Tag Archives: corporate ag


A promise from forgotten days of rain,

bold whites and blues and greens

flush the flesh clean as a hawk’s cry


in spring.  When we were children

here, we walked within our dreams

of endless rivers crashing and cascading


from the Sierra snowpack into the Valley

ditches and furrows, row upon row

to fill the cornucopia of the world.


But we have pumped the ground dry.

Is this a harbinger of better times, or

have the gods returned to say goodbye?



Orange Harvest Mural by Colleen Michell-Veyna—Exeter, CA


The valley sinks with pumping
deeper and deeper
into investor’s pockets

before they take the write-off,
before they turn the ground
for a profit.

                              It’s a clean deal
                              with no hands dirty.


We are the immigrants
from another time
growing closer to the soil,

dreaming still of rain, bumper crops
and markets high enough
to pay the bank off—

                              mom and pops
                              who stay the ground.


The natives heard them coming,
saw the woodsmoke,
left rabbits on the doorstep

to keep the guns inside—
to not spook the game
that fed them before

                              the tule elk and
                              antelope were gone.


APRIL 2, 2015




Thirty days ago we hoped
for a better spring,
for clouds to rain us
back to normal
as we looked down
Ridenhour Canyon
to Dry Creek Road—
to the orchards
of Lemon Cove.

Hills now brittle and brown,
last year’s dead oak skeletons
have company, naked
as the Kaweahs—tilted
granite rock without snow.

Corporate Ag without water
drills wells to hell—
spending billions
into the Pleistocene
to hasten the conclusion
of farming the San Joaquin.

We had hoped for a better spring,
another month of rain and green,
creeks and rivers overflowing,
flooding Valley towns.