The Heat, the Ice

Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace, Amazon drought 2005

[a poem of mine about warming the heart to cool the planet, originally written 2007, perhaps more a performance piece]

The Heat, the Ice
– for Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Ted Trainer

Do we need words that break
the ice around our marketable hearts,
mad music that melts the shields
around our fortresses malled by oil,
acts that water our need to be true?

Old Mammy Earth would seem to be calling
us home, it’s tea time, playtime over
time to get together, break bread,
drink wine, talk of all we did
not do today to become a little
more real & remember who we are ‒

one great pulsing web of worms & stardust
mammals, one human family, pulsars,
quasars, galahs, doodahs, Dadas,
quasimodos of emergence & forgetfulness

self-sacrificing sharers & carers
of the Great Net grounded in the invisible
sexuality of soil & sense
(yes to love oil is to hate soil)

for we are drowned Tuvalu too, Kiribati
killed, Baghdad bombed, Timor trellised
by the utterly reasonable, smiling
matey violence of oil-addicted heads of state
whose words are utter un-melting ice

we are billions of creatures
frying to the crisp in the stale old oil
of our affluence, our craving for bads
to buy & fill the enduring emptiness
we first learned in the tiled sterile halls
of wombs, hospitals, child care centres,
schools, factories, offices, malls

that constant old hunger to devour
or restlessly travel to distant empty
hotel rooms flickering red-green
neon advertising another fat nothing
in some language we do not understand,
serviced by darker people also wanting
their share of the icing on the cake
we squander till the Earth melts
into Venus & the love
of resplendent go(o)ds turns bad

our shepherds on the proverbial Titanic’s
upper deck fiddle their dead old tunes
re-arrange deck chairs, render dark people
to torture hell holes not marked
on any tourist map while we frequently flying
sheep feel ever unsafer till we understand
our own shepherds are themselves
the wolves we fear

we know we are more than this

we know we are those
we have been waiting for

we know we need trees & turtles
whales, worms, werewolves

we know we need each other
even when we don’t like each other

need words that say more than sales

know each ad for more useless crap
is another obscene kick in the ailing body
of Mammy Earth writhing on the ground
of our happy habits, hopeless hopes,
ignored ignorance, each politician’s
or CEO’s dollared speech another shiny nail
in the rotting coffin of humane survival

as each stock market shout echoes
another unheard sigh or scream
from some festering favela or council estate

each edition of The Economist, Financial Review
Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Old Idea
another religious rivet in the mental machine
that devours plants, animals, oceans, people

the way out is the way in

the one-world self
we choose to forget we left
in the cloakrooms of our innocence

as now the ice melting,
deserts marching down main street,
we throw the merchants
from the holy temple of our lives

put the order-givers in charge
of worm farms & sewage works,
grow our own food on Broadway,
cast our lines for the dark fish
of the imagination in the empty
stock exchanges of the world

deck the skyscrapers with gleaming
windmills, the Harbour Bridge
with ten hundred million solar panels
arranged in Stace’s copperplate Eternity

sail to all the peasants & poets of the world,
exchange stories, seeds, diseases, songs, poems

shout the sweet barbaric yawp of Whitman
Dante Milton Blake Lorca Neruda
Shakespeare Hafiz Rumi Yesinin Buddha
Gandhi Homer Marx Ginsburg Isaiah
from the unpoetic rooftops of the world

we will come home

we are home already

we will move from existing to living

we are alive already

we will be

we are

we will
be

Igor Podgorny/Greenpeace, After a fire in the Volgogradsky region/Russia

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on February 28, 2012.

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