#333

on the twelfth floor
of san diego city hall
where the chairs are upholstered in
some industrial blue weave
backed by wood
in a four-screw sequence
plus a small metal bracket
which i imagine once held pens
and the only reason i know these well
is that we sat there for a while
before item #333 (san diego urban agriculture: chickens, goats, bees, farmstands)
came up
and i’m not sure where to start first

perhaps the 70something year old woman in a purple shirt
advocating for backayrd gardens and chickens saying
how her friend once stated
well, these things (global warming, etc)  won’t really affect you
in your lifetime
and her response
went something like
do you think i don’t care about those who come after me?

the thirteen year old boy
with a hint of mustache
whose mom took him out of school today
so he could stand and speak in front of the council

and the 6 kids from hoover high school
several whose narratives include refugee status
speaking to the benefits of chickens in their community garden

and the woman who showed up with a pot
a thermometer
a timer
to give a quick simple demonstration
about how to pastuerize goat milk

and the community garden coordinator at some other school

and the bee experts

and the council president asking what is so interesting about bees
and genuinely meaning it

and more laughter and applause than that room may have heard
for who knows how long now

and all those thank yous going back and forth between the citizens
and councilmembers
because this isn’t the first time that they have shared this room
and this work

and the list of at least thirty names
that the clerk reads off
of those in favor who chose not to speak
after the 15 or so who did choose to speak
did so

and kaya waiving her arms when our councilman
talked about the first meeting he had regarding the
chicken crackdown story
and the tears in kayas eyes
matching the tears in mine

and the light that talking about
chickens
goats
bees
community gardens
brought into that room
was undeniable
which also says so clearly something
about the magic of growing ones own food

one of the things i am trying to say is
in this time of impending doom
with the republican circus raring up for election
with water dwindling and about a dozen deaths a day
in syria due to government/military violence
in a time of colony collapse disorder
in a time when it doesn’t seem unrealistic to imagine
hiking along the i-5 towards the rainforests
as the cities breakdown
this small victory
contagioused itself all along the semi-circle of suited faces
a glimmering  flash of smile after smile
not the ‘i’m posing for the media’ smile
but a genuine heart-burst ray
contagioused itself out into the sitting area
the lobby
the elevators descending back to floor one


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