Spiritual Wasteland by Liora Leah .....

I have lived in "suburbia" in Southern California all of my life. Martin Prechtel--shaman, writer, artist--describes suburbia as a spiritual wasteland. Reading the truth in his words, distraught and a little angry, I wrote the following poem as a response. Prechtel may be right about suburbia, but there IS life here, even if you have to search a bit harder to find it.

Date:   7/17/2008 10:26:29 PM ( 14 y ago)

 "...strange isolating failure of...suburbs where the insatiable hole of meaningless details of lawn chemicals, matching outfits, dead food and bad air from unpaid-for cars necessary just to keep afloat in the lonely synthetic soup of machine-dependent comfort, keeps them as individuals constantly struggling against invisibility, where daily one can painfully watch the beauty of their culturally neglected natural hearts bulldozed by the one-sided sham of television's trance-like promise of real communication into the morass of shallow thought, look-alike clothing, mass produced accents, facial expressions and language, where life is acted out for effect instead of lived to feed the Divine."  --Martin Prechtel, from The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun/Acknowledgements.

Spiritual Wasteland

Please do not abandon me
Please do not forget me
My soul is lost
amid the riot of daily assaults
on my senses
and my mind
and my heart
in this soul-less place
of lush green lawns
growing unnaturally
in the desert of Southern California suburbia,
the land of concrete freeways
and asphalt streets
and bad air
and houses that do not fall apart
where my neighbors are strangers
I share a polite "hi" with
on occasion
when leaving my house
as I run to the false safety of my vehicle
where I glide in anonymity
down those asphalt streets
across those concrete freeways
breathing that bad air,
neighbors who rarely venture outside
into their own back yard
where I flee for refuge
among the trees uprooting the grape stake fence
and the hummingbirds
who nest in the bushes each Spring,
so trustingly, at eye level 
and the roaches who gather by the hundreds
perhaps thousands
under the concrete patio
uplifted by tree roots
creating a nice, damp, dark space
once home to a family of skunks
and the ivy
now home to the nesting opossum
who graciously eats
the overripe fruit put out for her
so she may feed
her mewing babies
who cry out
for their mothers' milk
and the raccoons
arrogantly hissing at anyone
who would deny their royal passage
as they saunter through
pausing only to eat
the chicken bones and fatty skin
placed out for them
as an offering
to appease their ill humor
at having to share their world
with dull witted humans
and the grasshoppers, butterflies, June bugs,
moths, beetles, earthworms, bees, wasps, crickets,
ants, spiders, stink bugs, flies, aphids,
and myriad other winged creatures
and creepy crawlies
whose lives play out daily
below our feet
unacknowledged by us humans
for the magnificence
of their life-giving natures
in making the earth come alive
and my favorites, the slow snails
who glide out at night
from their shady sanctuaries
leaving shiny Moon-trails
on the sidewalk
to gather communally
'round the nearest dandelion
munching their midnight salad
peaceably, amicably sharing
unlike the squirrels
who chirrup at each other
chasing one another
up and down tree trunks
and across branches
in a territorial frenzy
even though
there is room for all
...maybe that is their squirrel nature,
or maybe they have lived too long
in close proximity to humans
and emulate the frustrated aggression
and possessiveness
of our empty hearts

--Liora Leah
July 4, 2008




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