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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/26/21

What is the difference between DDT and Glyphosate? followed by reflection

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What is the difference between DDT
And Glyphosate?
There is no difference.

Not to me anyway.
And I'm not thinking about how
They both cause cancer

And slowly kill us.
That's just the tip of the iceberg!
Neither is it that both

Are the darlings of industrial agriculture.
Love is blind. But don't judge.
How do you be objective about something

That's in your muscles and bones
Your blood and brain?
You don't have to listen to this,

Coming from someone with chronic Lyme.
After all, whatever I say might just
Be the Lyme talking!

Or it might be the caffeine of my coffee,
Or it might be a bitter karmic spirit
Tickling some obscure lobe of my brain.

I confess, I ate a clementine yesterday
And glyphosate started whispering,
"There, there, admit it, you love me.

You need me, I am your darling
Stop worrying so much.
When you die it won't be from me."

I should have known by now,
Being an American: When you
Debate with a poison, you lose.


This poem comes out of a place of . . . rancor? Sometimes I have to write a poem just to draw a line, a magical poetic line, between me and what is fomenting my antipathy, to differentiate between the space I occupy and the repulsiveness of whatever is pissing me off, and these days there is a lot out there that is pissing me off and repelling me. I am not into writing poems just to create solidarity around an issue that is pissing me off. That would be very selfish. I write lots of poems that are like that, but I don't save them and I certainly don't post them. What keeps this poem from being a sour-grapes dead-beat poem is the last stanza:

I should have known by now,

Being an American: When you

Debate with a poison, you lose.

When I wrote those lines, the feeling was, Oh, so that's what this poem is about. It's about how you can't win when you are treating a poison with the respect that you would grant a worthy opponent in a debate or some kind of contest. Trying to explain why you despise something that is obviously toxic and deadly is to enter into a universe where any number of terrible things are tolerated because to admit intolerance of the toxic or deadly thing means that you are taking a moral stand and then everything has to change. I think we all know what I am trying to say here. If we stopped being tolerant of things like glyphosate, we would be drawing line after line in the sand, calling out the toxic, announcing that we are no longer willing to debate or shadow-box with the intolerable, which is what we have all been doing for decades, but we're ending the relationship once and for all. So, yes, as an American, this is something I have learned, and it certainly doesn't make my life any easier: When you debate with a poison you lose. What's in your poison?

(Article changed on Mar 28, 2021 at 8:52 AM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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