Monthly Archives: April 2012

the turquoise ledge, leslie marmon silko

Reading The Turquoise Ledge makes me think of Silko seeing the other plane sometimes when the light is just right.

And how the scales of snakes have the same composition as feathers, letting them fly over the ground.

Silko who treats all creatures with love and respect gets that love and respect back.  She lets all she comes across know she means no harm, and she receives trust back.

Silko who recognizes the air’s influence on us.

Silko reminds me the instincts I had as a child to love & sympathize with all life were correct.  She is careful of all, including bees, realizing they have a purpose, and if you pay attention, they tell you things, like when it’s going to rain.

Silko’s lessons in Nahuatl language, experiments with writing rain chants, and naming the cloud types, remind us  to be in tune with beauty and of how we are connected with all matter.

Since reading Turquoise Ledge, I’m reminded that clouds are alive beings, capable of communicating, “Family members and the ancestors show their love for us when they return as clouds.”

The Turquoise Ledge reclaims the world of nature – the world of authentic reality – with adoration.  Silko shows us that the desert where she lives is a fascinating and lush place.  She gives perspective on living that’s considerate to roots, story, memory, plant, animal, human, molecule.

Bits of poetry in Turquoise Ledge drip down effortlessly from the prose like a stream from a lake,

            Pansy moth
         yellow and brown. 
            Last night you
                            landed on the moon
                      in the water.
                      This morning
                      you are floating
                                     between the
                      water lily leaves.

In this moment, when blood money is determined to destroy the planet that sustains life, Silko’s understanding and respect of nature is important testimony, and teacher.  Silko offers a voice of witness, which speaks of the miraculousness of natural reality.  She translates the language of non-human species who need our affection now more than ever.

Telepathic love’s a real thing, so is the life-giving matriarch of strength and compassion.


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the ills of Casella and Juniper Ridge Landfill

what we're trying to protect

society for roots and trees is appalled that the sacred place where we live is becoming an ever expanding toxic chemical dump.  We like to live and breathe and coexist in health and happiness.  We don’t like it when heartless aliens come in and kill all the magic for money.

Maine’s a gloriously beautiful place, what is worth destroying it?  When it is destroyed, we are all destroyed.  Poisoning our land and water and air poisons us.

Right up river from the home of the Penobscot Nation – Indian Island – the state of Maine has allowed an out of state corporation, Casella Waste, to operate Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL).  Casella Waste has been continuously making shady deals that severely undermine the environment and people who live around the landfill.

Originally, JRL was only supposed to be used for Old Town mill waste, then it was only to be used for state of Maine waste, now Casella is trucking in biomedical waste from Massachusetts, Vermont, Connectitcut and New Hampshire.  The blood and poison and drugs and disease and chemicals seep into our ground and spread through our river.  The toxic gasses flare up and choke our lungs.

For a complete synopsis of these happenings, and information on the danger of landfills in general, go here.

After decades of exploitive industries contaminating the Penobscot River with dioxins from Mill waste, damming, flooding and pulp waste from logging, Penobscot Native Americans have worked hard and unceasingly to clean up the river over the years, vastly improving the health of the Maine ecosystem.  The river is a fundamental part of Penobscot cultural traditions and survival, and home to many species, not just humans.

Native Americans in Maine and throughout the Americas have been treated unfairly and had genocide committed against them enough.  It’s unacceptable that this level of injustice is still going on right outside our doors.

In the midst of so many environmental affronts against our beloved place of residence, just lately, Casella is trying to get further control of Juniper Ridge:

If you can, find time to write.  Representatives can be looked up at

Here’s an example of the kind of letters we’ve been sending to our senators, governors, representatives and department of environmental protection agents:

Dear Senator Raye,

It has come to my attention that a resolve concerning Biddeford MERC and Juniper Ridge Landfill is being rushed through the motions without a chance for leadership and citizen input!

What’s the rush?! I hope state lawmakers are aware of the multitude of concerned citizens in towns surrounding Juniper Ridge Landfill (JRL) who will be OUTRAGED if Casella Waste is given more corporate control in Maine.  I am particularly concerned with the lack of transparency that surrounds JRL activities.

We don’t need Casella bringing more toxic waste into our precious environment.  Destroying and poisoning the land that we live on also destroys and poisons us.

It’s appalling how the state of Maine is giving Casella, an out of state company, so much power to do lasting harm to the Penobscot river, Penobscot Native Americans, and the citizens of Old Town, Orono, and Maine.

People who vote their lawmakers into office trust them to do the right thing for the well-being of the citizens of Maine – not for the pockets of corporations and industry.

PLEASE Senator Raye, do everything in your power to stop Casella Waste from getting complete control of Juniper Ridge Landfill, control which would expand that company’s power to destroy our environment and health.

It’s not right nor just what is being allowed to happen. Concerned citizens have a right to know what is going on around them and to participate in the democratic process.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

15 polluted water road
toxic mill town, maine 00100

Feel free to use that as your own template for writing letters to help.

Here are words from some other society for roots and trees members who wrote in to describe the dire straights we’re faced with:

“Juniper Ridge Landfill history has been riddled with sneaky, underhanded deals between the operators and the State of Maine.  Now it seems the state wants to give up its responsibility for this dump, leaving Casella to do as it pleases.  We already know about the underhanded politics that landed Casella the job of operator several years ago (under Baldacci’s administration), we already know that they are trucking in tons of waste from out-of-state, including biomedical waste!  We know that they were granted a partial expansion, despite citizen protests, we know that they have entered into a multi-million dollar deal with the university of maine to construct a methane pipeline, and the saga continues….

In short, the state of Maine (ancestral wabanakiland!) is under severe environmental attack right now!!  We need people to be aware, become involved, and help spread the word.”


Perhaps you have seen the terrible news for anyone who cares about our
community that there is a bill (LD 1911) before the legislature to
sell Juniper Ridge Landfill to Casella!
We do not know what the legislative procedure will be over the next
few days for this bill that was introduced very suddenly.
The bill is here
This resolve authorizes the State to take action to facilitate the
transfer of the Maine Energy Recovery Company facility to the City of
Biddeford and the closure of this facility. It also authorizes the
State to transfer the ownership and licenses
of the Juniper Ridge Landfill in the City of Old Town to Casella Waste
Systems, Inc. It specifies requirements that must be met before the
Maine Energy Recovery Company facility may be closed, one of which is
the transfer of the Juniper Ridge
Landfill to Casella Waste Systems, Inc.


“Writing letters to state representatives with an overall message for them to protect our environment and natural resources is helpful.

At this point in time, there are so many bills being introduced that sabotage our environment for corporate greed that it’s nearly impossible to keep up on them, and to respond to each bill individually.  That’s why I would recommend contacting lawmakers with an overall message that we need our resources left in tact for Maine people and not for corporate greed.

Right now we are faced with a super east-west highway construction that will cut through the heart of Maine, from East, along the Stud Mill Road, crossing the Penobscot River at Freese Island, to Dover, and on through to Cobure Gore.  The purported purpose of the highway is to support industry – moving tar sand oils from Quebec to the New Brunswick port.  Tar sand oils is particularly dirty business, and the method used to extract the oil sludge is wicked destructive, using thousands of gallons of fresh water and chemical cocktails to extract the dregs of oil.  The process, referred to as fracking, has proven incredibly destructive to many, many indigenous communities, particularly from cracking the rocks below the surface of the Earth, and causing methane gases to leach into well water.  The industrial highway will be a privately owned toll road.  Our state lawmakers recently passed legislation to approve the use of $300,000 of maine taxpayer monies to fund the feasibility study for these wealthy private investors! I think our money should be used to fix our existing roads, etc, not to fund wealthy investors who only intend to hold the state ransom (they said they would pay the money back if the entire project was deemed feasible, and if it was approved by the state).

There’s the Enbridge pipelline project, moving tar sands oil from Canada to Portland.  Apparently this Canadian oil giant Enbridge has a long history of spills including 840,000 gallons of sludge spilt into the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

Then there’s the LPG tanker proposed for Searsport; the mountain top mining in Aroostook county (Thank you Irving oil for chopping the heads off our mountains!! – PS – now I won’t buy Irving oil), and of course all this landfill business – juniper ridge, norridgewock crossroads, and who knows what the heck is going to happen with Dolby (right up there at the headwaters of the Penobscot).

Scary, scary times”

A few months ago, we went to protest Casella Waste at a public meeting.  The power of the written word was most apparent when used towards justice.

I held that cardboard hand written sign to my chest as the money men talked lies and tried to silence us.  The people of Maine rallied for their land and water, “the river is my medicine,” a friend’s button said.  An old man was kicked out for speaking out to Casella with the outraged passion of a beat poet: “you’ve destroyed our land and our lives with your greed.”

Like the old quote says: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”

Our blood doesn’t run on dollar bills, it likes clean air and water, and food grown from uncontaminated soil.


Filed under letters, maine citizens engaged in resistance, manifestos, truth speakers

prayer of death, entrance

song’s a prayer for renewed society.

even the wicked men who rule this land with wealth and power will die like us.  & their oppressive dynasties will fall.

the dead say to forgive everything, everyone.

we remember we’re all perishable, and we want to take care of each sacred sprout.

we claim freedom for our lives.  we won’t die in fear.  we will die rejoicing.  we will die in love.  we will die hearing our sisters & brothers singing.  peace comes to us on a banjo wing.

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Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment

This new Robert Glasper Experiment album is a smooth giver.  We find it holy and fresh, a tonic of big Zulu birds flying from a mountain pass.

It wishes peace and love on the world, and takes us on journey we can travel light for; all we need is our ears and our soul.

Each track of experiment black radio feels like switching to a new dream radio station; breezy keys, drum, bass, wind and poems unify all songs.  The album is a transcendental blending of cultural and musical elements, and there’s something for everyone: jazz, soul, r&b, hiphop, drum band, dub, electronic, voice box and hum.  Beautiful serenades from both women and men abound.

Erykah Badu makes an appearance on Afro Blue, which is honey rhapsody.

There are jazzed covers of David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione,” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  Both these sonic Glasper versions are mind-blowing in how they give new life to pop/rock.

This album is soothing, but keeps our heads swaying.  It takes us to a place where everything’s going to be all right.  Sun’s gonna shine on our backdoor some day.

The rappers here are poets of rhythm, and it dilates our eyes to listen to them.

The whole album seeks to bring medicine to the masses, a prayer thru our speakers, washed down to our sneakers.

The most straight ahead socially conscious song on it is “Always Shine” with Lupe Fiasco and Bilal:

I hope I see these gangsters actin’ like teachers
Wake up out they sleep, dare to dream
in a world so Martin Luther King-less

 It nods to the ancestors of revolutionary discourse, Gil Scott Heron and James Baldwin:

And to my hero Heron, Gil Scott
In a discourse with Baldwin
On a jet plane with no fear for fallin’
But wishin’ it never lands
Reminiscent of the dreamtime
Presently en route to the rhymes of the machine time

We love how it ends “in the event of my demise give all my possessions to the poor, and to the oppressors, I leave the war.”

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woolgathering, patti smith

Patti Smith is our lantern through the dark, and we thank her for bringing so much light to us moths.  Her small memoir Woolgathering is like a book of proverbs, a manual on living.

The original Woolgathering came out in 1991, and this new expanded edition was released in 2011.  It’s a book about remembering our roots, ancestors, stories, magic and connection with all life.  It’s about becoming a misplaced Joan of Arc, and reconciling with existence thru omens in the clouds, which echo back:

What do we do Great Barrymore?
We stagger
What shall we do simple monk?
Be of good heart

Patti Smith gathers us into the gauzy realm of childhood, memory and imagination,

“There was a hedge composed of great bushes framing my view.  The hedge I regarded as sacred…
skipping home, we’d salute all that charmed us.”

hedges, fields, hidden people, her brother and sister, owls, Indian rubies – these are Smith’s places of worship.

Woolgathering expels legends: an old ancient man who sells minnows by his shack outside the grave of his dead wife reveals the name of the tiny beings Smith hears whispering in the field and bush.  These are the woolgatherers, he tells her.  The story revolves around her connection with the woolgatherers, who ultimately give her wings.

The act of woolgathering is likened to Patti Smith’s lifelong ritual of collecting objects for her knapsack, found treasures imbued with jinn, and to Patti Smith’s great-grandmother, “through her I possessed the soul of the shepherdess, through her I was drawn to the dreamer’s life and I imagined tending a flock, gathering wool in a leather pouch, and contemplating the color of the clouds.”

These kind of sentences tingle our waters and keep us waking to bird song.

“I would gaze, gauge and just like that, be gone – vane aviation, flitting from earth to earth, unconscious of my awkward arms or wayward socks.”

Patti Smith is sensitive to the unspoken and unseen.  She speaks to her dog with her heart silently, and the dog understands.

She brings us to child wonder, where we adore all life and look to the water, crows, and people with unifying love.  Here we reclaim our connection to the stars, our original source, and see the best in all things, including ourselves.  Woolgathering reminds us how to pray, to converse with the night sky, and to stay receptive to the mystery.

“Having my breath what more could I wish for.  All of my being rose in pursuit.  I had the advantage of the sky with its ability to become, in the twinkling of an eye, everything.”

Patti Smith is an interplanetary aviator and hero to many, yet she’s stayed true – humble, human, tender, lyrical.  She’s stayed outside society, aligning herself with the earth, emotion, rocknroll, art, gandhi, ocean, the marginalized and the persecuted.

For our birthday in June, Patti Smith is coming out with a new album, Banga.  We heard the single off it, April Fool, and it makes the rain.

Patti Smith doesn’t use gasoline, she loves bicycling and “gliding above the grass with recycled souls, tears, the babbling of children and crazy laughter.”

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found a diamond in the gutter: Maintenant 6

society for roots and trees joined forces with the curators of Three Rooms Press for Maintenant 6 – a Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing & Art.  Moment is now, and dada of now is the most exciting dada anywhere.

Maintenant 6 is a tour de force of collective beauty, protest, and intellectual cathartic catalyst.

We want to show you multiple images and poems from it, but excerpting takes away from the continuum.  This journal is something best experienced as a whole work – we cannot take a piece of the liver to represent the entire woman.  Like Jack Spicer’s poems, everything within Maintenant 6 resonates and converses with the other pieces, as well as with the reader.

The resplendent artist and poet Mina Loy was there at the beginning.  Mina Loy is still here; her painting, “Christ on a Clothesline” is on the cover of Maintenant 6.  It’s how we feel, wrung out and martyred.  Mother nature cut up on a luncheon plate.

We are continuing with the original dada intent of protesting colonialist interests and war, which now translates to protesting corporate interests and war.  We are continuing with the dada intent of reflecting a manipulated society thru art collage and found poem, taking the broken pieces of this life and reclaiming them as something magnificent and true.  Dadaists like to use manifestos for new societies such as ours, where the universe is our communal heart.

The theme of Maintenant 6 is declaring art on war.  That’s what we do.  We protest violence in our kindness.  We use our energy towards creativity and love, not for making bombs.

We are all feeling the same right now.  We are remixing our feelings of outrage against so much genocide, suicide and emptiness of toxic plastic.  One of us exhales a distressed sigh, and the next inhales that breath to bring magic to the lungs of the polluted, releasing a cry for justice.

There is immediacy in Dadaism; all poems in  Maintenant 6 are 20 lines or less, making space for 120 artists to live in 120 pages.  All the art within is provocative, protective music.  There are few words used because there is little time to live.

Maintenant 6 is tongue and cheek, without having a chip on its shoulder: “a war that we sponsor with our passivity is appropriate and warm.”

Some poems we really like from the journal are “Saudade” by Kat Georges, which beautifully articulates our “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”

Maintenant 6 is the journal that the deer would make if they had access to a press.  It transmits the psychic rhythm of underground rivers.

It’s a post-rock artscape of societies’ ancient wisdom and technological transcendence, containing much word play, pieces of meadow flower, elevator door, graffitied alleyway and digital consumption, blended into a potion of inventive pacifism.

Become a part of the dadaist revolution here and now.


Filed under literature review, maine citizens engaged in resistance, manifestos, poems, protest song ancestors, protest songs, truth speakers