Thursday, February 28, 2019

Government and Private Industry Destroy Yet Another Pocket of Bushland in Perth (Kiara)

See Hannah Barry's article on this latest abuse of nature by government and developers in Perth, Western Australia. And my poem in response to this catastrophe:

Deathwish Imposed on Kiara Bushland

Landcorp and the developers
win always in their deathwish

endgame collusion — the killing
off, the erasing to say, This is how

it always was — old growth
just photoshopped into a history

you never had — we give you what
is: dead space to grow our buildings,

‘providing’ you places to live
where orchids and skinks,

singing and calling birds
are written off, out of the image.

Remorseless. Who do they make us?
These self-appointed speakers

for the land that was never theirs?
Housing the spirits of killed flora

and fauna as people will wonder
what it is that’s not quite right

with the air the pollen record
cemented over? Bottlebrush Drive.

            John Kinsella

Monday, February 25, 2019

Another Poem for the Slaughtered Trees on Toodyay Road (just south of Toodyay town)

Seeing an Excavator Tooth-extractor Push Over an Old-growth Wandoo
            On the Road to Perth Just South of Toodyay

Subset of incantatory praise of CAT planet-wrecking machinery —
the 50-ton excavator with range of buckets — shears groomers
grabs skeletons mud rock batter teeth — that will debranch and tear
a trunk will twist to push and rip out the old-growth wandoo

before your eyes as workaday as time sheets. Watch the headstrong
tree pushed over to tilt at planners’ windmills tumbling into gully
and reach for your mouth your maw always that bloody dental
analogy tedious as jawing and mouthing on and on so phobic and gory.

Excavator tracks knuckle by knuckle scallop by scallop levered
forward chain of command steel confrontation with tree flesh
resilience till give — root and nerve sans anaesthetic bare to the gaze
of sadists or maybe just the blithely indifferent. Cruel and clear sap bloody.

Subset of incantatory and cruel as therapy designed to get you back
to work that damages, keep you dulled to pulling and pushing,
tearing teeth from the jawing and mouthing the wordy planet —
induce an illiteracy of presence, an exclamation of pain without

vocabulary. After all, who can speak with a numbed lip anyway?
This CAT-induced literacy of being the excavator that pulls and pushes
as well as digs, this deployment of rough surgical equipment, this grooming
of planet to run roughshod and unmake syntax to realign sense.

Where is this room for finding in a subset of incantatory praise?
Surely there’s room to find a way in and back out via the gap
made by the CAT 50-ton excavator’s work ethic, its showing
the way to what will be — bloody mouth empty of tree-teeth; smiley-faced?

            John Kinsella

Veganism and Animal Rights, and Vigilantism and Farming Communities in Western Australia

I sent this letter to the Western Australian Police Commissioner and the Premier of Western Australia early last week. I want to add that the W.A. mainstream media coverage of veganism and animal rights issues in Western Australia has generally been rabid and paranoid, and part of a disturbing far-right stirring of nationalism that aims for aggressive suppression of any challenge to the industry.

Dear Police Commissioner

I wish to protest the ‘support’ given by police (as seen in today’s news) to a member of the public who discharged a weapon near people who were filming animals on his property. The moment the use of a weapon in any capacity is given the okay, you have opened the door to injury or worse — advertent or inadvertent.

I have no connection to the activists in question; I do not know them.

To side with the animal farmers against the vegan animal rights activists is not the police’s remit — the police’s remit is to uphold the law. There is no room for moral intrusion in this process — you cannot take sides. Doing so contributes to polarising and hardening differences, rather than helping toward understanding.

Activists’ intrusions can be legally dealt with according to law — and should the activists wish to change things, they need to work to change the laws. No one should feel threatened in this.

One could argue that animals’ rights are part of this as well, and I would, but I recognise that until laws are changed there are ways to go about these things that respect people as well as animals. No doubt. But not to charge someone using a weapon in the vicinity of people no matter how enraged, or even if the weapon-user feels ‘threatened’, is unacceptable by the laws you yourself uphold.

I have been a vegan for approximately thirty-three years, and my wife for twenty-five years, and we live in the wheatbelt. We live alongside others amicably, which doesn’t mean we all always agree on everything. Ours is not to bully or cajole others, but to live our lives decently and offer an example of a different way of living on the planet. Many have been influenced by our choices, not because we have bullied them, but because we haven’t. As such, animals benefit as well.

It is not right to threaten, deride, or humiliate others in any circumstances, even if one feels they are doing wrong. It’s s slippery slope in both directions.

So I would ask you to stand up against vigilantism and respect non-aggressive vegans and animal rights people as much as you do those who farm animals, and certainly more than those who are armed and make threats (and yes, wielding firearms around people is a form of threat).

Police actions in this have made us feel vulnerable, as if farmers are being encouraged into aligning against vegans, and we shouldn’t have to feel that way. We don’t make others feel vulnerable, and are known to respect difference. Your job surely is to uphold the law, and not to cast judgement.

John Kinsella


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Poem of Anger, Sadness and Frustration at the Destruction of Trees Along the Toodyay-Perth Road

Tyrant Spells in Excessive Heat Sees Old Trees Uprooted Alongside Toodyay-Perth Road as the Biosphere Collapses In a Heap to be Mulched (Seeds Collected for Later Resowing in the Spirit Of...) in The Name of Safety

            ‘But a tyrant spell has bound me, 
            And I cannot, cannot go. 

            The giant trees are bending’ 

                        Emily Brontë

These trees I see now on this surveyed zone
are not ours per se, but we have responsibility
under the tyranny. Even if we plant
a seed and it grows to sapling and tree
we do not own the growth or even
the tree’s body when it deceases.

And so the local naturalist club does
a deal with government tree-killers incorporated —
‘give some up to save some’ — and ‘stakeholders’
who are informed make their cases and seeds
are collected and deep-seated flooded gums

are tumbled. Offsets. In the jaws of the embodied
hologram of an arcade claw machine transmigrated
to do its coin-feeders’ bidding, always responding
where aimed and succeeding in grabbing the killed trees’
fluffy ‘all the same’ canopy and dropping down

the mulcher’s gullet — steel-capped grin. The personal agony
of failed protest before protest can even happen aside
it’s on your doorstep and signed off on righteously
(road trauma is real but there are other ways of holding back
the slaughter) — vested interests tearing down life-towers,

intensive housing project for non-human life along the roadside —
and the compulsory reclamation of what’s
outside the reserve to enact the vision
of transport. Giant trees bend then are torn out
like teeth, the heavy snow of fallout in the overheating —

I cannot pass without the pain deluding
me into an acceptance of falls with machine’s
anaesthetics offering nothing more than a brief
respite from culpability — ‘the community’
having answered in all our names, Babbeled tree-talk.

Why not travel slower, speak slower? Take
curves gradually with shade against the burn?
Let life-growth show a way through office-decisions
all bravado in the field — suits mingling with work clobber
hard to get clean: break the tyrant spell, and let us all go,
go through unbreaking unbroken less excessive less overheated.

            John Kinsella