Caitlin Johnstone – “Things That Grow”

March 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

Walk with me into the Garden wearing living clothes,
away from the dead ideas of smarmy brainiacs,
the dead towers built of Earth’s last bones,
the dead machines manufacturing bullets and poison,
the dead streets paved with dead dreamguides,
and the dead voices of the death gods on television.

Walk with me into the Garden wearing living clothes,
away from moaning clerics and the books of dead men,
the mud farms and stump orchards and gargoyle gardens,
the Cyber Valley where they digitize dead minds,
the think tanks where they make our eyes turn gray,
and come play in the Garden full of things that grow.

Walk with me into the Garden wearing living clothes,
and I’ll show you how deeply cherished you are,
how the wind rejoices at the touch of your flesh,
how your mind floats in a sea of undiscovered leviathans,
how plants have voices and trees are buddhas,
your infinite significance and eternal irrelevance.

Walk with me into the Garden wearing living clothes,
and get pregnant with me full of things that grow,
with baby rainforests and schools of whales,
with dragon poets forbidden from history,
with the pulsing of the Earth and the pulsing of our hearts
as we merge our cells with the Unborn.

Come with me into the Garden wearing living clothes,
and let us kneel at the feet of the things that grow.

Caitlin Johnstone 


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Caitlin Johnstone – “Eden”

March 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

We hand each new baby a briefcase and a gun
and say,
“This is how it is. Deal with it.”

We tell them the lies our parents taught us,
then send them off to war in the City
where they get old and get mortgages
until they decay on their deathbeds
surrounded by acquaintances
who tell stories like,
“He built a tall tower on the east end of the City,”
“She wrote about clothes for a magazine.”

When what we should do
(and I will scream this until my final breath)
is ask the baby,
“Well, what do you reckon is going on?
What’s it like in there, baby,
before you’ve been filled with lies,
before you’ve been adopted by bosses and a pill-popping spouse,
before we’ve painted you with oil and sold you to Amazon?
How do you look at the world with such wonder?
How do you delight in my face
when you have seen it so many times before?
How can we play again
like you play, baby?
How can we get back
to the place when the world was enthralling
and all we knew was love
before we got captured by gargoyles in the City?
Before we found ourselves clinging to screens like a life raft,
before our vision turned into gray pixels?”

What does the baby see from its cradle?
What does the space between our thoughts think about all this?
Show me your eyes as they were when they first opened
and I will walk with you back to Eden.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “It Is True”

March 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

It is true that God is dead,
and it is true that we have killed him.

But it is also true that in his bones
there are vast caverns that we have not yet explored
which are full of creatures and kingdoms.

And it is also true that in his skeletal hand
there is a key to an airship
stationed on the roof of a nearby liquor store,
and it can fly to anyplace in any universe.

And it is also true that his skull is sprouting
with a rainbow rainforest,
and kaleidoscope ivy is covering your city.

And it is also true that in your heart
there is a baby with God’s eyes
who can see out of your eyes.

And it is also true that you can see that way
more and more each day if you want to.

And it is also true that we are on a mystery boat
in a sea of mystery
that is headed somewhere mysterious.

And it is also true that you are sacred
and I cherish you with every fiber of my being.

God is dead,
but we are alive,
and the next page is about to turn
like that little pause
after the final click
when the rollercoaster
completes its climb.


Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “I Will Stand”

March 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

As the gum tree stands in defiance
of the bushfire raging by,
as the crone stands in defiance
of death’s hand day by day,
as the world stands in defiance
of poetic attempts to apprehend it,
I will stand,
O my sisters,
I will stand.

I will stand with you facing cannons,
Saudi oil wizards,
the red-eyed spy machines in our homes,
and the gargoyles in black suits.

I will stand with you facing cyborgs in riot gear,
the crooked knives of the Bank Boys,
Hollywood child eaters with tentacle teeth,
and the scoffing smileyface news platoon.

There’s a morning star,
and the call of a strange gull
that labcoats had assured us was extinct.

There’s a pulse in our planet only we can hear,
and it braces our legs as we stand.

Let them move their pieces into place on the board
with their clumsy metallic fingers.

Let them assemble their howling hordes on the field
with their crude crayon drawings of what they think we are.

A woman made of moons is rising from the Earth
and she will stand with us,
she will stand.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “Strike the Drum of the Elephant God”

November 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

Place a jade crown upon the night sky, oh my daughter,
and a silver crown on each grain of sand beneath your feet.
Do not trust horny boys or polite politicians.
Trust only the hymn in your cells.
The path you must walk is as narrow as a zebra sword’s edge,
and it is slippery with grandmother tears.

Find the moss-covered elephant bone, oh my daughter,
on the sea cliff where I brought you into this world,
where my labor cries mixed with the waves and the whale songs.
Strike the drum of the Elephant God with the bone
to the rhythm of the hymn in your cells.

Strike the drum for the orphans of the Calliope Wars,
and for the corpses of angels swinging from street lamps.
For the wailing trees being eaten by sheet metal locusts,
for the silent army of children with pitchforks,
for the night sky filling with deathball machines,
for the worm-toothed dragon awakening beneath the mountain,
for the puppets made of flesh made to dance for the oil kings,
and for the baby who is stirring in your womb,
strike the drum, oh my daughter, strike the drum.

My cells taught you a hymn as soon as you were conceived,
and it’s wiser than anything I can say to you here.
Strike the drum of the Elephant God until sunrise,
then begin making your nest as I taught you.
Your labor cries will soon mix with the cries of the grandmothers,
and I will be cherishing you deeply, oh my daughter.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “The Mushroom Cloud Angel”

November 21, 2017 at 8:10 pm (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

A mushroom cloud angel came to visit me one night
while I was drinking whiskey and Gatorade
and arguing with a wrong person on the internet.
It smelled like ozone and tire fires.
Its eyes stretched all the way back to the Big Bang.

“Uhh, look,” I said as my vase of petunias wilted in its presence.
“Whatever this is, I’m really not ready for it.
I haven’t showered, and my credit’s a mess,
and I’ve got unresolved issues with my mother still.
Emma Carmichael next door, you should try her.
She’s got her shit together.
She drives a Honda Odyssey.”

There was a deep rumbling in my bones,
and the paint on the walls began to peel.
A cockroach scuttled out backwards from its hiding place.
My office supplies started to levitate,
and suddenly I knew what the creature wanted.
Why it had come to me.

“Oh,” I said.
“Okay. Let me think.”

I told it about how I try really, really hard
not to let any moment here go to waste.
How even if I’m just watching The Bachelorette
or doodling in my notepad or looking out the window,
I try to really feel every part of it.
I told it how the beauty of my lover’s face makes me weep,
and how I cherish every time my kids include me in their things.
How the galahs and magpies bicker every morning
and how they make me smile while I sip my black coffee.
How I know it’s spring when the magnolias blossom,
and how jasmine means summer’s near.

I showed it everything I’ve come to adore about people;
our frailty, our ferociousness,
our relentless drive to create.
The guileless symbiosis of an elderly married couple,
the elegant awkwardness of teenagers,
the desperation of parents trying not to screw up too bad.
How thrilling it is to start again every sunrise.
How terrifying it is to fall more in love every day
with someone who can’t live forever.

I invited it into my body and let it walk around in my skin
so it could feel how awesome it is to be human.
Still haven’t gotten the smell out of my nostrils
or the ancient eons out of my veins.

“Well?” I asked it, my face dripping sweat,
when I’d run out of reasons to offer.
“Do we get to stay here or not?”

The mushroom cloud angel turned and walked away,
burning craters in the Carmichaels’ lawn with its feet.
I don’t know who else it has talked to since,
or how often we’re made to answer,
but the bombs still haven’t dropped.
We’re all still here,
come what may.

Emma was so pissed off.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “When We Raise Our True Flag”

November 17, 2017 at 9:22 am (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

There will come a day
(and it won’t be long now)
when the mandible-mouthed liars cease their death song,
and ivy grows over the bunkers of the Bank Boys,
and the cannons all sprout mushrooms,
and fireflies fill the air once more.

When that day comes,
we will lower the flag of the marching machine
(once used as wrapping paper for dead teenagers with rifles,
once hung over buildings full of men with red eyes,
once emblazoned upon flying robots that rained fire),
and we will raise our true flag at long last.

It will be woven from the prayers of our grandmothers
who will never see it raised but knew one day it would be.
It will be dyed in the blood of the media martyrs
who stared the Bastards in the eye and sang life songs.
It will have a traditional image of Michael the Archangel,
except instead of him stepping on the Devil
they are laughing together over a drink at the pub
while a man with a pipe looks on and smiles.
It will be based on a drawing made in crayon long ago
by a chain-smoking dryad who lurks in your brain pan.

We will all salute it in our own unique way:
with fart jokes and whale songs,
with unearthly ululations,
with runed glossolalia,
with lightning from our fingertips,
with air guitar karate,
with lava dance lovemaking,
with a single tear from someone who still misses you,
with an uplifting of the heart toward the sky.

And then we’ll all curl up together
and we’ll sleep unafraid
for the very first time,
and we will dream of the ones
who helped walk us home.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Caitlin Johnstone – “The Letter”

November 12, 2017 at 9:26 am (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

I found a dead bison by the side of the freeway.
A white one, the kind that visits you in dreams
and wordlessly walks you through the wonders and horrors
of everything that lies Underneath.

It was crumbled up smashed
at the foot of a billboard for wireless service
and was partially covered in fast food wrappers.
Violets and daffodils were sprouting from its flesh.

As dark clouds gathered and wetness began to fall,
I sank down and laid upon my side.
Thinking about all the bad things.
Watching droplets wash blood from white fur.

I asked the ground,
Why come this far
if it was just going to end like this?
With factories spewing black smoke from burnt angels
while plastic TV hosts twist their mouths into smiles?
With Raytheon revolutions and populist ecocide?
With brainwashed babies and an Amazon logo on the moon?”

I heard footsteps approaching,
but I didn’t turn around.

A familiar claw reached down
and handed me a letter.

“You’ve been gone for decades when I needed you most,” I said.
“Why come back at all?”

Air washed over me as the fucker took flight.
Never saw him again.
Didn’t need to.

I opened the letter.
My tears mixed with the rain.

Caitlin Johnstone 


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Caitlin Johnstone – “men.”

November 8, 2017 at 9:30 am (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

they lined up to punch and kick my flower

took turns politely like good little boys
with nice clean hands

it’s your turn my good man
after you sir you were here first
no no i insist
oh you are too kind

then set upon me like wolves
like apes

funneled my flesh through the secret screams of their mothers
their poor mothers who still wake up early
to put on makeup so they don’t disgust their husbands

they sowed my soil with salt before my flower could bloom
then asked why i’m not like the on-screen nakeds
with sperm on their faces like war paint on the fallen

tell me i should enjoy myself more
like the ones they shat out before me

i don’t know what’s wrong with this one
he told the next in line
maybe her mother dropped her on her head

i held my dead flower in my eyes and wept
while making lunch wraps for the children

mowgli was raised by wolves
they taught him to run and to hunt

tarzan was raised by apes
they taught him to climb and to swing

i was raised by men
and they taught me to hate my sisters

but the wind is changing
and the earth has been shaken
and there is a new topsoil now

as we kneel together
watching the sprouts emerge
we hold hands

Caitlin Johnstone 

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Caitlin Johnstone – “Utopia Preppers”

November 6, 2017 at 9:32 am (Caitlin Johnstone, Poetry & Literature)

We hide in clockwork palaces
where the squawking screens can’t find us
and plant flowers in shoes
that we found in the gutter
by the light of a jealous moon.

We do not sing about the end of days.
The end of days is for the dead.
While they bore the bone puppets
with their funeral dirges,
we have unprotected sex on top of skyscrapers
and get pregnant with woodwind virtuosos.
We paint dinosaur murals on the castles of the Bastards.
We drink blackberry wine from flamingo skulls
and lie to God.

The sea has gone still
and the birds are all watching.
We are the utopia preppers,
and we are ready for the golden age.
Tell those giant crystal elephants in the womb of time
with their mirror minds and mushroom voices
that we are hungry for our feast.

Caitlin Johnstone

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