2022, Junior, Poetry & Spoken Word
You will die if climate change continues—no
Really—see, some people, these guys called scientists,
say that life will cease to exist by 2030.
Thank them, for making every New Year’s
Eve a pity party. You slowly pour your champagne, sink
with the bubbles into your stained couch and think
Man, tomorrow’s one year closer to my death day.
Romance might bloom too early
this spring, as we’ve been given the best
pickup lines in history: are you
a greenhouse gas, baby? ‘Cause it’s getting hot here.
You melt my heart like polar ice caps, you make my knees buckle,
the swoon of an avalanche that has collapsed
into the warming sea. Are you New
Delhi? ‘Cause you’re taking my breath away.
You know, with air pollution, infused with so much
carbon and chemicals, I am thoroughly addicted. Forevermore
you’ll run through my mind
like fossil fuels running through the waterways, carry me
like the ocean does its plastics, embrace me,
a fishnet around a sea turtle,
we found love right where we are.
If this continues, you’ll flunk your geography test.
When you ask your teacher where Venice is,
they cannot answer. They’ll shrug
when you ask why Antarctica is no longer a bridal white,
when you’re asked where the Amazon is, you’ll be
the kid who has to create the answer “D” under “C”
(all they gave you is rainforest, all you know is desert).
You’ll also fail your pop quiz on the solar system.
If the seas continue to march on towards the sky, then I
guess by 3000, the moon will be submerged as well,
awash with midnight waves, the stars winking, fallen
fish scales, the moon, floating above, a ghastly
corpselike manta ray. We want to cheat, to escape to the other side
of interstellar space, to download our consciousness onto computers,
to outlive those unforgiving, pounding waves, foaming with fury, steeped
in our adulteration, our care
-lessness as we cower, the sun bleeding its golden wrath,
We all know the only thing you can do on a pop quiz when
you have not paid attention
is to guess. My God,
why didn’t we study
Climate change took many things away from me, but one thing it gave me was ecopoetry. I have always been a person who loves nature—I love to watch it, breathe it, and especially write about it. The natural world is this wondrous, awe-inspiring place that gives me comfort and protection from reality. But the more I spent writing about it, the more changes I noticed. Whole swaths of trees vanishing under the roar of vehicles to make way for the expanding highway, blossoms blooming too early, wrathful heat waves. I smelled the stench of exhaust fumes while trying to detect the aroma of honeysuckle. On the news, I saw the Amazon burning and the city of Venice shrinking from the rising waters. I entered the realm of ecopoetry to use my writing to bring attention to important environmental issues. Now, I write with a vengeance—with a desire to protect the environment that I love dearly. When I started writing this poem, filled with so much fire, I found it strange initially to use humor to express my anxieties. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized how humor is such an easy way to get people to listen. To laugh and realize how silly, how foolish, we really are to close our eyes to climate change, to hide from the outcome of our own decisions. I hope as you read this, you feel a sting of grief, of alarm, each time you laugh, because truly, the actions we have taken so far are a joke.