Zumwalt Poems Online

Posts tagged ‘ecopoems’

deleterious habitat

deleterious habitat

hot southern heat
  baking your alaska
the smog fills your
lungs like sand
                in a dersadrop humidifier

breathing is a function
  and we are approaching an asymptote

three toed sloths trek through the treptremanian soil

burning air and burning phylum
                    cough…
                                  cough…
                                                cough…

It is time to let me out.

— Zumwalt (1974)

Better Than

Better than

The land and water is haunted with beasts.
Some are carnivorous;
Some are microscopic;
None are smart like us
or entitled to dine at a good restaurant.

They think, we think, but differently.
None speak Mandarin or Cape York Pidgin English.
They have offspring and some care for their young,
Some eat their young,
But not a one makes contributions to a college fund.

I can wear them as hats, or mount them on my wall
But I can’t suffer this idea that they deserve representation in Congress.
I can grill them on coals, or tie them to my sled
But I won’t consider giving them my email address.

Evolution is a dusty and poorly mapped path
Nonetheless, it does not cross upon itself
And head back many miles
So that one easily confuses the end with its beginning.

It doesn’t jump from amoebas to mudfish and then back down to insects
then jump up to chimpanzees, over to worms and across to chihuahuas.

It progresses steadily, more or less,
from moss to shrimp to clown fish
to red-legged frog to crocodile
and then on to penguin or duck,
next visiting the platypus,
on to rabbits and rats
and terriers and tigers,
or lemurs and monkeys
and gibbons, gorillas,
bonobos, and our friends next door,
the Millers.

At the top are we,
and granted certain privilege and priority.
We can extend our parking lots
and re-engineer the best sun-bathing spots.

At the peak are we
with our rhubarb pie and peach-ginger iced tea.
We have power of attorney to set fires to ancient trees
and reclaim land from the South China Sea.

The air and ocean is haunted with creatures.
Some are carnivorous;
Some are microscopic;
None should have free trespass without our permission.

We should put up security gates
And start up detailed dossiers.
Every genus should have a dedicated database;
Every species captured in a redundant set of disk arrays.

They may think that we think they are not much different than we
But none speak Mandarin, Hindi, Hungarian or Burmese.
They have offspring so that their lineage continues on
But that’s up to us and little to do with them.

We may not hang on.
We are a destructive bunch
With a vicious knock-out punch.

We may not survive the dawn,
but if we do manage to last
and hold on as the entitled upper class
they need to take note
most carefully
that we not only own all we buy, lease or see
but in the end,
we can certainly ensure
that none of them,
aggressively,
or at their leisure,
pass us
on any given branch
of the post-Darwinian,
well-groomed,
often pruned,
evolutionary
tree.

— Zumwalt (2011)

Copyright © 2011

(Reposted by request of Monica)

Stop the chop, chop, chop.

We
see
a tree!  A tree!
Since it’s the last one living free
We will grab it quickly for our family.
A Tree!!!

Crop the lower middle to the
Top off!
Chop!!! Chop!!!
Don’t yet Stop!
Hear the Plop!
Chop! Chop!! Chop!!! Chop!!! Chop! Chop! Chop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— Zumwalt (2011)

(see related poem https://zumpoems.com/2011/07/10/theyve-stripped-the-forest-for-babble/)

Zumwalt’s response to http://dversepoets.com/2011/11/17/form-for-all-beth-winter-hosts-staccato-form/#comment-5757  This is, in Zumwalt’s words, “a crime against this staccato form that pales in comparison to crimes against nature.”)

Trade

Trade

It’s a fair trade.
Food for fuel.

Convert all our corn.
Add the amylase enzyme gene.
Food for fuel.

It’s a fair trade.
Forests for Food.

Switch soya for corn.
Make Brazil a giant farm.
Forests for Food.

Prices are right for fuel and food.
Step up production:
More fuel, more carbon in the air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in our lungs.

Rising Global Temperatures are ripe to drive up prices.
Droughts increase water’s premium
Aquifers get depleted.
Water becomes even scarcer.
Food prices rise.

Little Johnny wants to make money.
How can he not help to do so?
Invest in food and pollute at the same time.
Easy money.
Pollute on a small scale:
Pocket change.
Pollute on a large scale:
Wealth beyond dreams.

Rising Temperatures,
Erratic Weather,
Population Growth,
Scarce Water Resources,
Civil Unrest
All put stress on
Food supplies.

Now Johnny has to work harder.
He burns the midnight oil.
And makes more money.

Cattle, Sheep and Goats
Make deserts out of grasslands.
Tractors, Freight Trucks and Commuters
Make hazardous waste the speciality in trade.

But it’s a fair trade.
Quality of Life for Quantity of Life.

It’s a reasonable trade.
More humans for less plants and animals.

We will switch the future for the present.
Make our Dreams a Giant Dustbowl.
Swap future prospects for a bite to eat.

Principles are right for the harvesting.
Let’s step up consumption:
More fuel, more carbon in our air;
More food, less trees, more carbon in the lungs.

It’s a good honest trade.
I can write away the guilt.
Put my complaints down on some message board
And feel just a little better
As everyone increasingly feels worse.

— Zumwalt (2011)

The irreplaceble moment

The irreplaceble moment

We passed a law that two things
must not occupy the same space
                           at the same time.

There were some dissenting votes
and much discussion about how to enforce.
Our representatives had to think of the interests of the constituents mainly,
which, in this case, coincided with the interests of the consituent assembly.

We, the people, needed to have a nice place to live.
We evicted the indigenous
making them all indigent
and our leaders sometimes evicted us
as a matter of common sense and expedience.

We, needed a way to move from place to place.
Metal mines swallowed eco-lifelines,
oil sputtered and splattered
coating the coast
from sea to shining sea.

We, needed something to eat.
Food replaced foul-tasting pests
with the help of
magical chemical tricks.
The fumes were awful
confining us to hospitals.
The country became prosperous
as the food became murderous.

My chainsaw spins and thus once again
repels all like things from its space.
It must create to destroy and destroy to create
following the inviolate rules of time and place.

My friends all slash and burn the best they can.
They may displace,
efface and even disgracefully debase nature’s very own birthplace
but it’s all to simply appropriate our formerly shared estate
and establish
through each on-demand phase of
tactically-driven blaze, graze and industrial haze their
own personal haste-makes-waste
state-of-the-art ahead-of-the-pace
deadly-embrace-the-human-race
monetarily-based
technically-graced
profit-making showcase/workplace.

Yes, our life may be just a moment but
the damage we do by being a bit too clever lasts forever.

— Zumwalt (2011)

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