My brother, he is the blood of the soil
He weeps in the fall of mahogany, the balsam’s toil
As his lungs burn, they aflame, they shrivel and cry
He suffocates, and like a smoker’s eye
Is red shot with the ashes of doom,
A doom that lurks upon us, that is nigh.
My sister, she is the viridian shade of algae
The community of the sea, vibrant and merry
Suddenly browned coral, suddenly bleached,
The boiling of the reefworks, and the scream of the eagle
Like the choke of the Inuit
and the plastic graveyards where once stood Darwin’s Beagle
Suddenly my sibling, you reek of cigarette butts and the greasy hamburger bun,
That which we poison everything, ourselves and everything, in reach with.
You no longer smell like pine wood, as a mother encircling her children,
But the aroma you give to us now is death, pestilence, the silence of the spring
And the weeping of the willows, the anger of the oaks, the frustration of the firs.
You are our mother, but soon you will have had enough.
Your love is not forever, because you are not forever.
Magical things do not exist, we cannot wish away the end which will come for all of us
Because the Death of the Earth and this life itself
does not discriminate against the lazy.
Death does not discriminate against the racists.
Death does not discriminate against the cruel, the evil, the cheats, the inconsiderate,
And those who exploit the innocence of our children,
The unborn which rest in every pregnant parent’s womb,
The vast number of poor, striving, aching, dying souls who can’t stand for themselves,
When the skies are grey and the filthy streets are decorated
By Red Bull cans and Coke bottles, that taunt them with the ability to
“Give them wings” and “share memories”
Though they are shackled to an Earth that cannot breathe.
What good is the ability to fly, if you cannot breathe the air you fly through?
What good is sharing memories and friendships, if all you remember is grey and dying?
The end does not care about the color of your skin,
Whether you speak Swedish or English, or Punjabi, or Arabic, or Hindi, or Farsi, or Spanish.
The end does not care about who you are,
How many likes you got on your selfie with your family.
The end does not care how many stocks you bought on Wall Street,
Or if you got a promotion.
You cannot bargain money with the end of the world.
You cannot bargain with the end through dollars or dimes, kronor or euros.
And that is the cold and bitter truth of reality,
My brothers, my sisters, my siblings, my family, my teachers and my students,
My children and my parents, my loves, my lives,
My beautiful humanity which I love and cherish, broken and trying to fly.
But though Death is indiscriminate, Life is all-inclusive.
And because we are alive, we have power.
Like the spirit of Paul Valery, and his coastal graveyard, by the sea,
“The wind also rises! We must try to live!”
We can see our futures from afar,
We have the science and the knowledge of how to avoid it
We can roll with the punches and save ourselves
Some are adapting, some are evolving
Because we realize the danger in not doing so.
Be like those sensible people.
Conform to the idea that the Earth should be respected.
Cry for the falling reindeer, cry for the planting of Big Corn,
Cry for the running of the engines, cry for the typhoon’s roar,
Howl and sing because your lungs can still take the oxygen they need,
While you can still grow tomatoes in the garden and fall in love
With the green of summer and the splendor of autumn.
Love your brother from the east and your sister from the west,
Love your mother from the south and your father from the north.
But by God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Brahma, Buddha,
Yes I dare to say it
By whatever deity you believe in,
Whatever spirits you hail,
Whatever theology you coexist with,
Don’t you dare stop.
Don’t you dare look back on your accomplishments, and grin with prideful glint.
Don’t you dare say to yourself, “I own the world and my life, so nobody needs to fix it.”
Because you will be damned, not by the hellfire of the devil or any religious figure,
But by the very rain that you acidify,
And the rotten stench of poisoned roses you’ll be buried with,
Because there will be no thriving flowers anymore.
By the heavens which open upon you the El Niño of ages,
Your skin will burn from the heat index,
And shatter from the melanoma of an unguarded ozone layer
Your air conditioning will fail you when the fans break like little, brittle overcooked snaps,
When Alaska receives the Taiwanese typhoons,
And Denmark becomes the Atlantis of the North
When Midsummer is no longer in Sweden, because everyone is dying of heatstroke
And the Midwestern United States is ravaged and whiplashed by a vicious cycle
Of Dust Bowls and monsoons.
If you sit in your room and gaze upon the LED of your smartphone, your tablet, your TV,
Your Call of Duty and your Super Smash Brothers, and think that you are blissfully ignorant and unconcerned with the goings and comings of the World,
Then you will be the most punished, to suffer the dull fall back into survivalism.
You will be the most grieved to drown in your own nostalgia of yesteryear,
The pain of looking back to when you could still feel the snow of winter
And the million-butterfly-flutter of spring
Unable to keep your head above the floodwaters, your heart will burst inside,
And you will feel a torturous existence for the rest of your life.
If you stand at your business meetings in front of your managers and bosses,
And think that the trade of warheads and weapons and oil and coal
Will pass on by your face,
You will find that the very same will return upon your lungs and your blood and your skin,
And you will terminalize into the most torturous of deaths,
Whereby your body takes in all the toxins you contribute to the air
And you will be forced to turn to your grandchildren, your family and friends, in the hospital
As they ask
Because everyone will pay for the ills that they’ve been inconsiderate for,
That they didn’t act on
What precious “secrets” they dared to call “theirs”, the perpetual existence of
Strip mining, diamond hunting, human slavery and torture abroad and among ourselves,
Our homes where we think is most safe!
It’s the mind game of several, many, selfish robot politicians,
Who play the game of power like that’s what they think life really is.
And you know, and you, and you, and you know too,
You all know what life is.
It’s in the people standing next to you, those you hold dear.
You’re standing on it, the grass!
You’re breathing it, the sky unpolluted by smog,
You’re touching it!
It’s time to act on that feelings, that emotion!
You’ve received the message loud and clear
You’re the in-group
You have the initiative
The ball is in your court, humanity
What will you do?
// Alex Hart