Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Solutions for the End of the World Re-dux

An updated version of the long poem,
Solutions for the End of the World,
has been published by

It can be found here.

It’s a long and strange one and I thank Robert Nazarene
(Editor of the Journal) for publishing it.
Not many journals take a chance on long poems these days.

The poem is the sequel to my long eco-catastrophe-ceremony poem, Tidal Flats. 

Which can be found here.

Solutions for the End of the World
stars the first alchemist, Maria Prophetissa, 
the painter Goya, and a giant feathered eel
that could possibly be a symbol for the balanced cycle 
of nature as well as the destructive catastrophe 
that is climate change.

The poem is basically how I was processing my own grief, anger, numbness and bewilderment over the seemingly unsolvable problem (or as I say in the poem: insoluble) of climate change. 
I say unsolvable because the world may be able to stop some climate-oriented catastrophes at this point, but there are many catastrophes that will happen because we’ve delayed doing anything for far too long. 

Generation Z, trying to save everyone else's ass...

For many things, we’ve passed the point of no return
(catastrophes such as lost coastlines, mass migrations, mass extinction, extensive drought, continuous and vast forest fires, food shortages, ocean dead zones, etc. are happening now).

What’s interesting is that during the time I was writing the poem (July 2019 – September 2019) something happened that  overwhelmed my entire nervous system and now I have almost no memory of writing the sixth section of the poem.
And yet I think the sixth section is the best. It’s probably the key to the whole poem and writing it probably helped in the healing process. 

It’s the part where the feathered eel takes the narrator on a journey across the globe, pointing out ancestors and descendants.

White Rhino
 And so…
you can find the entire poem here.


I’ve posted a few out-of-sequence segments
from section 6 below:

And the Eel whispers into my ear:

“There is a short-horned lizard, sharp-scaled, with inter-
connected shades of brown around a sleepy eye that opens
wide to take me in, to survey canyons below the White Rim,
absorb the Green River, while it clings to sandstone, red as
human blood dried for centuries in the sun…and the rise and
fall of its ribcage is the breath of the stone beside it, is the
breath of the tides in Baja, further south. This is your
descendent…This is your ancestor…”

And the Eel whispers into my ear:

“There is a white rhinoceros lying on its side, Ol Pejeta, Kenya,
last breath released, and there is a man who crouches next
to the rhino, witness to the last breath, heart-broken, his hand
on the ground, feeling what is there, feeling what is no longer
there. Sorrow moves in a slow circle around him, and the ghost
of his loneliness slips into the heart of a woman waiting for a bus
on Boulevard de Strasbourg, Toulouse, the morning of her first
day of work in five years. She stretches out on the pavement,
theater for passing cars, and the earth beneath opens, grateful,
takes her heart into its mouth. This is your descendent…This
is your ancestor…”

And the Eel whispers into my ear:

“There are precise mountain shadows on the moon, cat paws
across dust, imprints of what’s been lost, what can’t be returned;
a child left behind in an abandoned train station, unable to move,
stuck there for fifty years wondering why, why won’t they come
back for me? And the wondering is the wind that moves through
the grass grown through the cracks in concrete. This is your
descendent…This is your ancestor…”

And the Eel whispers into my ear:

“There is a sound, the sound of the sun, how it mimics a chorus
of white-and-black striped bees, of wings that no one can see
for speed; of wind that flows liquid from a squadron of flying
squid, searching for the source of the sun. And there is a woman
in a basket boat, looking down into the sun on water, off the coast
near Lagi Village, Bin Thuan Province, who can hear the spin at
the center of the sun’s reflection, how it desires to hide in skin,
in pine needles, how it speaks through the antennae of long-horned
beetles hiding in the dark. This is your descendent…This is your

And the Eel whispers into my ear:

“There is a corpse-burner, breaking a skull with a bamboo stick,
scarf wrapped around his face against pyre flames, Manikarnika
Ghat, Varanasi. No one will touch him, this death-tender, smoke-faced,
and so he has rejected touch. He knows the terrible poem the tourists
refuse to hear; grease, blood, smell of shit. And there is an Angler Fish,
ball organ dangling near its mouth, alight, drawing in the curious, all
the dreams that have sifted down to the bottom, transmitting the death
poem. And there is a bank teller in Santiago, Chile, who wakes to the
crack of the skull, smell of burning flesh. She touches her cheek, feels
the bone beneath, feels the trilobite fossil embedded in the bone. This
is your descendent…This is your ancestor…”

 You can find the entire poem here.


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