Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Thinking About Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen in the film Papillon; This Week’s CIA Torture Report, The US Prison System, The 30th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, and the Finnish Prison System while Writing an Ode to the Possibly Extinct Diana Blue Morpho Butterfly

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” --John Muir

Wild morpho butterflies in tropical French Guiana were harvested by prisoners
in the film Papillon to make US dollars.  In other words, nature, flight and freedom
were converted by symbol-makers to mind traps enslaving billions.

Species of those butterflies are gone or severely threatened
and petroleum distillates that killed them have replaced Diana blues on dollars
which have never existed in nature.  From ancient Sumer to now,

money has always been a mere illusion in workers’ minds.
However, the killing ignorance and arrogance of clay-carvers,
symbol-makers, and their political puppets are stronger now than ever.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden recently said
“Legally, It's Not Torture,” “We have a soul and a conscience too.”  “I didn’t lie.”
Sting once wrote, “Everybody wants to look the other way/

When something wicked this way comes.” News media reported Americans are
uninterested but I wonder how this would change if hummus
were jammed up their butts.  This will not end well.

Somewhere between Bhopal, India, Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, and the CIA;
somewhere between solitary confinement in the US and organic gardening in Finland,
a cricket sings in my attic, and anyone who visits this poem can hear it. 
© Scott Starbuck 

“ [ . . .] it could well have been one of the butterflies collected by Henri Charriere, on whose life “Papillon” was based. Today, pollution and urbanization resulting from extensive oil drilling in the area has degraded much of this butterfly’s original range. Because the species has not been collected in over 50 years, it is very possible that it is now extinct.”-- 100 Years – 100 Objects: Diana Blue Morpho by Nancy [Greig] ,, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, April 27, 2009

“40 Years Later, the Cruelty of Papillon is a Reality in U.S. Prisons” [ . . . . ] “In New Mexico last week, for example, a 73-year-old grandmother sued state officials after she was placed in solitary confinement for five weeks without proper medication.”  -- Andrew Cohen,, Dec. 16, 2013

Union Carbide has paid an amount of $470 million U.S. dollars with an average compensation per person for 500,000 victims of 500 U.S. dollars each. Not a single person has been held criminally liable for an act that left 20,000 people dead and 150,000 maimed for life. -- Raghu Rai,, Portfolio - INDIA. 2001. Bhopal Gas Tragedy

“One of the eight suppliers of organic potatoes – located in a radius up to 250 km – is the prison Satakunnan vankila, [Finland], where around 100 inmates are incarcerated. They are given various activities, and one of them is cultivating the institution’s own land. They farm 215 ha organically, [ . . .]” -- Kai Kreuzer, “Finnish manufacturer supplies ten countries with organic starch,”, June 9, 2013

Scott Starbuck was a 2014 Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the "Speak Truth to Power" FOR Seabeck Conference. His "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet" is at

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