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Las Vegas Poets Gain Inspiration From The Work of Daniel Quinn

Las Vegas, Nevada, poets Dawn Carter and Mitch Kalish have written and locally performed poetry based on the ideas presented in the works of Daniel Quinn, including a featured reading at a local cafe.

As most cities have open readings where anyone can get up and present a poem inspired by Ishmael, poetry is a great way to foster interest in the books and promote local Friends of Ishmael groups.

Dawn and Mitch urge poets everywhere to get involved in spreading the word through verse. Two of their poems follow, and others can be read online at:

or by requesting them via e-mail at:

Dawn and Mitch would love to read the Ishmael-inspired works of others, and are always honored when anyone wishes to read their work at a reading.

Meanwhile, Ryan Charlesworth, owner of - the site that hosts Dawn and Mitch's poetry - seeks other similarly inspired artists who wish to post material in his site's gallery. If you would like your work to appear on Ryan's site, helping to create a new hub for artists inspired by the work of Daniel Quinn, you can submit your material at or


Law of Life

Part I

Seeds grow, pushing flowers into plant palettes
colors paint landscapes of air.
Law of Life - witnessed

Waves lap the shore, endlessly breaking in tidal moon cycles of thunderous rhythms
Law of Life - continuing

Spun into webs of spiders,
intricate tapestries of primal seduction
sacrificing life to the beauty of their handiwork
Law of Life - creating and re-creating

Chase of a wolf pack taking the weakest caribou and the enduring strength of both species from their duet of life and death
Law of Life - practiced

Caterpillar's initiation into butterfly, and the bear's use of herbs to heal wounds
Law of Life - remembered

Part II

For two million years human beings
read the law of life
learned it from those who lived it without fail…
from bear and wolf and bison and deer and rabbit and eagle and muskrat and salmon and tiger and elephant,
from redwood and oak and juniper and yucca,
from the seasons and storms,
from the rivers and great sea.

Those who will not abide the law of life
will be taken from the world,
for the gods are patient and creative,
never reduced to arguing with
or punishing their creation.
They set the world in motion in perfection
so whatever lives without the law of life
is removed from life,
and new beginnings like new shoots of spring,
will fill the world.

Part III

The Gods showed us,
as they showed bear
hunt and harvest with reverence to sustain you

The Gods showed us,
as they showed butterflies
who can see the electromagnetic spectrum,
that we are no better than they,
and they no better than we.

The Gods showed us,
as they showed Eagle and Hawk
our ways are right for us,
and their ways right for them.

The Gods showed us
they took no less time in creating
the smallest of creatures
as they took in creating the largest
and we are neither smallest or largest,
just somewhere in-between.

The Gods showed us
we are born of Earth,
as part of Her Community of Life,
the only sin being the absence
of love
for life.

If you want to know the law of life,
watch songbird,
mountain lion,
bighorn sheep,
for no one will ever know it better than they.

If you want to know the law of life
listen to the stories of your elders,
of the elder cultures of your kind,
for no human has ever known it better than they.


Homo Magister

Homo Magister is a curious fellow
who shakes up the world like a bowl of Jell-O.
He wanted the sun to go 'round the earth,
but astronomers scorned him and reacted with mirth.
He wanted mankind to be a godlike creature,
but Darwin showed him his origins in slime, like a sci-fi double feature.
He wanted to think he was born building great civilizations,
but anthropologists found a startling revelation;
for 2 million years, since the first human birth
we lived peacefully in tribes as part of the earth.

Everything he thought turned out to be wrong,
but he still keeps singing that same old song.
Even if the evidence can't quite be produced,
and his logical thinking is poorly deduced.
He props up his ego and tells himself tales
of being superior to butterflies, puppy dogs and whales.
He says his god gave him dominion over it all
and excuses the mess he's made 'cause he had quite a fall.
But he'll get it right one day this surely he knows
on earth or in heaven or old star trek episodes.
'Cause he's king of the hill and so highly evolved,
if he wasn't could he create so many problems unsolved?
The greenhouse and ozone and nuclear radiation,
mass extinction, world war, an apocalyptic invitation.

Though the signs suggest he won't survive for much longer
he huffs and he puffs and says he'll get stronger.
He'll stomp and he'll chomp and devour the planet
but it won't do his bidding no matter how much he damns it!
It just spews him and eschews him and reminds him again,
that like the dinosaurs, his story is reaching its end.
With his last breath he proclaims he could not be mistaken,
but wonders about that road he'd not taken,
the one that the Hopi and Lakota stayed on so true
through eons of travels under skies so blue.
Homo Magister lingers on this final thought
and learns that the world cannot be bought,
that salvation was never something he had to attain,
it was given to him like the wind, sun and rain.
And now he's been stripped of his claim as world's Lord and Master,
delusions of grandeur killed poor homo Magister.


Learn more about poetry inspired by Ishmael and Daniel Quinn.

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