A Free Radical

This seed of an idea just got watered, reading the works of Paulo Freire,
Who teaches radicalism.
At the core of this teaching is that outward change has to come from deep within ourselves
That we must awaken the thirst for knowledge and justice within the soil of our minds
And feed on the community around us
Entwine, and grow,
Cross-pollenating, growing with our neighbours.
A garden can’t be a garden without every flower
And every flower started off as a seed
Which grew roots.
But that word – radicalism. Where does it come from?
I remembered seeing the word in other contexts: chemistry. Linguistics. Politics.
How can a word apply to so many different fields with such different results?
So I dug around and found its etymology
Radix is latin for Root.
Of course! everything has roots.
We trace our lineage back to the first primates, the first mammals, the first fish, the first cells
Spreading out like a network
Looking like any old family tree
And with this new information, the seed grew into thoughts, and now in this writing, into action, as I spread the pollen of this analysis.

In Chemistry, a radical is an incomplete molecule
It’s out of balance
It’s charged
Full of electricity, ready to pounce, ready to steal an electron that another element is hogging
They are among the most volatile substances we know of.
For example, Hydroxyl, a single hydrogen and a single oxygen
Missing that tenth proton to make the water that we all need to live.
Released into the pollution in our rivers and upper atmosphere
It latches on to the toxins that we put there
Every single molecule effecting one single chemical reaction
Leaving the stuff of life in its wake
In other words
It is on these tiny particles that we rely
To clean up the mess left by industrial progress.

In Linguistics, a radical is a word with suffix and prefix removed
It’s the origin,
Ready to turn coat by reversing its meaning with an “un-” becoming “un-lawful”
Or sell out, adding “mega-” or “extra-” so it can get a little more.
We can say more with a radical than with a prefix,
And by increasing our knowledge of radicals
Not only do we understand where we come from
But what has changed us.
Rather than react to injustice, and be bemused by racists,
I will act.
I will be just.
I will be a muse,
And I will break the braces by embracing our singular race.
In other words,
By looking to the core of our vocabulary,
We can speak with care and precision.

For Freire, a radical is someone devoted to changing the system at its very base
Someone who rejects all form of domination used by the Oppressors who will henceforth be referred to as “The Man” that you all know and fear.
Someone dedicated to inspecting the system
Shaking it at its roots until its strange fruit drops
Pruning dead stalks
Pulling out weeds
And encouraging the growth of new systems which will bring us joy as a people
Instead of strife as individuals.
Radicals, when grouped together,
Released into these polluted systems,
Will cleanse
Every single person doing everything possible for one single life
Removing excess, filling gaps, simplifying solutions
Creating a new, diverse vocabulary
And in doing so, growing to the full potential of the human imagination
It’s not too late to be a radical
Every flower has to start somewhere
And we can’t make this garden without a lot of flowers.
In other words
By being radical,
We can plant ourselves in this Earth once more.


Adam, Eve, the Weeping Willow

Deep in Eden’s garden grove,
Two figures slept in safest cove.
They dream of snakes and angels grand
Which makes their arm hair on end stand.

A racket wakes them presently,
Expels their dreams too suddenly.
A look outside and they could tell
Their heaven had become a hell.

A rain of fire and globs of tar
A rain of thorns that quite sharp are
Explode the trees known from their youth
Which told them all of nature’s truth.

The two look on with mouths agape,
“How did this havoc come to shape?”
“I cannot know nor do not need,
We must go now, and do our deed!”

Eve who has a medic’s touch
Runs to find the Garden’s Sun.
Its light eclipsed would spell a doom,
For souls not ‘ready in their tomb.

Bravely Eve defends the Sun,
Blocking blows, but missing some;
The sun’s strong light begins to dim,
As thorns and tar surround its rim.

Adam with his longer gait,
Goes to question wise old Fate:
Why do Plagues from Heaven fall?
Where are the Garden’s critters all?

After marching for an hour,
Adam’s face began to dour.
“Where is that prophet’s home again?
Another hour, we’ll all be dead!”

Without conviction, wandering,
By rains assaulted, whimpering,
The darkness closes in on him,
His prospects looking super grim.

Suddenly, without a sign,
The stars decided to align:
No tar, no thorns, no blazing fire
Fell down upon the wounded shire.

Herself empowered by the Sun,
Whose light’s pizzazz was nearing none,
Eve casts a spell she thinks she knows,
Which magnifies the orb’s bright glow.

Instantly the light destroys
The blackness messing with its poise;
Her spell too strong, poor hapless Eve
Is of her eyes’ employ bereaved.

Presently she hears a sound –
It’s Adam slinking, like a hound
Returning from a hunting trip
No prizes hanging from its lip.

“Adam! Adam! Is that you?
I cannot see, my eyes are screwed!
There’s just one thing to cure my sight:
The Weeping Willow’s tears of white.”

“The way is long,” replies the man,
“I don’t believe I even can.
My joints are sticky, muscles rent,
My feet are burnt, and I am spent.”

“Perk up!” says Eve, her tone surprised.
“The passage there I’ve memorized.
I’ll heal your wounds when I can see,
Then we return to sleep and dreams.”

So off they go to find the tree
Whose holy sap they need to free.
But chaos managed by the Skies
Transformed the treescapes into sties.

With Adam having to describe
The changèd landscape every stride,
The pair advancèd languidly
Through vines, dead trees, and black debris.

“No more for now,” cries Adam, bent,
When they had more than halfway went.
“My resting will not be complete
Till I’ve these daggers from my feet.”

“Give me your foot, I’ll take good care.
Relax, feel free to cry, there, there.”
As her hands move o’er his toes,
The blisters, burns, and cuts did close.

While she works her loving ways,
Adam drinks the Sun’s strong gaze.
“The light is brighter now than ever,
You must have done a thing quite clever!

“Each leaf portrays a thousand hues,
Each stream a hundred million blues.
I’ve never seen a nicer spot!”
She answered, “Thanks, oh, thanks a lot.”

The rest complete, the healing done,
The pair move forward at a run.
“My sight is slightly better now,
We will move quickly to the bough.”

After walking for a while,
Eve stopped dead, begins to smile.
“It’s not five minutes hence, you’ll see,
I feel the sacred meadow’s plea!”

Just then, a crimson glow descends,
Which Adam his attention lends.
An angel, just like in his dreams,
With sword of ice and shield of greens.

“What do I sense that blocks our path?”
Inquires the ordinary lass.
“It is an angel, O so bright,
I will not let it from my sight!”

The angel drifts away, and Adam
Leaves behind his addled madam.
The light is fading, night will fall,
And she alone must bear it all.

All night she waits in such a huff,
And though she thinks herself quite tough,
She dares not move or stir or speak,
Lest her station turn more bleak.

Finally the man returned,
Though saying he hath nothing learned.
They continued on to see
The valley of the sacred tree.

Eve, though sightless, looks and sees,
The trouble taken by the trees.
All her fears at once confirmed,
At sobs from Adam’s apple heard.

“The tree is dead!” he cries on his knees,
“Have none from heaven heard our pleas?
I have no tears, these sobs are dry;
We cannot live if we cannot cry!”

Adam collapses, pounds the ground,
His weeping now the only sound.
Eve, in hearing his despair,
Embraces him with arms and hair.

Adam, sick of breathing weird,
Lifts his head and wipes his beard.
“The angel gave its feather me,
What good it does, I cannot see.”

The feather, lithe, delightful thing,
A manic warmth to Eve now brings.
Her heart’s enjoyment joins the choir,
And from her eyes, great tears transpire.

Healing tears from stricken eyes,
Roll down her cheek and on his thighs,
And pool upon the ground so dry:
Keen ears might hear a little sigh.

Eve and Adam, both with eyes that see,
Espy a wondrous, magic feat:
From scene of death, a little sapling,
With the earth and stones a-grappling.

The Weeping Willow, new again,
Delights the duo to no end.
They swear an oath to visit more
The tree which they have helped restore.

A Feeling More Obscure

How can I know a feeling more obscure
Than that thy glowing image now recalls?
A joy like laughing kids, so freaking pure
It spilleth o’er and down my cheek it falls.

The raddest toy for Christmas bought in June
Would cause that kid’s emotions to go nuts
Reveal’d by hapless parents way too soon
And then in cruellest closets tightly shut.

What pleasure can I get from saddest truth!
And like, my greatest pain from greatest joy.
The masochism of a patient youth
I must preserve to keep my wit’s employ.

And if that Christmas never comes to pass
I’ll find that glowing in another lass.