minnesota teamretreat 202

The Mad Agriculture Journal

Published on

June 19, 2023

Written by

Woody Tasch


Sophia Piña-McMahon

This is a call to farms. It is and is not a response. It is not a response to any one brigade’s route, the military mind that mapped it or the propaganda that is translating it into ideological talking points. It is a response to the forces that turned—lo these few brief millennia, and lo’er these few brief centuries, and lo’er yet (you’d think lo’est, surely, but no, there seems no end to the Great Acceleration) these few brief decades, these few brief tweets, these few brief algorithmic breaths, these few brief ultrafast bursts of ones and zeroes—the Fertile Crescent into the Oil Patch and amber waves of grain into food as a store of cheap, shelf-stable calories, food as fuel for internal combustion engines, food as industrial power.

This is a call to farms because there is healing to be done. Trust to be restored. Mutuality to be rekindled. Biodiversity to be valued. Conviviality to be nurtured. Carbon to be sequestered. Bread to be broken. Affection to be shared. Humility to be cultivated.

minnesota teamretreat 254


A call to farms…

What kind of poetry is this, sprouting 

in the face of…in the face of…

this warfare on the Steppes,

these implosions of the impossible,

wounds of geopolitical reductionism wrought, 

ruthless obliterations of all poetic ought, 

dropping from the sky

as if peace were a trinket?

A call to farms in the shadow of…

in the shadow of…we do not dare to think it.

A dull inevitability accompanies wartime 


The Dnieper flows to the Black Sea.

Everything that had been taught, erased. 

Every step that had been forgotten, retraced. 

Every seed that had been planted, laid waste.

Tincture of treaty. Cloud of indecision. 

The cancer had only been in remission.

Back in the Fifties, in countless dens of countless 

tract homes in countless U.S. suburbs, countless 

boys lay prone, playing with plastic army men

in various positions, making shooting sounds, 

World War II in their heads in some way, 

fathers in their heads in some way,

survival in their heads in some way,

being at such a great yet minimal remove

in their heads in some way, vaguely aware, 

but not, of being a generation removed, 

a continent removed, an American Dream 

removed, a whole that never would be whole 

removed, and removed again, displaced, free, 

victorious, unwittingly emboldened, as only 

those on the right side of history can be.

Elsewhere, gods and ghosts cavorted,

unsure whether to celebrate or weep.

Under the banner of Democracy’s victory, 

Technology consorted with some demi-goddess

or other and Nuclear Proliferation was conceived. 

The ghost of Stalin stalked the empty Yalta grounds. 

Around Gaia’s slender shoulders was draped

the shroud of unlimited economic growth — 

with a certain alienated majesty she wore it, 

while at the banquet table, revelers shouted.

The festivities were not long-lived. 

Everything was put on the market. 

There were plenty of buyers.

There were as many buyers

as there were shares to be bought. 

As there were battles to be fought. 

As there were preachers to thunder. 

As there were desks to hide under.

Then, as the millennium wound down

were myriad financial instruments sown,

the broad acreages of our non-bewilderment 

receiving them without so much as a whimper. 

Who knew there could be so many ways to maximize return and minimize chance?

Scattered in fields of Ukrainian wheat, 

unexploded ordnance.


Poetry is the sweet nothings whispered 

by Rhyme in Reason’s ear 

by Ecology in Economy’s ear 

by Aphrodite in Apollo’s ear 

by Wendell in Tanya’s ear. 

From such sweet nothingry 

do somethingries shoot, 

allowing possibility and peace to bloom. 

For a few precious moments, 

even the dullest root, though damaged 

by war’s cruelest winter, finds ways to stir 

according to the seasons. 

Originally published in
Mad Agriculture Journal Issue 9


Sorry! Donations can not be purchased at the same time as goods