tobias crabtree

defining lines; drawing and writing

Tag: poem

blind fortune from a woman on the streets of Santiago

it don’t happen all the time, of course,

if it did, things would be different.

some old, dark gravity, with wild feet

will find me in the night.

who’s been digging in my ashes, man?

i have no fuel for dying embers.

leave ’em lie

i can’t tend them.

just outside the library

where the gypsies dance

in the exhaust

of Santiago,

some old voodoo woman

with clouds inside her eyes

and her bag of stones and bones

and her missing teeth,

wagged her finger

when i asked about love,

and laughing without seeing

waved me on.

and here, in the dark

i think of another time

and the candle that was burning

in the window of your house.

inner workings

open me up. that’s it, maybe use a pocket knife. maybe use a finger nail.

take a look. that’s the inner. that’s the workings.

all those meshings and timings. some gears and rails and hammers.

since sometime, i don’t know when because my workings began before i left the factory, but since sometime, i have never ceased to tick and ping and spin.

the other night i heard my heart. i couldn’t tell if it was from the in or from the out. it is the key to the motion. it’s the pusher of the blood and the blood holds the mysteries of my beforeness. it has a story i feel but cannot read.

see me? it’s all so now. there are no guarantees from the manufacturer. all parts are present. maybe some sit still but they are connected to the original blue-print and so they have a reason. some parts have secret origins.

it’s delicate. the machine. the human. we must hold each other with care. our parts are important. and when things are broken we must do our best to fix them, lest they fail completely. 

i’ve seen some wear. there’s a little rust. i think some gears have lost a tooth. it happens, you know? all machines have limits. the me’s and you’s.

and tick tock. and tick tock. spinning and pinging and shiny little parts.

and when the whirring stops, set me down. it’s ok. just put me down near the sea, she will know what to do.


i, messenger

ages of man

i am a messenger, kill me if you want.

i carry the message from the sufferers whose voices are too weak to be heard,

my voice is strong because i don’t suffer, not yet.

i need to speak to the greedy.

(who are the greedy? i think it’s fair to say that they are those that have plenty but want more.)

i need to speak with you, mr. senator, with your fancy suit and your big words. do you suffer?

how about you, mr. president, who would do all things popular but nothing without an agenda…when did you suffer last?

and you, exxon man, in your castle of dinosaur bones, do you think indigestion is suffering?

we are led by the educated, but not the wise.

difference? the educated are students of success, dollar stackers. the wise are students of life, nurturers.

the greedy have made a machine. the machine teaches those with less to strive for more. work hard to become the greedy. and the greedy collect from the needy. they pay smarter folks to use big words to prove that it’s all ok. there are labs that can spit out all kinds of sarcasm to throw at the person who asks, “why are the birds dropping from the sky?” or “what does radiation do to the fish in the deep blue sea?” or “what about that godzilla monsanto (that fire-breather, that farmer eater, creator of agent orange that-is-eating-my-friend’s-lungs, creator of PCB’s whose side effects read like a horror script  and that were dumped into lake michigan in ’54. how much was released? oh, just one hundred thousand tons is all. there is a brutal disregard for life and a lust for money here, can you see?) who is stomping and consuming and then settling sweetly into the laps of our leaders, what about that?”

some say, “we need to fix the machine.”

i say, break the machine. crack it apart into a million pieces and let the greedy run frantic to collect it back and make it whole again.

like hogs over slop.

can you hear me? if you can, then there’s hope for us. and there’s hope for the sufferers.

do you know the term, the eleventh hour? the meaning is plain, it means, it’s very late.

there ain’t time to pass bills and scratch old bald heads. there ain’t time for that, man.

this is not ranting. these are the words from the sufferers.

they say things like. use what you have and love things that are useful. they say, grow gardens that contain life and include the bugs that eat the leaves. be kind to the farmer that sells greens with holes in the leaves, they taste the same and they weren’t sprayed. drive less, use your bike. know the cycles of the moon, i’m not joking. love the migrating birds. pray for the monarch butterfly. refuse to be bullied by mass consumption. find your tribe and trade with them. use hand tools. lift stones and make your arms thick and your legs sturdy, go out under the sun and let it feed you. walk. give the animals a break, they don’t have much room. try to remember to take bags to the store, use them again and again and again so that they don’t end up in the belly of a bird on some sad island in the middle of the blue blue sea. care. kick your heart door open wide. show the greedy that less makes room for better. take the power in your strong and simple body and shine like a star among many. look at your neighbor and help them shine. teach the babies to love the greenest leaf, the smallest bug, the greatest sea, the deepest canyon, the wildest wind. bare your teeth at the ones who would tell you it is a waste of time to try to change the world.

these are the words of the sufferers. they sent them to us.

awareness is simple. it is the will to see. i have not slept well lately because of all this stuff. i know i know, it’s my problem. but i can’t not say something. what else is there to do? while i’m still strong, i am drawn to fight for the wild things. i would rather scream these words towards all the shining towers than weep at the foot of a dead ocean as the whales wash ashore.

now what?  start.

a poem: a mammal soul

i’m allowed,

because there are roots under trees,

to try and speak my heart.

there is a pinching,

between forever past and forever future,

that is now.

i have this mind,

because there are trees above roots,

and inside, a mammal soul.


(and i can take little credit for being here, i am, as we all are, a child of this blue-green world. it is up to me, and you, to realize the preciousness of our situation. let your ego sleep for a second, let the world see your gentle soul)