By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III)...with Les Blough
(with a nod to Paul Simon)
1. out the back, Jack - Get off the grid. Find ways big or small to lessen dependency, e.g., use low energy mercury-free bulbs or light a candle in the evening instead of using electric lights; cut back on air conditioner usage by using fans and/or adopting a Native sweat lodge mentality.
2. plan, Stan - Learn about the corrupt business of the oiligarchs in the ___stan region, Middle East, Africa, and other hotspots.
3. bus, Gus - Develop public, minimal and/or non-polluting transportation systems like trains, buses, etc.
4. coy, Roy - Pressure politicians and corporate masters to take lie detector tests, or maybe the media could just do its job.
5. bee, Lee - Find ways to preserve bee populations; they are an essential link in the food chain.
6. grow, Joe - Buy from local farmers. Give them their share with fair trade coffee and other forms of nourishment. Grow vegetables organically at your home. They are economical and fun! Learn about city gardening on the Internet. Cuba serves fine examples of people growing their own vegetables on patios, rooftops, hanging pots, and other surprising places. Look for local, grass-fed beef, eggs from grass-fed chickens, etc., as well as local honeys, cheeses, breads, etc.
7. day, Ray - Use solar wherever and whenever you can. Encourage solar-powered solutions for homes and businesses in your community. Organize your neighbors to purchase solar panels collectively and share the electricity generated.
8. Earth, Bertha - Our resources come from Mother Earth. Do your part to take care of her, changing your mindset to working with her rather than using her. Raise awareness among people you know or even those you meet in the checkout lines!
9. gestalt, Walt - What people en masse are thinking, feeling, and doing reflects the meaning of the German word, “gestalt.” You can often learn more from this than one particular leader, depending of course on the leader; Morales and Chavez, e.g., are also part of their respective gestalts.
10. fill, Bill - Reconsider what it means to be fulfilled. How much of it comes from waiting on a leader and how much from your hard work, inner self, and community. Debunk consumerism as a solution to loneliness and emptiness.
11. chillin’ and shillin’, Dylan - Song lyrics can serve as entertaining reminders and lift the spirit. As Bob Dylan sings in “Subterranean Homesick Blues”: “Don’t follow leaders/ Watch the parkin’ meters”. Also, be aware of and do some research to find out which individuals, organizations, or advertisements may be shillin’ for corrupt leaders or corporations.
12. spell, Nell - Wake up and realize that much of what is destructive to the planet, e.g., predatory capitalism, is a spell designed to hypnotize and make you feel superior to others – or inferior to others. Otherwise the corporate media and the brunt of the educational system, which is designed to brainwash and numb critical thinking and intuition, will continue unchecked.1
13. core, Cory - At its center the Earth’s core is fiery. We too have a fiery-like essence, made of light and seemingly beyond scientific comprehension. Instead of always looking to a leader for answers, get in touch with your inner core, especially when making important decisions.
14. trash, Ashley - Cut down on waste. Use canvas bags when shopping. Compost your garbage. Recycle or reuse used envelopes, plastic containers, printer cartridges, etc. Pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods, on streets, etc.
15. gene, Eugene - Limit production of genetically modified products or at least demand honest labeling of GMO products.
16. hole, Joel - Organize so as to prevent the digging of unnecessary holes in Mother Earth, e.g., fracking, oil drilling, mountaintop removal.
17. gym, Jim - The ancient Greek gymnasium focused on intellectual as well as physical education; a good model for modern day blending of brain and brawn, instead of the indoctrination of mindless, brute competition.
18. bomb, Tom - The cost to produce some bombs may be cheap, but the long-term effects are devastating.2 Join protests against the arms manufacturers and vendors; join or organize protests in your community for movements such as “Occupy” or “Unoccupy,” if you look at the situation from an Indigenous perspective.
19. buck, Chuck - It can be a challenge, but don’t make every decision based on cost. A 10-dollar purchase at a small local business will typically help your community more than an 8-dollar purchase online or at big corporate chains. And you might make a new friend at the local store or even get an opportunity to put your work skills to use.
20. plain, Jane - Some generic or lesser known products are as good as brand name ones, and cost less. Escape the mentality created by advertising and PR psyops to buy labels and “latest fashions” rather than buying quality and comfort at lower prices.
21. cruisin', Susan - Car pool. Save gas and reduce pollution and enjoy the company of your neighbors and friends. Plan fewer trips to the grocery store or to the city.
22. Tora Bora, Laura - Rumor had it that Osama bin Laden could have been captured in 2001 at Tora Bora but somehow escaped.3 Heighten awareness among those you know and meet about the many strategic and tactical deceptions by politicians, think-tank foreign policy makers, and their media.
23. choice, Joyce - Be wary of so-called “mandates.” Be in touch with your true self and listen to “the still, small voice within.” Think critically and independently. Grow in wisdom regardless of your age and make wise choices.
24. bread, Ed - Leaders who are more concerned with making money than making sure that people are well-fed, don’t deserve to be leaders. On a personal level, as this depressed economic epoch lengthens, share your bread with your neighbors and friends. Make food a community resource. Make it a commitment to give something – money, food or other goods to the stranger in need of a handout. Share.
25. feather, Heather - Birds and other animals are often the first to leave an area if there is severely dangerous weather approaching. Learn to pay attention to and care for the critters in your area. Animals and Aboriginal Peoples saved themselves by doing so prior to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami4. Get in touch with, listen to, respect and “hold fast to the lessons learned from nature.” (I Ching)
26. felony, Melanie - While corporations committing crimes often go free by paying fines they can easily afford, individuals whose guilt is unproven, e.g., Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, remain behind bars. Work for the release of political prisoners and innocent people in prisons – and for humane treatment of those who must be removed from society because of the danger they pose. Insist on justice for political and corporate criminals.
27. bill, Phil - Read or investigate your bills carefully before paying. If you drive less than 7,500 miles a year you may be able to get a reduction on your car insurance. Also, cellular telephone plans and bills are among the most onerous. Examine their “Plans” closely. Examine very closely bills from hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. They are often padded with redundancies and overcharges. There are too many other examples of rip-off corporate billing to mention here.
28. mirror, Keira - Look in the mirror. Tom Paine, e.g., was a proponent of self-governance. Take an honest look at yourself every day. Learn to self-examine for self-improvements. Admit weaknesses and commit to making positive changes.
29. pain, Elaine - Explore alternative health care, healing, and self-maintenance methods: holistic, herbal, acupuncture, energy balancing, meditation, etc.
30. lictor, Victor - Lictors were like Roman police officers, doing the magistrate’s fascist bidding. A huge victory will occur when various modern police forces stop protecting their elite masters and instead protect the people. Object to abuse and violence by police. Defend the victims of police brutality.
31. splief, Keith - Legalize medical and recreational marijuana, taxing it if necessary. NYPD, e.g., has a high-percentage of racially profiling minorities and making arrests for marijuana possession, while allowing white-collar criminals to do business-as-usual. Alcohol is advertised on TV and promoted as society’s acceptable ‘drug’ of choice. Enjoy, but avoid getting trapped by addiction to anything.
32. lawn, Shawn - Skip chemical fertilizers on your lawn or garden and try using organics such as lime, corn gluten. Plant aromatic plants like basil or marigold around your garden for insect prevention rather than using toxic pesticides.
33. place, Grace - Gary Snyder wrote, “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there,” and he reminded us that, “Nature is not a place to visit. It is our home.” Find and learn to know intimately your place on earth, commit yourself to it. Learn the ways of the insects, birds, plants, trees, and animals there – even in the city. Love and care for your local habitat.
34. budget, Bridget - Various cities and counties are strapped for cash.5 There have been many public school closings and deep reductions in funding for local government services and social programs. It is interesting, however, that there seems to be enough money to pay lots of police to patrol peaceful protests. Visit town hall meetings and fight for humane and fair redistribution of the local budget.
35. rally, Sally - Build more and bigger political rallies and protests but keep them peaceful; The Powers That Be are often itching for a fight. Join the nearest (Un)Occupy Movement group in your region and if one doesn’t exist, connect with like-minded people to discuss the possibility of organizing one. If you’re at home a lot, join a chat room or watch livestream online to learn for yourself what’s happening at various protests, marches, and gatherings.
36. bake, Jake - As temperatures heat up and glaciers go down, we need to think and plan without borders. How to help climate refugees is already an issue.
37. serene, Irene - Even though it’s helpful to channel outrage into action, sometimes the amount of bullshit going on in the world is enough to push emotional buttons, so one has to make a point to be serene. Learn to meditate, exercise, or take tranquil walks. Look for local meditation centers; sometimes we have to experiment until we find one that fits. Or simply make a practice of sitting quietly at home.
38. chorus, Doris - Consider whether your personal message or individual effort would be more powerful coming from a group.
39. slave, Dave - It’s hard not to be part-slave to The System, whether paying a mortgage or doing slave labor, but at least the awareness of such can help you free your mind.
40. heaven, Trayvon - Look for subtle guidance from ancestors and friends who have passed away. The recent killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has brought forth huge protests regarding racism and ineffective policing. Trayvon has a lot to teach us even after crossing over to “the other side.”
41. buddy, Buddy - During swimming and other kids’ activities, there’s the buddy system. Or as Matthew of the Christian bible relayed the message for adults: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” We need to build and nurture our support systems among friends and acquaintances, especially during these challenging economic times.
42. robin, Robin - As robins are a sign of spring, look to birds, insects, animals, etc. as totems with a message. Natives call this a form of “medicine,” being guided by a non two-legged.
43. curfew, Matthew - In the 24/7 world of technological lights, a self-imposed curfew can help to calm and connect with inner lights.
44. truce, Bruce - Sometimes you might be at odds with someone, but you can make a good example by calling for a truce and looking for ways to get along. Learn to truly forgive others as well as yourself.
45. ban, Van - Things that are destructive to humanity and the planet need to be banned from illicit usage. “Illicit usage” because, e.g., a country, perhaps reasonably, can have weapons as a form of self-defense, yet those weapons may be used destructively. Help organize or participate in calls for bans on illicit usage and on nuclear weapons in all nations.
46. haul, Paul - Sometimes the best way to help people is to load a truck and bring them what they need. Organizations such as Changing Winds Advocacy Center6 help to deliver much needed items to some of the poorest of the poor in the USE (United States Empire), e.g., the Lakota.
47. jiltin’, Hilton - Nothing personal against Paris Hilton, but shun the mainstream culture’s glorification of faux celebrity status that she represents, a status that is the polar opposite to “I am Spartacus,” which, by filling in the name, has been adopted at various protests and marches, most recently to honor Trayvon Martin. (see #40.)
48. duty, Judy - Doing one’s duty goes both ways. One can pass the buck by simply following orders even if such duty means harming fellow citizens OR one can do one’s duty by acting responsibly, ethically, and perhaps doing what one is destined to do by some inner calling or simple intuition.
49. bike, Mike - After the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba’s main oil supply was cut off, “Cuba produced half a million bikes and bought more than a million from China.”7 The air would be cleaner and the world would be a better place if we used bicycles for transportation when possible, instead of cars.
50. road, Joad - Fictional characters often inspire and serve as role models. In Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” Ma Joad says to her son: “You’ve got to have patience . . . Why Tom, we’re the people that live. They ain’t gonna wipe us out . . . we keep a-comin’. Don’t you fret none, Tom. A different time’s a comin’.”
READ MORE OF MANKH'S POEMS
AND ESSAYS ON AXIS OF LOGIC
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. He recently edited and published the book, The (Un)Occupy Movement: Autonomy of Consciousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality.
You can contact him via his literary website.
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- $265 Bomb, $300 Billion War
- Bush Team Blew Chance to Nab Osama
- Tsunami Warning System of Aboriginal Tribes
Did Animals Sense Tsunami Was Coming?
- Wall Street Confidence Trick: How "Interest Rate Swaps" Are Bankrupting Local Governments”
- Changing Winds Advocacy Center
- How Cuba Survived the Oil Crisis