Compost Composition

By Phillip Keinholz

Take out compost bucket. Take away, oh, take away the food trimmings,

Leftovers from my plate, garden leavings, the police state,

Surveillance state,  pernicious hostile security state.

Here, take my privilege into the moldering pile.

Turn neglect of transformance to transformable compost. 


I’ll donate the corporate-as-person, prison industries, refugees

Held without charge — all that daily news shredded to cross-cut newsprint

Snuck into the middle of diurnal pile, night-buried uneven rules,

Limp carrot tops, rhubarb, decomposing, deconstructing in time.

In goes a bit of sawdust. Dried leaves have served trees’ purpose —

Now dampening brings secretive motion, turns illegible

Any lies in newspaper detritus, turns (…..illegible …..) 

“It varies – For vegetables, oh seven to one say: carbon to nitrogen,

Browns to greens; for forest plants say thirty to one

Or even all carbon,” leaf mold and twigs mulching the forest floor,

Circumstances having filed a claim to ground as your charge,

Your spirit home. 

Take this civilized writing that gifts me with trinkets —

Under rotting leaves and cauliflower hearts lives the essence of cabbage.

Burn in the transforming fire, disintegrate,

Break apart the affluent sleep of excess,

Rest gracefully again as equal share.

Tined turning fork         air of heat

Hose of reconciliation         water of mercy.

Dark center of the pile moves. Microbial populations

Turn mesophile to thermophile — in hidden slumbering ebb?

Oh surge:

Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, arthropods, herbovore insects,

Fungal feeders, earthworms and bugs in quantities I cannot count,

Turning discarded delusions, maladies and (illegible) wrong turns

Into new soil sources of life as ancient way of the forest

Discovering horticulture.