Day 09 – A series of questions I’d like to ask climate change deniers

A series of questions I’d like to ask climate change deniers

i.
How do you know the world
was hotter thousands of years ago?
People have said so?
Oh. What kind of people?
Can you say it?
Don’t worry I will then.
Scientists have.
So why do you believe those scientists but not the 97%?

ii.
When the planet was hotter
what lived then?
Were humans around?
You don’t know?
That’s okay.
The answer is —
No, they weren’t!
The world was dominated 
by a bunch of giant cold blooded lizards.
Any warm blooded potential ancestors 
of ours
were tiny little rodents
scurrying around 
trying not to get stepped on
or eaten

iii.
& why did the dinosaurs reign supreme
during this so-called “normal”/“natural” 
warmer greenhouse earth you farking 
deniers love to harp on about?

Because. They. Were. Much. Better. Suited. 
To. Such. High. Temperatures. Than. Human-like. 
Creatures. Like. Us. Were.    Or. Ever. Will. Be.

Day 5 – in firing range

This is the poem I started writing yesterday till all the might have beens that never were muscled its way out into the world mid-draft. I’ve gone back to it today & finished it off.

in firing range

despite insane frustration with inept governments :
& debilitating rage at arrogant greedybloodhungry
multinational corps’ ruthless relentless unabashed 
pillaging of the planet : part of me knows — i
can’t really complain : for since that so long past :
never forgotten : sunday : i too have failed to meet targets

failed to reduce emissions (though reducing consumption 
would be more benefit) : failed in every known dataset
that supposedly counts : for something : in life : 
marriage : career : kids : success : legacy : wealth 
accumulation : financial security : et cetera : & : ad nauseum

for the longest time : failed to even notice
i’d been trapped in a tomb : since the first 
of those soulharrowing three days : over three
decades ago : the stone rolled back on me :
unaware : unable to escape my darkness

the difference i suppose is my failure :
has destroyed predominantly me :
(with deepest apologies to a handful
of beautiful people who were caught
in the crosshairs of my grief) : whereas
it is currently the world : being crucified 
now : & into the firing range : of the future

NB I'm really hating the new WordPress. It's repeatedly refusing to let me upload photos saying I'm not connected to the internet (even though I am & capable of opening other pages, watching youtube videos, etc. It's highly frustrating & causing the delays in posting.

Day 4 – all the might have beens that never were

This emotionally draining day usually comes along at some point during NaPoWriMo but not often this soon in (although I note I will have respite in 2024 when Easter Sunday falls on March 31). Best to get it over with early I guess. 

It’s not quite tied into the Climate Change theme as, erm, intricately as it perhaps could be. That said it did come out of a poem I was working on which was more intensely linked … & you could argue that there have been a series of dates & deadlines that could have dramatically affected/lessened the potential clout of the coming temperature rise … so thematically there’s a connection … so … I’m gonna allow it! (Whew, I was worried there for a sec I wasn’t going to convince myself.)

04 three-paths

all the might have beens that never were

today : mournday sunday
is one of two : fallow days
in every : whimpering year
i allow myself : to truly : wallow

to weep deep :  for my 
lost three : to wonder
over all the might have beens 
that never          :          were

to let grief’s heat : blister
through : the other mes
other lives : other trajectories
other doors : other : if onlys

all the stars that might : have burned
all the constellations : that others :
might have read : into that sky
all the other pathways : all the other joys

all the other : others : that never were

Day 2 – conspiracy kiss

Why is it always the usual suspects that get rounded up in the weirdest theories? 

conspiracy kiss

thankfully i : only have a few : in my friendship group : but why is it : the same people : who wildly warned me : exactly 12 months ago : that covid 19 : was a chinese invention : funded by bill gates : hillary’s pizza shop : & spread via 5g : designed to   :  :  :   oh, I dunno : something nefarious : involving : microchips : a new world order : & stopping trump from re-election

are the same : geniuses : who claim : human-caused climate change : is not really a thing : & call me (all of us) : sheeple : & beseech us : to : “do our own research” : which to them : means a youtube page : with several hundred views : & a blog written by : an angry : out of work : austrian geologist 

me : rather than think : i’m being conned : believe instead : in the KISS theory : of understanding things : which is : if a substantial number : of climate scientists : claim we’re over : heating the world : chances are : that’s what’s happening

Day 1 – denial of a different kind

It’s April which means, once again, that the ghosts of Na/GloPoWriMo walk among us.  Ever year I debate about whether I should participate, & every year I end up saying to myself “come on, suck it up”

Last year (you might recall) was a wee bit of a crazy one … & to reflect that I wrote every poem around the theme of corona & plague & pandemics & virus.   For me at least, it worked very well. I got to explore a hot topic in a range of ways; while managing to produce 4 or 5 reasonably high quality poems on the topic, in a range of styles. So I intend trying the same trick this year — except this time the 30 poems won’t be about the world ending in plague. Whew! Everyone says. 

No, this year I intend to explore heat & climate change & extreme weather events. It’s a topic I’ve already penned a dozen or so poems about; but given it really is the burning topic of the age, it’s one I’ve wanted to explore more. Indeed, it feels like there’s a moral obligation as an artist to explore it; and for the world to actually act on it.

denial of a different kind 

when a thing — 
the threat of a thing
is so — so vastly big
ordinary brains
(brains that are far
from brilliant
at even the best of times)
— become bamboozled, 
boggled, & literally 
bogged into inaction —
thoughts unable to move
in any direction — 
stuck under a quick
sand miasma of missed
information
— real & imagined

it seems all this simple
mind is capable of
is crawling beneath 
the covers & hiding
from the immensity
of the impending
holocaust

the only apparent
benefit being at least 
my doona-clutching 
cowardice won’t generate 
too much in the way
of excess carbon costs

Day 30 — history doing what history does best

Wide NY

Once again, as if to round out the month, the poem I had been planning to finish the event with is not the one I’m publishing tonight. Again, an article I read about 100 year old New York serviceman who died due to complications with COVID19. This led to me playing with voice & POV & trying to put the scant biographical facts I had about him into a poetic first person monologue. Which lead me to research more about him. Thankfully the first article I read was the least evocative & I found some beautiful stories/snippets in other obituaries. 

As much as I liked the other idea, it seems right & fitting to end with this moving personal story that spans the centuries.

*****

Philip Kahn: a semi-imagined poetic obituary

everyone should understand by now history always
replays versions of itself for its own amusement.

he was born at the end of the war to end all wars
— then fought in the next one that came along.

on the ground, at Iwo Jima, survived snipers — & a booby
trap which blew him 15 feet from where he stood.

from the air, over Japan, flew B29s & dropped
bombs — then carried their weight the rest of his life.

he helped the Twin Towers go up
— then like everyone else, watched them come down.

married in 46 & remained happily wed
— until Rose’s death last summer. 

yet always — he carried a void with him.
i was that void. Samuel. twin. died 1919.

taken by two pandemics — a century apart.
a life lived — & one that only watched.

the irony of our deaths — is my brother
& i are bookends on a shelf that never ends.

Day 29 — the end of my GloWriMoPo 2-part poem experiment

29 Emergency.jpg

While I don’t think this poem works as well as I hoped it might, I was keen to complete because I thought it an interesting idea & I wanted to try & show in semi-poetic sense how acts of non-isolation impact others. Given a chance I’d restructure the first part giving me more flexibility in part 2. And once this month’s all over, & I’ve recovered, I might just do that.

Here’s the link to the first part if you want a refresher.

*****

Quarantine: part 2

what Donnie did this week

1. the days in bed didn’t help
he ended up being rushed to hospital
where he’s spent the last week
on a ventilator …

a selection of consequences of the things Donnie did instead of staying home

1. Plane
several people at Donnie’s church feel unwell.
including the pastor who has performed three funerals in the past 48 hours.
the lady that prepares the community meals hasn’t come in for days
one of the cabin crew felt feverish in Perth a couple of days later
  but had to work a flight back to her home Brisbane
  before she could self isolate.
her housemates have been looking after her.  

2. Shops
1st time. the check out girl who served him caught what Donnie has
 — but as she’s a casual with no sick leave
   she’s been at work every day since.
2nd time. the woman who used his trolley after him has a cough.
3rd time. when he coughed without covering his mouth
   the butcher couldn’t avoid breathing some in.

3. Grandmother
his grandmother died
   (though she has lots of loo paper in reserve).

4. Beach
thankfully Donnie encountered no one at the beach.

5. Haircut
his barber has come down sick.
his barber’s young son too.
  & the mum of the kid next door who looks after him after kindy.
his barber’s son’s kindy teacher is sick, but has recovered.
  her mother has not.
his barber’s parents are also feeling ill.

6. Bus
three passengers that Donnie coughed near are sick,
   including one who has CF: she has been hospitalised
   & is in a critical condition
one of the nurses at the hospital is so overwhelmed
   he’s contemplating suicide.
the single mother he sat next to is having trouble breathing.
   she doesn’t know who’s going to look after her young son.
two high school students had the virus without even really knowing.
their English teacher was not so lucky.
the driver has died.

7. Mates
Gary felt crook but kept going to work.
Gary’s boss has a fever.
Greg too felt a bit funny, but stayed home in bed.
Greg’s wife is now in bed too (& not in the fun way).
Greg’s wife’s mum dropped off some soup for them.
   and did a bit of tidying up.
   now she’s having trouble breathing.
Bill is fine.

today
… sadly Donnie
has recovered.

Day 28 – a few things you may not know about the 1918 pandemic 

Spanish-Flu-2-885x620.jpg

I swear I’m going to have twenty incomplete/half-edited poems because after working for several hours on a poem about new research suggests COVID-19 seems to be affecting more than just lungs, including attacking the heart; I suddenly started spewing forth ideas from a couple of articles I’d read about the flu pandemic of 1918-19 (often erroneously or unfairly called Spanish flu). It’s almost like I’ve got to write for a while on one topic before I can let the right one out.

Anyway, he’s a wee trip back in time that might shed some light on both the present & the future …

*****

H1N1

humanity has been learning
to live with a new disease — new to us
which in itself is nothing new

the one everyone keeps
harping on about is the H1N1
influenza outbreak of 1918–19

three waves washed round
the world infecting 500 million
then killing between a tenth & a fifth

the end arrived only when immunity
was conferred — transforming
H1N1 from pandemic to endemic

then it hung round for 40 —
— more — years — as a seasonal virus
though at much less severe levels

despite all our efforts
it didn’t disappear till 1957
when a new pandemic H2N2

eradicated almost the entire
H1N1 — one flu virus strain
somehow supplanting another

& the scariest part?
— scientists  don’t  really
know  how  it  did  it

Day 27 – amusing reflections on our education conundrum 

social-distancing-kids-.png

Not the poem I was working on initially, but given my facebook feed was full of posts on this topic, it sorta spewed out. Maybe the COVIDSafe app poem will get aired tomorrow. Or maybe like around a dozen others, it won’t, cos I’m running out of time.

*****

funny haha

isn’t it funny
how council playgrounds
are off limits with signs up
saying CLOSED FOR COVID
but playgrounds in primary schools
all over the country
are somehow virus-safe spaces

isn’t it funny
how kids aren’t allowed
to visit their grandparents
but teachers of the same age
are supposed to go to work
to teach classrooms full
of similarly aged tykes

isn’t it funny
how the prime minister
closed parliament till august
so 76 senators & 151 house of reppers
don’t have to associate together
whereas schools with a 1000 kids
& 100s of staff are meant to function
as if everything’s normal

actually, i guess
it’s not that funny
after all

like a lot of what’s going on
right now

Day 26 – festive-themed silly Sunday

26 12 days.png

Okay, this is one I’ve been saving. I’ve tried to get it as close to the original as I can (phonetically & rhythmically, but I’ll concede there are holes) — while referencing contemporary things, which definitely made it more challenging. But it’s okay for a bit of fun. I’m just gonna hit you with the last verse not the 11 incrementally longer versions. But you’re smart, you can figure out what’s going on.

*****

12 days of Coronamas

12th day
On the 12th day of Coronamas my true love sent to me
Twelve doctors doct’ring
Eleven nurses nursing
Ten landlords a-weeping
Nine checkouts chicking
Eight Brady’s zooming
Seven stylists a-trimming
Six priests a-praying
Five toilet rolls
Four brawling kids
Three Bench Clenz
Two surgical gloves, and
A smart new facemask just for me