Holy Herbicide... it's Jack & The Genestalk

To her first born son spoke Jack's mother
with as much gravitas as she could muster
crouched over compost micturating
explaining the benefits of crop rotating

Not for the crown of England, lad
would I get rid of the cow, if I were your dad
but since he took off and had our money away
I've had sod all off the CSA

'Sides the moral climate's changed my sweet
We're going free range and not doing meat

Jack loves his mother's veganism now
so he's off to market with Daisy the cow,
to be passed on to a non-pesticide farmer
for as many loads of muck as Jack can garner

But the way to town is not what it seems
when a spindly old man offers Jack some genes
they're not normal ones, but special and magic
with eco-consequences, potentially tragic

Jack's wet behind the ears and a wee bit green
But his mum's not happy with the GM scene
and chucks the magic genes all over the floor
and the very next day, well, you know the score
there's a bloody great beanstalk ascending to heaven
an irresistible attraction to a boy of eleven

Off the boy goes to the land of the Giants
Up to the castle bold and defiant
- I've got a penchant for tofu and yoga
You two are nothing but flesh-eating ogres!

The Giants got angry and growled at Jack
as the golden goose jumped up onto his back
- Fee Fi went Aventis
- Fo Fum went Monsanto
Who'd've thought we'd both end up in panto

Jack took flight straight down the stalk
as the golden goose began to flutter and squawk
it spilled the beans to the people's press
about the insidious nature of the GM business
its plans to terminate seed germinations
in less well developed Third World nations
sowing things up for the agri-giants
leaving poor farmers over-reliant
on sterile seeds at First world prices
instead of lentils, potatoes, red beans & rices

The twist in the tale for this lethal crop
happened as Jack got set for the chop
with the grim determination of guerrilla ecology
but the stalk dropped dead from termination technology

Aventis and Monsanto fell thereafter
And Jack & his mum lived organically ever after

Phil Doran
bad, slow, and powerful nights
~ for katherine ~

I. bad nights

there are forests and
forests of animals
living in her shoulders
endurance gone

wild so many times
their territory burns inside
her posture like a second
or third spine

these creatures come
and go depending on how
many statues the
night sets out

so many chess
pieces to test
her will

II. slow nights

she calculates risks
in even the simplest
of things in a blink
without an abacus

because she's
learned them like nursery rhymes
the risk of brushing
her hair by an open window
or singing in the bath

the risk of sex
no matter how strong
the protection

because endless
species roam in and
out of her shoulders
regardless of how

many times her
butterflies are dipped
in venom then dried
on the plateau

serum is out of
the question because
their whispers can't
be distilled even
their voices

can harden
and crumble from
either side

III. powerful nights

some nights climax
war in other words
and this already strange
species mutates
from the heat

and anxiety
and pumps
rabies into the rivers
burning trees like

tearing the names
off everything
until the forest is a

and those same
animals look to her
for answers
without a

compass or bread-
crumbs without a
map or stars or even a
watch she leads
them back

into the green
part of the woods
where she covers
them with moss

which soothes
their weird wounds and
quiets their eyes as they
float off on leaves

into the perfect sleep of children
peter schwartz
Brian Collier
Mike the Hopeful Catfish

The girl who sells me rice
From the back door of the grocer's
Likes to tell me that he hopes for a life free
Of silt and the tailings of the overworld.

My brother, who smuggles opium
Inside of knock-off car parts,
Says old Mike hopes for a clean,
Well lighted place where he can write
About bull fights and African mountains.

But I know better, because I asked him
Once while I crouched in the cool mud
Beside the river, the end
Of my bamboo rod
Pointing at the moon.

He hopes to promise virgin
Schoolgirls he is the lost prince
Waiting for one perfect kiss,
To touch their lips with his whiskers
And cackle as they shudder
In disgust at the river bottom smell
Of his breath.