Monthly Archives: October 2019

If Only I still had Faith!

A poem by Sha’Tara

If only I still had my childhood faith!
If only I could still believe as I did then!
I would storm the gates of heaven,
I would be a Greta Thunberg
Sitting day after day on the cold stones
Watching souls come and go; praying,
Wishing, hoping, thinking, dreaming!

Then after forty days and nights
I would stand in my hunger and thirst,
In my destitution and my unbearable pain,
Turn to those cold pearly gates
And I would yell for God, yell and scream!
I would call Him, curse Him, revile Him
With every vile name under the heavens,
Throwing myself against the bars
Leaving trails of blood dripping down
Upon those hard, cold stones.

If only I still had my faith, if only!

Man’s Last War

 – a poem by Sha’Tara

The world hasn’t changed much
Since so long ago I was born, when I happened
For no reason it would seem, without hubris.
I learned to talk, walk, listen and observe
With the sense it all had to mean something
In the end.

The world was cruel to me when I was young
Though I didn’t know that then, it’s what is
To a child life is the norm, the form.
There was much hardship, harshness
Little tenderness, and it seemed dangerous.
One could get used to tenderness
And the world I knew hated it with passion
unchecked.

Life is cruel they said without apology,
Why not, they’d just survived a world war
Knowing naught but blood and losses.
I thought, yes, I have to be bold, and tough,
I too must survive, there’ll be another war
And I must know how to fight it; must know
My enemy before he knows that I know
I will beat him.

No, the world hasn’t changed, not at all.
The same people lie, cheat, rob and rule,
The same people suffer and die, their blood
Lubricates the scythe blindly sweeping
To leave fodder and dying stubble in its wake
To be ploughed.

Yet something did change, has changed:
A new World War is being fought
No longer man against man but once again
Man against nature-she fighting her protracted way
She can never lose. Man in his hubris
Still believes he can win this war and it will be
As he never, ever, won any of his other wars.
Earth withdraws her bounty.

Man’s motto remains against, never with
Rashly, brashly he spreads his nets,
His barb wire, his jet trails, his towers,
His stacks, his chimneys, his warehouses
His poisons, his noise, his armaments and bombs,
All to be measured in corporate profits for
The rich to get richer.

Civilization teeters on the brink of extinction,
The skies are deeply troubled, changing colours,
Glaciers melt, calve, fires burn, smoke rises:
Death, death, death! Booms and cackles
The Lord of Greed, the God of man, terminator
Soulless and heartless

The last man stands on his funeral pyre
Proudly made of planet Earth’s skin
Sure he’d won his very last war against life.
*********
He raises his fist to the soured heavens,
Claiming his last divine imperative thinking
I have destroyed the environment, I have killed
All that sustained life. I leave my boot print
On a weak, worthless and dying world, hah!
“I Am become Death, the Destroyer of Earth,
I will be remembered, halleluiah!”

We pump so much water out of the ground that we are killing our rivers

When the rivers become silent, so will mankind.

Embrace Serendipity

By 2050, thousands of rivers and streams worldwide could pass a critical ecological threshold, new research shows.

There’s more fresh water hidden below Earth’s surface in underground aquifers than any other source besides the ice sheets. That groundwater plays a critical role for rivers worldwide, from the San Pedro to the Ganges, keeping them running even when droughts bring their waters low.

But in recent decades humans have pumped trillions of gallons out of those underground reservoirs. The result, says research published Wednesday in Nature, is a “slow desiccation” of thousands of river ecosystems worldwide. Already, somewhere between 15 and 21 percent of watersheds that experience groundwater extraction have slipped past a critical ecological threshold, the authors say—and by 2050, that number could skyrocket to somewhere between 40 and 79 percent.

That means hundreds of rivers and streams around the world would become so water-stressed that their flora and…

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Antierra Manifesto – blog post #75

I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.

End blog post #74
_________________

Begin blog post #75

For one full hour we go through the motions of a fight. We dance around each other, doing no real damage. I have not yet taken the stim hidden in my hair nor have I had to use my bionic enhancements. Warmo is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in this place. There is something utterly inhuman in him. He carries his own enhancements; a combination of power that reeks of hell. I am repulsed by the thoughts in his mind. His darkness is terrible. His body exhudes a foul stench of putrefaction.

My mind probe tells me he drank the blood of some of his victims mixed in chakr; that he is addicted to it. Have I now met a real life humanoid vampire? And how do you kill a vampire? With a wooden stake through the heart. Did it have to be precisely at midnight? I cannot remember but I know that the Old Earth tale of horror has in fact manifested itself on Malefactus, at least for me. How many times did I warn people on Old Earth that everything they ever thought, wrote about, dreamed of, or imagined, had to become a living manifestation in some dimension? That they would in some future incarnation either encounter their creations or be one of them? Malefactus would be a custom-made world for human vampires if one existed and was actually killed on Old Earth. Here is where it would naturally re-incarnate.

I am repelled and fascinated by this vision or revelation. I jump out of trance and watch the human part of him struggling with me. His attacks are fast and subtle. He has devious and unexpected moves, but that’s not where his focus lies. He’s drawing me into a place of his own choosing, like a flame draws a moth. He does not intend to kill me with his weapons, at least not directly. Yes – and I think he allows me to know this – he is going to have poison put on his dagger, but that too is a side show. He’s got something else in mind. I take a chance and trance again. Now I’m met with a barrage of confusing images. I won’t get anymore information, he’s sensed my probe and is blocking. I jump out and now it’s time for the physical approach.

One and one half hours and nothing to show for it. We are both as fresh and cool as when we began. It’s as if we were just floating over the sand. There is no blood. Ah, blood. Vampires like blood, particularly women’s blood. What will happen to his cool exterior if he sees blood on me? Will it weaken or empower him? Will he become wary or will he attack? I decide no blood. Let his be the first. I change my tactics with a violent rush and stab him in the thigh. First blood drawn. He seems surprised, backs off a little then smiles at me. His hand slips down into the blood and he licks the protecting gauntlet.

In turn he attacks violently. I engage my bionics then and parry his attack easily. I smack his gauntlet-protected fingers but still that had to smart. I spin my staff and do a Deirdre pole vault over him coming down behind and smashing into his shin so hard my staff vibrates in my hands. He almost falls over, recovers, spins and lays his staff to my shoulder. A powerful individual. My shoulder remains numb for a few seconds and throbs like hell. I jump back out of reach. We both survey the space between us. Who attacks next? Our eyes lock.

He comes to me in a crouch as low as he dares and tries to enter below my defences to cut into my calf. The slicing edge of the staff point comes to millimetres of my dancing foot but fortunately for me he attacked my bionic side. A blur is all his staff goes through. But the move is enough to allow him to pull the long sword which he wields with one hand while still using the staff to block my blow to his head. Part of it connects and he drops the staff to come around with the deadly sword. If I parry with my staff he’ll cut it in half. If I don’t I’m dead. That’s what my brain tells me. My training. I drop into trance to slow him down in my mind. First I see him kick his fallen staff over the low wall so I can’t grab it. Then I see the sword engaging the staff and cutting it cleanly in half. I see a huge nick in the sword weakening the blade, throwing off the balance, rendering it useless in this sort of intricate combat.

He finishes his turn, kicking his staff out over the wall where a guard picks it up and holds it. Instead of parrying his deadly swath with the middle of the staff I give him the blunt end to bite into. A quarter of the staff goes flying but his sword has the nick in it I saw in the vision. I rebalance the remaining piece of staff, engage the extender fully and return to the attack. I force him to cut at the staff again. He does, cuts through the staff again but shatters his sword near the half point. I pursue him madly now. He parries with a half sword and I attack with less than a half staff. It would be comical if our lives did not lie in the balance. We continue, no choice. Only the “time out” trumpet can stop this.

I realize that in my eagerness I’ve activated my front sole blades. I try to quickly find a way to use them because they are now obstructing my steps. Damn stupid woman, you call yourself a professional gladiator? A trainee would have known not to do that! I parry another truncated sword slash to the side. He connects enough to cut in my right thigh through the side slit in the tunic. My blood flows and I can sense him licking his lips. He smiles. Attacks. Comes closer. Just as he comes in for another cut I lift my bionic leg and drive the foot blade deep into his arm then pull back. The moment of shock is enough for me to retract the damn blades and regain my natural stance and begin a whole new dance. Now I feel my sweat, but it’s more of a cold sweat than exertion. He secretes a smell of death, and it’s not a carry-over from his victims in the dungeons. It’s in his blood! I got a sure whiff of it from the stabbed arm.

While I draw him after me again I marvel at the design and temper of those short blades in the sandals. It penetrated cheelth as if it was paper and I’d be willing to bet there is hardly any dulling of the cutting edges. Way to go Master Smith, I love you!

End blog post #75

Sally Urquart

[a short story –  by Sha’Tara]

The law required that the local council call a public meeting, so they did, on a Wednesday evening, for 7:00 PM. It being the middle of the week, “they” knew that many commuters would be unable to attend and that was the point, wasn’t it. Me and my political group of “Greenies” as we were labelled attended, of course, and tried to get as many of our supporters as we could to oppose the proposed development of a new strip mall that included an anchor super market from a major multinational food distribution and retail corporate group. We didn’t need another food store, we already had two perfectly adequate ones. But it’s the old story, isn’t it. Money talks, bullshit walks.

The meeting got underway and despite some heated interruptions and cries of “lies, lies!” the presentation by two corporate shills was concluded and the meeting opened to questions. The questions and borderline speeches came hard and fast. A couple of angry residents were forcefully expelled but the mood did not relax.

After most of the participants had had their say and were summarily cut off from further discussion, that’s when she came forth. A pleasant looking young woman I had never seen, wearing a simple blue sweat shirt and faded jeans, in sandals yet imposing enough in height: she must have been close to six feet if an inch. Her long dark hair was tied back with a scarf. She wore no makeup and her fingers, when she took the mike, showed her to be a worker of the soil. She had a good tan too, and it was of the honest kind: from the sun, obviously. From where I sat I couldn’t tell the colour of her eyes but they were piercing.

She held a brown envelope in her left hand which she placed on the podium and she addressed the meeting in a very soft and gentle voice that forced everyone to listen intently in order to hear. As a hopeful politician, there’s a trick I would have to learn. She greeted “Mr. Mayor” by name, as well as the six council members, one having recused himself due to known conflict of interest in the matter. To the rest of us she said, “Hi neighbours, my name is Sally Urquart and I realize most of you don’t know me but I live here too and I have an interest in this community, and the well-being of its children. I am not here to oppose the development being discussed because I don’t have to. It isn’t going to happen.”

You could have heard a pin drop. “Mr. Mayor” had his mouth open but no sound came. I was on the edge of my seat.

She continued, “I have here some documents that indict your mayor and three of “his” councillors sitting before you. These documents, of which these are but copies, are now filed with the Crown attorney but I was given the opportunity to bring my discoveries to this meeting so you would all know; so the local paper, represented here by Jim Leeson, reporter, could have the goods firsthand.

“Your mayor is facing charges of high level corruption for accepting bribes from the main anchor of the proposed strip mall, Food Source, and for openly lying about his involvement in this matter to the electorate, that is you people here, and the rest of this community. As for the other three councillors whom I need not name, they shared in the mayor’s bribe money and future interest in the venture’s profit.

“Food Source, on a plea bargain, has already admitted to the bribes and additionally to being in violation of provincial law by knowingly attempting to develop prime agricultural land currently in protected agricultural land reserves. I have little more to add except to say that your mayor and three councillors here present are now under arrest.”

At that moment four RCMP officers came in the hall and took charge of the individuals, reading them their rights and taking them out a side door though not in handcuffs which many of us would have liked to see. ‘Good riddance,’ I thought. Then I looked for Sally but she had disappeared, along with her brown envelope.

It took a bit of digging but we found out that she had been an attorney for the Crown, had resigned for personal reasons, then had accepted a temporary assignment on behalf of the Crown to investigate the Food Source strip mall affair and the town of Green Oaks’ council. During her investigative work she had quietly bought a one acre parcel of land with a few dilapidated out buildings, had moved a mobile home on it and begun her work of clearing the land and doing some serious gardening.

At our next meeting we decided we had to have “Sally” on our executive. We needed her savvy, her poise and her so seductive voice. We had to send a delegation to her and find out how we could persuade her to join with us. It was agreed that myself and my side kick, photographer, recorder, documentary maker, Phil Tompkins would be the delegation.

We found Sally at the back of her property, clearing blackberries and replacing fence posts. She looked much as she had at the town meeting, except for the added wide-brimmed Aussie hat and boots. She greeted us with an open smile, offered to go to the trailer and make coffee, which we declined because it would have interrupted everything. Without beating around the bush I told her what we had to offer her if she would join our organization. She would be our nominee for the next provincial election which was in less than two years’ time. She accepted the introductory parphernalia we offered her, accepted that Phil video’d our conversation. She was never one lost for words and I admired her even more on that day.

“Would you like some time to think this over, Sally? Maybe I could come back in a couple of days or so?” She made it easy to talk to her and us being of approximately the same age made our interaction ever smoother.

“Oh, that’s very kind of you, but I’ve always been one to make quick judgment calls and decisions. Your proposal is persona non grata here, I’m afraid. The moment you join an organization your personal life ends and you become an adjunct of other people’s thoughts, decisions and choices. When I became an attorney I was under the delusion that I could be an independent; that I could pick my cases and handle them the way I felt was right. That didn’t happen, was never going to happen, so I resigned as Crown counsel. Now I am an independent. I take pro bono or quasi pro bono cases entirely on my own, and my investigations which I prefer to court room presentations, pay the bills.”

Then she pointed around at her property. “This though is who I am. This acre of land, such as it is, is my real world. I live here. I share it with the beasties, the trees, the plants, the sun, wind, rain and snow and whomever comes to visit and doesn’t mean to stay. This is my universe.

“I can understand your group wanting to use me – yes that is the proper term – because of certain skills I possess and because of my self-possession but if I acquiesced, I would lose the very things that make me what I am. I’m not for sale. If you need some information dug up, if you even run into legal problems then come to me and I’ll do what I do best: I’ll unravel the ball of twine for you until you learn to do it for yourselves. Do you have an investigator in your group? An attorney of sorts? If not, get them. If you’re going to play this game you have to play with a full deck and a not few cards up your sleeves. That’s how the other side does it. That’s all I have to say. I rest my case.” She smiled again, leaning gently on her long-handled brush cutter.

Now here I am, Jenny Derksen, on my own little parcel of land outside a different town. Yes, some years ago I aspired to become a politician. When Sally Urquart turned down my appeal, I listened to what she had to say and after I narrowly lost my very first attempt at becoming an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly for those not familiar with Canadian political terminology) I began to listen once again to Sally’s words. Joiners can never be their own person and I had seen more and more of that as I struggled with our own growing bureaucracy. I was becoming less of a human being and more of something that endlessly needed to be shaped, goaded, driven, counselled, trimmed, managed. One night it came to me and I literally threw up realizing what was happening. There and then I quit, walked away. I was an elementary school teacher and I could do quite well on my salary. I didn’t want the limelight, I wanted to be me and certainly the bureaucracy of the education system was already more than I could take. I didn’t need the added burden of politics that benefited higher and higher up opportunists. I could teach “my children” and one of them might even be the next Greta Thunberg. Ah! Dare to dream!

Oh yes, I wear a worn sweatshirt and faded jeans most times at home, as well as a wide brimmed Aussie hat, boots optional, and I remain unmarried though not without many good offers and opportunities. When some of “my children” come to visit, we work or play in the back gardens or if it rains, we go inside and bake, or I teach them how to sew or we play games – rule #1: no cell phones, no tablets, no TV.

I did learn some important lessons from Sally. Did we become friends? No, that wasn’t necessary. In the few moments we interacted we got all we would ever need from each other. She taught me to become a self empowered person, the greatest “gift” anyone can give another.