2018, High School, Poetry
his palms cradle the black coal and
thin layers flake away
he tosses them in the air
burns them with his fists
the warmth is ruffling his curls
and he smiles into the light
electricity gurgles to life
the barrel of fuel
his bottomless cigarette
he puffs the smoke into the clouds, calls it temporary
the seas blanket his bare feet in blue
sizzle tight on his skin
and strip the silver-bodied fish
with his acid laugh.
he clicks his tongue at the way the waves
rake at the soil
and ignores his fingernails eroding his own face
the purple waters are his drink and his tongue
is sticky and saline
he dances in a coral forest and it is winter
white bodies twisted around him like tangled knuckles
he chokes the oxygen from rocky rib cages and
glassy pearl eyes
he says the earth is blushing and the tide wishes him goodnight
he says the plastic is futile and his wrist is locked in a milk carton
he burns a bay of oil and calls it his nightlight
as the cyclones engulf his dimming pupils
he inhales his birthplace
and exhales hypoxia
leaves a streak of dead space
he tips the waiter and congratulates himself
as he picks up and leaves.
his boyfriend stares into
the eyes of this catastrophe
from the corner booth
and doesn’t know what to say.
he sees his own frowning reflection
MacMillan, Amanda. “Global Warming 101.” NRDC, 5 June 2018, www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101.
“35 Easy Ways To Stop Global Warming.” Conserve Energy Future, 15 Apr. 2017, www.conserve-energy-future.com/stopglobalwarming.php.
When it comes to environmental issues, especially global warming, I find it is easiest for people in my community to blame the problem on others. To not take responsibility. It’s easy to pretend we don’t play a role in harming the beautiful, incredible oceans and ecosystems that belong on our planet but are suffering nonetheless. My poem illustrates a young man witnessing the harmful and toxic behaviors of his boyfriend and feeling disgusted. I included depictions of coral bleaching, dead zones, burning of fossil fuels, and hypoxia, among others. In the end, the young man sees himself in his destructive boyfriend; this shows that in this day and age, to blame environmental destruction on another human is to blame yourself for not speaking out. Without educating others and fighting for environmentally safe practices, not only will our oceans suffer, but our human race will suffer as a whole. My message through the piece is for us to hold ourselves accountable for the ups and downs of our planet. It’s our home. Our only home. We can’t just shrug our shoulders and point fingers. We must take action before it is too late.