DIRT NERD

A black and white illustration of leaves growing around a black frame. The frame is black and has white dots. Inside the frame are individual leaves spaced apart. Outside of the frame there are overgrown leaves all around it. Illustration by Rachel Speck.

In celebration of ANTIGRAVITY’s 200th edition, 198 lines of haiku, and these two lines. Like all Future Crawfish Paper, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.


Water falls gently

so a seed does not stray far

From its beginning

 

A branch multiplies

Attached only to itself

It becomes branches

 

When rain visits the plant,

Whether or not it has thirst,

Condensation. Bliss.

 

Interchangeable

words. Soil. Dirt. Humus. Compost.

Differentiate.

 

Crops planted in rows

Perhaps it would be better

A world without rows.

 

Row is one letter

Removed from the state in which

All food begins, raw.

 

Raw, an anagram.

For war. All war begins here.

With monoculture.

 

All rows are not a

Monoculture. That said, all

Monoculture; rows.

 

Raw rows are not war.

War is born of rows worn raw.

Rows and rows and rows.

 

You likely assumed

These were going to be light

And jovial. Me too.

 

Garden metaphors, deep.

Like loose soil in a raised bed

Hands lost within.

 

Lightness falls on leaf

Photosynthesis. Simple.

Nuclear fusion.

 

Enough of science

And radical politics

N I M B Y.

 

A garden grows there.

Carrots. Kale. Lettuce. Parsley.

Let…tuce… speak of that.

 

A baby carrot

Grows with its roots in the dirt

And tops in the sky.

 

I believe it tastes great

But others have told me there is a

Kale Conspiracy.

 

Veggie puns. Often,

ruffage around the edges.

Yet lettuce stays sharp.

 

Lettuce eat Parsley.

Lettuce use it as garnish.

Lettuce make salad.

 

Add Parsley. Add Kale.

Add Lettuce. Add Carrots. Nuts?

Perhaps vinaigrette.

 

If you have no yard

You can still harvest salads

With just a few pots.

 

Food deserts abound.
One garden can’t heal the world.
But awareness can.

 

Yes in your backyard.

Understand process. And pain.

Growth takes time. Always.

 

A garden changes.

Becomes what you want. Or don’t.

Inevitably.

 

Revolution, based

On land. The basis of all

Independence. Land.

 

Malcom X. On land.

Basis of freedom, justice,

And equality.

 

That was paraphrased

To fit into haiku form,

Not to make light of.

 

Farmland changes hands.

Becomes a vehicle for

Structural violence.

 

Inevitably?

No. A garden becomes what

You let it become.

 

What you choose to grow

The way that you choose to grow

A microcosm.

 

Everything dies.

Is that, four? five? syllables?

What is everything?

 

All-encompassing,

A backyard ecosystem,

Metaphors abound.

 

Fruits of your labor

Dying for you to be free

of malnutrition.

 

A root cause of health

Socially, spiritually.

Sure. Physically.

 

You reap what you sow.

The seeds of change, as above,

from hands, so below.

 

You plant a garden.

You plant happiness. Do you?

Are you happy now?

 

That’s small potatoes.

Find your contentment instead.

Starched. Firm. Well rounded.

 

A layered onion,

The deepest core, safe from dirt,

it grows bitter first.

 

Transplants and gardens,

perceived in any context;

Two peas in a pod.

 

We have reached the end

Of this metaphor section,

Though cycles abound.

 

Practical advice

Is often overrated,

In my opinion.

 

Better it is fed

esoterically and

with obfuscation.

 

Otherwise the risk

of fundamentalism

Threatens to run high.

Stolid, unmoving,

An ignorant know it all,

there is no worse thing

 

In gardening only

of course. This does not extend

To regular life.

 

All things food growing

are irrelevant to all

other life facets.

 

If it were not so

Dialect would be dripping,

Soaked in metaphor,

 

And aphorisms,

Analogies regarding

Roots, seeds, branching out.

 

So. To clarify.

Fundamentalism. It’s

Fine everywhere else.

Just not in gardens.

Or in farming lexicon.

N I M B Y.

 

In your backyard. Where

you feel safe, and no one cares

About your wayays.

 

Where no one hears you

Where nothing is connected

To anything else.

 

Pure isolation.
Total systemic control,

It is YOUR garden.

 

Interconnection,

Ecosystemic weaving,

Reciprocation.

 

None of that happens.
No way. You have built borders,

Delineated.

 

But alas, like haiku,

Every solitary line,

Every syllable,

 

Every poem as well.

Inevitably a part

Of a bigger whole.

 

What you grow matters.

How you grow matters more still.

And not just to you.

 

Sand in an hourglass,

so are the days of our lives,

Matter of this kind.

 

Weave yourself into

Do not wiggle yourself out,

There is no escape.

 

The web of life spreads

And always death will feed it

This is motion, breathing.

 

Do not push it out.

Invite the cycles, with soil,

plants, insects, fungus.

 

The circle of life

It’s like the wheel of fortune

It’s the leap of faith.

 

The carbon cycle.

nitrogen cycle, water

cycle, oxygen.

 

Circulate notions,

Worlds where food is abundant,

Does not raze, straight lined.

 

Flows instead around,

Transferred by organisms

Begins in backyards.

 

Where no one hears you.

Where you do not have control,

But are in control.


If you’ve got questions for the Dirt Nerd, feel free to email ian@hotplantsnursery.com or visit @hotplantsnursery.

illustrations Rachel Speck