s more evidence you’re seeking,
there’s plenty more on the bill
Although I must admit
the future is a matter of will.
Only you living can decide it.
You can change your ways
or live in a world of shit.”
We wandered through the morning haze
with the ghostly chorus singing as we went ahead.
Then, suddenly, the ghosts went into a craze
and I heard the grinding noise of gas fed
engines from the opposite shore.
Then the river turned red
from the blood and gore.
The whole forest started to cry
as Old Buzztooth kept coming for more.
Logs, like bleeding carnage, floated by
as we looked for a way to the other side.
I couldn’t see how Abbey and I
could cross this river that was so deep and wide
without a boat.
Then I watched Abbey stride
across the logs which, thankfully, were buoyant enough to stay afloat.
I called out to him but he wasn’t stopping.
So even though I felt my chances were remote
I started hopping
across the bloody river.
Somehow I did so without dropping.
and managed to deliver
myself to the other shore
without so much as a sliver.
The forest was louder than before.
The ghosts were full of fear.
We could from the chainsaw roar
that they were getting near.
When we could finally see the men
that came to clear
the trees. They were not flesh but wooden.
The trees made
a terrible noise as the saws cut in
and the blood sprayed.
The forest was opened like a gaping
wound. Blood pouring out from where the trees were laid.
The chorus of ghosts had no hope of escaping
“These are the ghosts that were so found of reshaping
the world by clearing the slate
as if nature was a curse.
These ranchers, developers, and exploiters had such a hate
for the wild, of course, ultimately made the planet worse.
to ‘improving’ upon nature is quite perverse.”
“But why even far away from all this commotion
do the ghosts cry out?”
“People seem to have this notion
that this jungle is about
the parts we can use
and the rest we could do without.
But for every little part we abuse
it is actually the whole
that we lose.
Everything in the world has a role
So for every piece of nature we exploit it is our own soul
we cut away.”
18 THE SONG OF THE DESERT
Abbey and I walked down the highway.
There were cattle ranches were the jungle once stood.
Truck after truck was hauling the exploits away.
Damned souls trapped in livestock, wildlife and wood
It wasn’t long before the land was no good
and it became barren and dry.
The land we perverted
in the blink of an eye
into a wasteland
In the fury, I heard a band
of people bawling.
These poor souls had no eyes
and were crawling.
Above them I could hear the cries
of a terrible vulture.
added to their torture.
“Why are these souls
wandering in this scorcher?
Why do they have holes
were they should have eyes?”
“They are ignorant assholes
who claimed scientists told lies
when they spoke of the impact
we humans had on the Earth, water, and skies.
They refused to accept fact
so the vultures took their eyes and now they are lost.
They will never find their way back”
We watched the trucks splatter them when they crossed
We were quickly covered with exhaust
and the spray.
Abbey flipped a trucker the bird
and the truck turned around and headed our way.
When he came close, we could see the trucker he had angered
was, in fact, a bear
but Abbey was not deterred.
I kept back and watched them swear
at each other afraid to take a side.
The bear finally asked “What the hell you doing out in middle of nowhere?”
and offered us a ride.
Abbey laughed as he got in
and motioned for me to come inside.
The bear asked how he had been
since the last big flood.
“Same old. Same old” Abbey said with a grin
as he wiped off the crud.
Then after I climbed in the truck
“Hey, who’s the warm blood?”
“Just some miserable fuck
I found out in the desert wilderness
down on his luck.
His situation was hopeless,
as a matter of fact,
so I thought I’d show him the mess
and then send him back.”
The bear asked me “Well, how you liking the tour?”
I answered “Well there’s no lack
of thrills but it is a lot to endure
especially the scent!”
“Well it is quite a detour
from the world from which you were sent
but from what I hear
up there isn’t all that different!”
“That’s true, I fear,
it won’t be long when up there
will be as bad as it is down here!”
“You humans are just like the rest of us, you know” said the bear.
“You’re born with hunger, lust and greed
but you have to be taught to care.
You don’t even care enough to feed
all of your own kind
even though you got tons of shit you don’t need.”
“You don’t have to remind
me in a place like this
of all the failings of mankind.”
“Well it does seem to us that ‘Ignorance is Bliss’”
is still the motto of man.”
We were driving through a desert now lush with cactus.
There was a naked man who ran
away from a giant saguarro. Abbey pointed at him,
“Hey there’s old Grundman!”
The man met a fate that was most grim
when he was crushed under
that cactus with all those spikes in them.
“That’s what he gets for that senseless plunder
of murdering cactus with a shotgun!”
He wasn’t the only one being torn asunder.
There were many naked men on the run.
I saw a coyote
chase down someone
on an ATV! He had no pity
on the poor soul he downed.
Abbey said “These folks come from the city
and think the desert is their playground.”
The bear added, “I guess you lose
your connection living with concrete all around.”
Abbey said, “There’s no excuse
for not being able to appreciate the stark
beauty of this land and confuse
it for an amusement park!”
19 THE SONG OF THE DUMP
Down the road,
there was a mountain looming large on the horizon.
In this huge commode
it was a strange phenomenon.
I told Abbey that I found it strange
that we were coming upon
a mountain range.
“Oh, that up ahead?
That’s no ordinary change
in scenery” he said.
“Those are just big piles
of trash instead!
That dump goes on for miles
filled with trash
of all styles!
They couldn’t smash
it down anymore
and they couldn’t stash
it away like they did before.
Soon it piled up so high
it was impossible to ignore!”
Indeed it soon dominated the sky
and there seemed to be no way around.
I couldn’t see how we were going to get by
but when we got closer I found
that the road led
There was a tunnel up ahead.
When I realized that was where we were going
I just shook my head.
There was no knowing
what was waiting inside.
My anticipation was not growing
I just wanted to get off this ride!
The tunnel was dim
and not very wide.
Inside, the spectacle was quite grim.
People were stuck in the tunnel wall
with nothing sticking out but a limb.
There were some arms and legs but that was all
but the rest was out of sight.
Watching these limbs move was enough to install
in me a fright.
Some of the hands were made to hold
onto a light.
As we went further under the dark and cold
mountain of refuse,
the story about the poor souls who were subject to this abuse.
“These were the worst kind of slug
that should never be let loose.
These were the people who tried to hide their waste under a rug
and those they paid to turn a blind eye.
So, here, the more trash they buried the deeper the hole they dug
themselves into this sty.”
We drove on as this horrific sight
After several miles, I could see the light
at the end.
It was so bright
I could not defend
myself from going blind.
What happened next, I could not comprehend.
In fact, it blew my mind.
20 THE SONG OF THE PLAYGROUND
The bear and the truck were gone
the moment we reached the light.
I felt that something was definitely wrong
but Abbey assured me everything was alright.
It appeared that we were on top of that massive trash mound
and there were children playing within our sight.
From a distance it looked like a normal playground.
There were kids playing on the slide and the swing set
and the parents were all gathered around.
But when we got closer we could tell the parents were quite upset.
They were screaming but their children didn’t hear.
There was some unseen barrier that would not let
The children were happy and sweet.
They did not fear
all the perils they were sure to meet.
There was rusted metal trash and broken glass
that threatened their bare feet.
A fat kid was dipping a finger in some glowing mass
coming from a leaky drum.
There was a kid splashing around in a pool of gas.
His parents hollered for him to come
but there was no sound.
Other kids were wrestling in black scum
seeping from somewhere underground.
A little girl was playing with a gun
that she had found.
There seemed to be poison
Kids were having fun
putting it in each other’s hair.
They were blind
to their parent’s despair.
The mothers helplessly whined
and fathers pounded with all their might
but the children paid no mind.
A small boy found some matches and was about to light
up the whole place.
I remember the sight
of the innocent smile on his face.
I ran right through
that invisible barrier and gave chase
but there was nothing I could do.
I was not able to interfere
even as the flames grew.
My effort was most sincere
but it was as if the children were not there.
In spite of what I could see and hear
I was grasping at empty air.
I turned around
and watched the parents who were unaware
of me fall to the ground.
I tried to them this wasn’t real
but I couldn’t make a sound.
Abbey said “I know how you feel.
is what we deal
to our children and grandchildren. It’s our legacy.
We are leaving behind
a world we would never want to see.
We prefer to be blind.
Live in a state of denial
and we get so appalled when someone is there to remind
us how we are so fragile.”
21 THE SONG OF SUBURBIA
We wandered into more development
just past the playground
was miles and miles of cement.
Houses spread out all around
with trash left at the curb
but there was not a soul to be found.
We walked into the suburb.
Pretty homes lined up all the same.
Nothing seemed to disturb
this place. In such a horrid realm, it seemed too tame.
Abbey said, “It just goes on and on.
All these homes are so fuckin’ lame!
Each with a two car garage and well manicured lawn.
It would be a nice place to spend the day
but the occupants are gone!”
“If I was down here, this is where I’d surely stay!
To find these homes empty is truly bizarre!”
“What you must understand is everything here is so far away.
No one can stay where they are.
Their homes are here
but they live in their car!”
Of all the things I’ve seen in this sphere,
all these pretty homes left alone
was the most queer!
My mind reeled in the strange sights I’ve been shown.
I had to wonder if there was any way out
of this twilight zone.
“I don’t mean to pout
but this seems like a maze.
The way these streets wander about,
we could be here for days!”
“You’re right there. There’s no sense
to sticking to these wandering roadways.
We’re better off hopping the fence.”
So we cut through the back
and no one was there to come to the defense.
There was no dog trained to attack
but I was given a fright
when I heard the crack
of the bug zapper. It was a gruesome sight
the strangest insect zapper I’ve ever seen
because instead of a blue light
it had a TV screen.
I saw hundreds of souls get fried.
It was really quite obscene.
“Why do they commit suicide?
Surely, they can’t be as dumb as they seem!”
“It’s sad how tempting it is to live inside
TV’s empty dream.
We’re all taught
by this endless stream
of crap to be bought.
The TV never gives it a rest!
We’re constantly told we ought
to have the latest and greatest!
All our lives we’re exposed
to this pest!
But what is never disclosed
is that happiness doesn’t last
when we buy all this shit that is disposed
of so fast.”
We moved on
and wandered past
more homes each with a well kept lawn.
Pretty abodes where all
the inhabitants were curiously gone.
Finally, we reached the home of the pastime more American than baseball
when we walked across a huge parking lot
the surrounded the shopping mall.
22 THE SONG OF THE MALL
We were at the center of the sprawl
that dreaded and awful complex
known as the shopping mall.
“Oh please! I don’t want to go there next!
It is horrid enough in the land above.
Down here, Lord knows what to expect
or what horrors that the Earth would think of!”
“Well” Abbey said, “I’d hate to drag you to the mall
you so dearly love
but don’t look up now because there’s a squall
coming and we got to get inside
before this shit begins to fall!”
When I looked back and saw a black tide
I realized I had to abide
as the shit storm began to crash
down. I ran
to the Sacred Temple of Cash.
Reaching the entrance I said to Abbey, “Man
there’s garbage flying everywhere.”
“Yes. The shit is hitting the fan!”
Foul music filled the air
when we walked inside the door.
It was too much to bear,
“FUCKING CHRISTMAS MUSIC! OH THE HORROR!”
I dropped to my knees
I couldn’t take any more.
As if that all wasn’t enough
to make me ill at ease,
when I saw all the stuff
things got really rough.
I saw a woman, skinned naked and pale
hanging on a rack.
Then a seal as big as a whale
grab her and throw her over her back.
I knew her
from back on the beach where that attack
As we watched her empty skin plead
for mercy, Abbey said “She had a taste for fur
long after there was any need.
Its hard to explain
how somebody could have such greed
and be so vain
and be so mean
to cause so much pain
just to make the scene!”
The skin coats weren’t all.
There was obscene
merchandise displayed on shelves from wall to wall.
Those souls we saw hunted before
were made into junk and sold throughout the mall.
Ash tray skulls, dismembered hands and other gore
was displayed on one cart.
“That’s the fate of the soul that could no more
see himself as a part
of the entire Earth.
Man loses his heart
when he weighs life only by how much money it’s worth.”
23 THE SONG OF THE THREE YEAR OLD
All of these horrors were enough to make you sick
but I swear
nothing was worse than that god-awful music.
Insipid and sappy music was everywhere
and impossible to ignore.
Abbey and I down the stair
and walked into a toy store.
The toy store was full of big kids indeed
that were always crying for more.
They were whining about all the things they need
and from what I could see
from their incessant greed,
they couldn’t be any older than the age of three.
The shelves were lined with souls that
looked just like Ken and Barbie.
They screamed when they were picked up by a spoiled brat
and torn limb from limb.
Those awful fat
kids quickly got bored with them
and threw them away.
It was hard to fathom
the way those kids play.
“People are convinced they need the most useless things
but the joy of having it doesn’t stay
so shallow is the pleasure it brings.
So all this shit just fills the trash bins
while the bumper sticker still sings,
‘He Who Dies with The Most Toys wins!’”
“They don’t look winners to me!”
I said as I watched these poor souls get punished for their sins.
There was still more to see
just past all the Barbie and Ken
dolls. There were action figures struggling to get free
but they were stuck in their plastic pen.
The brats would get a hold
of one and tear and thrash at it but it still would not open.
We watched those poor souls struggle to get before a three year old
got to them. I asked why their punishment was so drastic.
“Because they designed everything they sold
to be encased in so much plastic.
I don’t why anyone would believe
that it is so fantastic
to have to receive
so much trash with every product.”
“Maybe they thought we would perceive
that we were getting more bang for our buck.”
“Well it is certainly treason
for the Earth to be stuck
with all this non-biodegradable trash for no good reason.”
So we decided to leave that terrible store
and go back into the mall where it was always Christmas Season.
We walked out the door
as one of the three year olds was ripping off Barbie’s gown.
Plastic bags were piling on the floor.
Soon they were up to our necks and I feared we might drown.
I looked for an escalator leading up and away
but Abbey said the only way out was down.
So we went down a stairway
and soon the river of plastic was over our head
as we made our way
down further in this mall of dread.