Today’s prompt was to write an exhaustion poem, and given the time of the semester, and the length of my Thursdays, it would have been pretty easy to go with physical exhaustion as a topic. But I also felt like that would come off as self-absorbed whining, especially given that my current job is far from the most physically taxing job out there–it’s not even in the top five of most physically taxing jobs I’ve held in my life.
So instead, I thought of exhaustion in environmental terms, which has been on my mind a lot in the last couple of years. Lots of people gave President Obama grief over his recent decision over coastal drilling for oil. I don’t like his decision, but it wasn’t a surprise to me–we humans are horrible at forcing ourselves to be austere for the short term in order to gain in the long term, after all. So I suspect we will drill holes anywhere and everywhere to extract fossil fuels until there is simply none left to be had, no matter what the cost environmentally or aesthetically. That’s where this poem is coming from.
Drill Baby Drill
When you next come to Florida
take photos of the ocean,
of what passes for breakers
lolling up the sand, of the flat
unbroken horizon dotted with
an occasional cruise ship, freighter,
sailboat. Take photos of the sand,
sparkling ecru, or the broken coral
or seaweed that looks like
overgrown cooked spinach.
Take photos of the sandpipers,
of the seagulls, of the pelicans
as they swoop, dive and bob
their lunches. Take photos
before the oil spills come ashore,
because they will come
as certain as the platforms
will appear one day. We will drill
until there is no more oil
to be found, and damn the costs
or the places unlucky enough
to be near it.
I am used up, a waste gas,
am drawn off to completion.
But I can replenish myself–
write a poem or drink a beer,
swing in a hammock, pet a cat,
love, read, listen, walk, plant.
I am solar. I am wind.