Friday, May 14, 2010

Triage: Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico, 2010. Read at the Eugene Poetry Slam.

Triage by TobinJohnston
Read at the Eugene Poetry Slam


This sad poem begins out in that gulf 
and ends along the coastline
in that meeting place of water and sand

Forty-two thousands gallons of crude oil nearly every day
while we wait for Obama to act
while we wait for Jesus to come back
to tell us that the cause of a problem can not be it’s solution

Did you know, the crying Indian in the “Keep America Beautiful” Commercial was Italian?
I am not making this shit up.

Old tributaries empty themselves into veins and arteries
all paths lead to the heart, they say
but the San Joaquin river does not meet the ocean anymore
it dies like a solider on some foreign field
but that is California’s problem
I thought I told you, I am not making this shit up

Tumble weed spirit has a rustling voice
an arid whisper
but listen close
Tumble weed says
We call those big bad things that happen acts of God, tornadoes, earthquakes,
but when we do something that big we call it an accident, a misstep of industry, an Exxon Valdes

The oil company BP (British Petroleum) released a statement
a few days after the incident
they claim it is not their fault, it was the rig operators
but they pay for it, they will payout the cash to make this right
I am not making this up

If earth had a vocabulary it would have no word for economy
it offers us gold as if it were some worthless thing found in the ground because  
it is some worthless thing found in the ground
it knows no more of Carbon Dioxide than of diamonds engagement rings
it simply follows the recipe we give it

Tumble Weed Spirit knows the score
forty-two thousand gallons of crude, no less, no more
it knows the cause of a problem can not be it’s solution

Anthropologist believe the first boomerang
was invented three hundred thousands years ago
by a man who was the first person in history
to be killed by a boomerang
Ok, I made that up but it is a metaphor stupid, figure it out.

Journalist flood the region
to dress this tragedy with flesh and bone
to present it as a face recognizable, the eye lash and jaw line of a human story
quantify the horror in lost wages, unemployment,
miles of worthless coastline compounded by years
but Tumble Weed spirit wants you to think a little bigger

Scientists anthropomorphize the climate
they agree it should behave
fighting global climate change implies a “normal”
a static understanding
The earth should be accommodating
comfortable, we must keep it comfortable

In the summer, we cool our houses to around 78 degrees
we heat our pools between 78 to 83
spa temperatures range between 91 and 105
Geo-engineering is gaining traction
if we will hang mirrors
in the atmospheres
they will keep us safe from fear
I am not making this up

8. and Final
We talk about the earth as our only home
but what does the earth say
the cause of a problem cannot be its solution

Forty-two thousand gallons of oil
is a teardrop in the bucket of our consumption
when everyday America burns twenty billion gallons
driving home from work 
I am not making this up

1 comment:

  1. I like this better than anything I've read about the news so far.