Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There's going to be a Revolution.

I'm going to take my leather boots to the consignment shop, trade them in with my old olive green purse and leather heals for cotton summer dresses. I've already replaced my old black belt for a canvas gray one. And I cleaned out my closet, made a pile of old t-shirts and cut them into handkerchiefs. I'm trying to be in the now and in the now, everything matters: everything I buy matters, everything I throw away matters, everything I eat matters. 

I've been watching a lot of documentaries lately, as well as visiting vegan websites like PETA.org (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and buying pro-vegan t-shirts and signing up for email updates.

"I think I'm looking for a community. Others who believe what I believe." I wonder aloud to Scott while we're on a walk with our dog.  

"That makes sense." He tells me. 

I believe there will be a revolution: Vegans vs. the Corporations for Animal Cruelty. It won't be pretty. At the front line, we, the Vegans will be armed with posters, pictures, protest songs, pledges, shocking video footage of abuse and recording cameras. Corporations for Animal Cruelty will, however, bear stunner bolt guns, electric prods, bullhooks, crates of electrified water, small cages, knives for skinning, dehorning pliers, debeaking blades, lawsuits, bottom trawling nets, political power and all the money they've made selling their souls to the Beelzebub Bank of capitalist greed.     

It's only a matter of time, this clash.  

We of the 1st-World-Countries simply do not need to trap, hurt and kill animals for food, clothing and entertainment, therefore why cause such suffering? Dairy cows are kept continuously pregnant (from the artificial insemination of a farmer's gloved hand) so that they will produce milk constantly. When they give birth, their baby girls are dragged off to become the next generation of dairy cows, while the sons are stolen away, shoved into tiny crates and soon after, murdered to make what we call "veal", or the boys are sold to grow big, be strung up by the hind legs, have their throats slit, their blood drained and their bodies dismembered into bits called "beef".  And what happens to these imprisoned mother cows when they are too old to be pregnant and producing milk? Do they retire to luscious green fields with big warm barns like they show us in those insulting dairy commercials where talking cows lavish on golden hay and chat together about their happiness? Nope. They're shoved into a truck and sent off to the slaughter house. 

PETA once sent a letter to Ben and Jerry's asking that they use human breast milk for their ice cream. I don't know if this was anything but a ploy to bring attention to the fact that people should not be eating the milk of another species. That a human drinking cow milk is even more absurd than a grown man asking his mother to use a breast pump so that he may have a snack. Look around! You can recognize those following the "Western--dairy drinking/dead animal eating--Diet". Many of them resemble clothed baby cows. The good news is that we don't have to look and live this way! Fuck traditions. Most of them have just evolved into gluttonous feasts of fat and flesh anyway. 


Fuck "the way humans have always eaten" BULLshit. Humans have never eaten this much meat and dairy. Do you honestly tell yourself that cavemen ate four-egg omelets with fennel sausage, feta crumbles and fresh basil every morning? That they had roast turkey b.l.t.'s for lunch and lamb chops with mint jelly for dinner? Really? Was this while they sat around their newly discovered fire, sharpening sticks with rocks? Go eat a fucking carrot and quit buying animals, their periods (eggs), their milk and the fattening fillets of fish from the sea. Soon there won't be any fresh water to drink and air left to breathe. Don't you fear a world that is treeless with empty oceans and the complete loss of animal and plant life diversity? Yes it's this serious. This pressing. We need to change. Now.  

There's going to be a Revolution. Or, maybe, a second Civil War.     

Can you imagine being pregnant your entire adult life, but never from intercourse with a partner, always——like an experiment by a mad scientist——by the insemination of a gloved hand? Can you imagine birthing baby after baby, but baby after baby is immediately torn from your side and sight, dragged away, and your milk, the milk intended for your little one, is then sucked and drained out of you by some machine clenched to your tender nipples? It sounds insane to me! Like some sci-fi television thriller with aliens. Can you imagine standing barefoot on metal grates your entire life while surrounded by bars that prevent you from standing up straight or turning around? How about after all your finger and toenails have been pulled out by pliers so that you can't hurt yourself or the people in the cages beside and above you? Can you imagine being captured by someone who speaks a different language than you and beats you into performing tricks? Can you imagine then doing these tricks in a cacophonous arena of bright lights, loud music and crowds of cruel clapping idiots? Can you imagine living in a dark foul pen where you shit and piss and eat with hundreds of others? Can you imagine being kicked and beaten down a narrow cement hallway toward the frightful screams of your own kind? 

We convince ourselves that animals are killed quickly, almost painlessly. That they don't really feel pain, depression, anxiety, fear, or loneliness. We brush away thoughts of guilt with statements like, "Oh I could never give up meat!", saying outright, even proudly, that animals just don't matter as much as my meals. But I say, along with many other intelligent folks, that these animals and fish are just as innocent as the Jews in the concentration camps. That this is SLAVERY. We raise them by force. We exploit their bodies for more slaves, more eggs, more milk, more meat. Then we sell them dead, cash our checks and go out to the fanciest restaurant in town for fillet mignons, veal steaks and salmon caesar salads.  

I hope for more documentaries that expose the rampant genocide of our animals, fish, fresh water and rainforests. And I hope the message eventually reaches the ranchers, the factory farmers, the fisheries and fishermen, the small family livestock and dairy farms, the fur and leather tanners and designers, the butchers, the circus trainers, and the grocery store CEOs. This is unlikely. Too drastic, I know because they aren't going to change unless they have to, unless we make them. How do we make them? By refusing to eat, wear and watch (performing) animals. It isn't hard to do. And while my tone may seem desperate or angry, I am at peace. I am at peace with myself, because I am at peace with my plate and with everything now that I purchase. 

Did you know that pigs are often considered smarter than dogs? What if we ate dogs and had pigs as pets? Can you imagine frying up strips of black lab for breakfast? How about a tabby cat scramble with a side of hash browns and grilled gerbil? It's different! You say. Dogs and cats are different! Well, I ask you, how do you know? Most of your contact with livestock and fish comes dead in paper or plastic wrap. You don't walk out of the market with the animal on a leash or in a tank so that you can slaughter your supper at home. You don't see the animal's eyes, hear his cries, watch him breathe, grunt, run, or swim.  

There's going to be a revolution and mark my words, the animal kingdom——what's left of it——will be on the side of the Vegans.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Let Her Live

I coil my ribs and heart in the ropes of my arms. I find pockets for my hands to slink inside; I feel safer with them there. Our arms are this long, I was told yesterday, to cover and protect our genitals. Scott once mentioned to me how unfair it is that lady parts are inside the body, while men have their's on the outside. I wonder if this is God's way of forcing vulnerability in every man. (Sure titty twisters can cause blisters, but they do not induce vomiting, knock the wind out of her, nor surge estrogen through her blood and cause emotional breakdowns. At least, I don't think so.) Vulnerability never really became a flaw of the female as it has for men. Maybe God predicted that. However, regardless of whether our privates hang or hide, we are all shaped to cover our crotches with our hands. And though our baby toes are disappearing, instinctual reactions to fear——flight or fight——have remained by evolving into new defenses. Now no longer running from saber tooth tigers, most of our greatest fears fester in the realm of social interactions. Flight has become fidgeting shrugs; hiding hands in pockets and armpits and boisterous bouts of self-mockery.   

I'm ready for my shrugs, which minimize my point of view by apologizing for myself and my ideas to settle into stillness. I want conviction. I want to straighten my spine. I want my eyes to stop swinging like search lights. I want my words to ride out of me like a prized show pony: poised and proud. 

I am a vegan. One reason why I am a vegan is because I want to live a life of proactive environmental peace. I hate this commercial culture of corruption and cover ups. The meat, fish and dairy corporations of the world are leading two genocides: one; the torturing, slaughtering and selling of billions of defenseless animals and two; the massacre of our natural resources. Our oceans are nearly naked now of fish and coral. Our rainforests are being axed down for cattle grazing, causing extinctions of animals, birds, plants and therefore oxygen. I read all about this in the book, Comfortably Unaware. Our fresh water supply is not unlimited or "sustainable" as many Americans would like to believe. Just as the trees we cut to graze livestock would take hundreds of years to grow back, if we ever let them. We are killing our planet. Did you know that? I think if you knew that, you wouldn't purchase and eat the food that is causing global warming and——as Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander describes in his book——global depletion. 

"Approximately 40 percent of all methane produced by human activities is from livestock and their flatulence and manure, to the point where atmospheric concentrations have risen 145 percent in just the last fifteen years. Nitrous oxide is 310 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Our livestock industry generates 65 percent of all human-related nitrous oxide." 

Nitrous oxide which soon will not be digested by our trees when the trees have been plowed for more cattle grazing. 

"Over 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed——lost forever——due to cattle ranching. The United States is the single largest consumer of Central and South American beef. A startling 95 percent of Brazil's Atlantic coast rainforest has been slashed and burned, the vast majority of it to raise cattle. Although it is not commonly known, approximately 34 million acres of rainforest on earth are lost each year." 

We don't want to know that. We don't want to know where our food comes from. We have other things to worry about. But what is more important than food and our planet? We are living organisms. We need food to live. We die without food. Therefore, shouldn't we care, shouldn't food be our primary concern? It used to be more important (still is to many people in this country and certainly throughout the world where poverty, malnutrition and lack of fresh water are daily struggles). Yet we stuffy Americans don't want to worry about it. We have more "important" things to worry about like money, promotions, retirement, holiday parties, social media posts, whitening our teeth, shoe shopping and enthusiastically tending to our addictions of caffeine, prescription drugs and alcohol. But even above food, we living organisms need air, water and an earth to stand on. We are such selfish inhabitants. We take and take and take. We of the 1st-World countries are together an obese child. We scream for fat, salt, soda and candy, while our dehydrated baby sister thirsts for cool clean water and our Mother Earth lays on a metal table in the meat department. She gave us beauty, our Mother. She gave us dirt, vegetation, water, sunshine and rain. By giving us trees, she gave us air to breathe. She taught us by showing and giving. And what have we done? We've held a semi-automatic to her head, stripped her naked, raped her, whipped her with a chain saw belt, and then took a knife to the stomach where we once grew and made an incision up to her throat. We reached in with our dirty fat fingers, ripped out her small intestines and sold it for $3.95/pound. Her liver was plucked, stuffed and later passed as hors d'oeuvres for some stuffy business party where everyone is red-faced, pudgy and on several prescription drugs to tend to the signs of impending heart disease and diabetes. Her lungs were cut out, cleaned and mounted on the wall. Look how big and mighty I am, we think, I have the power of destruction. "Won't my mommy be so proud of me," we sing in a deep delusional tone. Her blood is mostly drained and dumped. Her bone marrow boiled into broth. Her muscles are marinated, grilled and named "good protein." Ooo——a barbecue! How fun! Let's sit around in creaky lawn chairs, drinking strong alcohol while we wobble across our Honduras Rosewood deck to the gas-powered grill where we slather sugary red sauce on the dead. Mmm the dead is so delicious. Look how big and mighty I am! Back in the butchery, Mother is still alive, but barely. She is ashamed of her screaming greedy baby and worried for her skeletal baby girl who is now too weak to beg her mother for rain. But most of all, Mother holds the heaviest sadness in the well of her slowly beating heart. She might die. She is almost certainly going to die. And when she dies so will we. When she sees us looking at her head, contemplating the price of her brains, she tells us the story of her life. She ends with a warning. If I die, so will you. We don't like to hear this! We scream that it isn't our fault! (Anger is our defense mechanism.) That we were only doing what we had to in order to survive. You had more than enough to survive, but you let egotism blind you and greed control you. You are lazy. You want everything to be easy, convenient, cheap, fast and accessible. You don't think about where it all comes from or where it all goes. You waste and waste and for what? So you can spend your time zoning out on the couch, listening to laugh tracks and reality trash? Leave me be for awhile. Let me grow green again. I want organic vegetable farms. I want the fish, the turtles, the shrimp and the lobsters to be left alone. I want time for rain to refill my rivers. But we don't hear this. We stopped listening a few minutes ago due to our defectively short attention span. Instead we've been staring at our mother's barely-beating bloomed red heart, wondering what we could sell it for. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

To my dog.

When I get home with the groceries, you come to meet me, whining a little.  Scott walks toward me from the bedroom. He's irritated. He tells me that you jumped and barked at two people while on your walk. You do this sometimes. We've had to train you to take a treat whenever anyone passes us, but sometimes you fake us out. You pretend to be peeing and then charge at the passing strangers, often frightening them to yelp and jump. Penny, I know you think you're scaring away the bad guys, but it's humiliating. Don't you hear my hollered apologies as I drag you away? Come on, I feed you. I walk you twice every day. I pay hundreds of dollars to the veterinarian to ensure that you are healthy. I dribble flea and tick prevention juice on your shoulder blades. I give you heart worm medicine and take you to the dog beach. ---Which is usually very fun, except for that late morning a couple weeks ago when you barked at that woman. Remember? She was walking alone toward the end of the beach and you ran at her barking. I called you away, but you wouldn't come. Then the woman yelled, 

"She does it again and I'm gonna kick her." 

This made me mad because I was embarrassed. I eventually got you follow me, but over my shoulder——instead of the apology I usually bellow——, I loudly mumbled, 

"You're the one walking on the dog beach, ya fuckin' moron!" 

I don't blame the woman now, of course. Hindsight exposes my foolishness. Really I should have yelled, 

"I'm sorry she's barking at you, but if you kick her, she will probably bite you." 

Because that's what I assume you'd do. You're a barker. I know that. You bark at people who make you nervous. You bark at anyone walking or jiggling keys in the hallway. And as far as I know, no one has harmed you as a result of your barking. However, I can only imagine your dog thoughts as: 


Then there'd be a lawsuit that I would avoid by running away like a coward at the crime scene. A bite and run. Then we'd never be able to go back to the dog beach except to send Scott to scope it out. But when he'd come back to our camouflaged car, he'd say that there were signs and police sketches of Penny and I. "WANTED!" "CASH REWARD!" "DANGEROUS!" I'd have to quit my job and we'd both have to take on disguises, both shaving off our hair. 

Luckily, though, you didn't bark again. 

I continued to run toward the gate, blundering through the bumpy sand, sobbing to myself. I cursed you then, but you had already forgotten, following me with your pink tongue out, panting.

We pick up your poop with little plastic bags, Penny. Then carry your warm sacks of shit to the nearest trash receptacle. You will never grow up and learn to speak English. You will never be able to clean up after yourself. You won't be around to care for us when we're decrepit and diapered. You'll never really apologize for anything. You'll never be potty trained (though that time you were sick and crapped in the bathtub was pretty close). But, you are always here. When I cry, your head is on my knee or you're climbing onto my lap, your muzzle under my chin, licking my earlobe. When I get excited or smile, you wag your tail and if close enough, lick my lips. When I say, "GO" and unclasp your leash, you always run in a big circle ahead of me, checking on me before making another bigger circle in the sand. When I point and say, "Get the birds!", you always bound after the gulls, herding them toward the clouds above the bubbly blue water. In the morning, when we're both too sleepy to stand, you nuzzle into the curve of my waist and close your eyes, while I scratch the top of your head and rub your black ears. 

You have problems, pup. You do. You're a nervous wreck. A head case. But that should be expected. You were, after all, found pregnant and tied to a pole with a black lab. So you're not always well behaved on the leash. And sometimes you bark at people. But you're smart, loyal and sweet when you feel safe. No of course you aren't perfect, but neither am I. But I promise to love you always and to one day, take you from this crowded cement city and return us both to the mountain woods.