Wednesday, July 20, 2011

THE ROAD TO EVERYWHERE

I drive but my head is elsewhere,

flaming, flecked or flagrant

in wet, dewy, naked toe-games,

or face down in meadow gold-dust,

or devoured some place

by the wandering stream.



I have a road to contend with

but try telling that to the honeysuckle petals,

or the feel of the grass at night underfoot,

or the back of the restaurant

when our parents refused to let go the salad bar

and we smoked or did we kiss

or did we merely chase the raccoons

from the overflowing trash bins.



And my headlights beam such a reduced arc,

no way they can contend with

the antipodes of thought,

ambergris, phalanges, phlox,

breasts, lips, endearing eyes;

try telling that to a GPS system,

or a roughly thumbed Street directory.



The world is divided up into places cars can go

and routes where distances are yet imagined.

My foot knows only brake or accelerate.

My mind does both, asks “then what?”


ON A METALLIC DAY IN THE CITY


The one steel foot

in all of Manhattan

kicked the one lead football

over the head

of the strontium man.


FROM THE APARTMENT ON CENTRAL PARK WEST

Swaying

jobless men

hung from the stars

with string


BROOKLYN BRIDGE

crawling from the closet

shopkeeper

millworker

brass lizards from the bridge tower


John Grey

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dear Godfrey Logan,

The following poems are excerpts from my long poem, The De-Greening of America, an environmental history poem; each excerpt is separated by a quadruple space. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Michael Ceraolo


Love Canal.

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY
trumpeted the advertising slogan of a chemical company
(not the one responsible here)
A dubious statement,
but better profits through chemistry is undeniable

In the early 1900s
an American dreamer named William Love
had the idea for a an eleven-kilometer canal
that would connect two branches of the Niagara River,
around which he would build a utopian community
Economics derailed utopianism,
as it sometimes does,
after
one kilometer of the proposed canal had been dug,
and
in 1920 the city of Niagara Falls purchased the pit
for use as a dump,
and
it was used as such for twentysome years
In 1942 the pit,
known locally and colloquially as Love Canal,
was sold to the Hooker Chemical and Plastics company,
and for the next eleven years the company
dumped 22,000 tons of chemical waste into the pit
Knowing full well the hazards of its actions,
in 1953 the company sold the site
to Niagara Falls for one dollar,
accompanied by pages of disclaimers
legally deflecting blame
(blinded by boosterism and bargainism,
no red flags were raised in the eyes
of those protecting the public interest)
And a school and homes were built around the pit

For the next twenty-plus years
the buried chemical stew continued cooking,
even though it was covered and allegedly safe
People swam in the pond on top of the pit
In 1976 heavy rains and snows
caused some the land to subside,
bringing
the long-buried horrors to the surface
And
oily residues,
noxious and toxic odors,
chemical corrosion,
groundwater contamination and more
invaded the homes surrounding the pit
Four hundred and eighteen different chemicals,
including many known carcinogens,
had already done,
and continued to do,
their damage,
even after the complete evacuation of the area
in August 1978-----





And
the militarization of the earth was massive
and came in many guises
and in many degrees of lethality
and in many degrees of environmental damage,
starting
with early development of landfills
and extending to 14,401 'hotspots'
at 1,579 facilities
both here
and around the world
(that the Defense Department admits to)
Two instances:

Beginning
March 8, 1962,
and
continuing over a four-year period,
163,000,000 gallons of toxic waste,
left over from a chemical weapons program
was injected into a 12,000-foot-deep well
dug especially for that purpose
And
this caused more than 1,500
earth tremors and quakes and events
in the Denver, Colorado area,
an area that had not seen any such events
for more than eighty years prior
to the onset of the injections
And
when the military contemplated
withdrawing the waste from the well,
expert opinion stated that
the geological strata of the are
would be destabilized if this took place,
leading the unimaginable catastrophe,
and
the braintrust decided not to compound
its original mistake by making
a potentially greater mistake,
so
the waste remained in place to decay
for as long as that would take,
and
the site would stay unremediated till that happened

And the acme of anti-planning,
of anti-future,
of anti-life even,
was
the attempt to put the nuclear genie back in the lamp
after the initial wish had been granted,
by means
of burying a half-ton of plutonium
in the vicinity of Hanford, Washington,
a poison
that had a half-life of 24,000 years,
a poison
that would take ten times that time
to be rendered completely harmless,
a poison
that affected the water one drunk
and the food that all animals (including man) ate,
a poison
that will continue to do so
for twenty thousand generations in the future
And this is just one of a number of such sites
doing this damage





Water, Water Everywhere.

Plenty of those who proclaim themselves progressives
purchased bottled water from numerous companies
who took it from the watershed it originated in
and shipped it elsewhere,
for the profit
of the few who commanded the power,
to the detriment of the many who lived by the water;
while,
at the same time,
safe drinking water
was declared to be a human right
(as it always has been,
recognized or not),
and
whether the human right would supersede
the corporate right
(and might)
remained in doubt . . .




The law continued to be an ass,
particularly
with the doctrine of Damnum obsque injuria,
a fancy Latin adage that admits
We're responsible for the problem,
but so what?
No damages are assessed against us---





Once There Were Wetlands.

Technically,
as of the writing of this poem,
there still are,
though
half of the original wetlands,
an area the size of Texas,
have already been drained away,
have been derided as swaps and deemed health hazards,
and more are lost every day at a great rate
And thus have been lost
thousands of nature's great engineering projects,
ones that provided free flood control,
ones that epitomized effective erosion control,
ones that sponged up pollutants flowing through them
and kept surface water potable,
and
all of which have required the expenditure
of hundreds of billions of dollars
in extensive man-made engineering projects
that have attempted,
with wildly-varying
degrees of success,
to restore some of what was lost----





"If it concerns water
it is the function of the Corps"
that is,
the Army Corps of Engineers,
and so
the militarization of water began early
in the nation's history
And so
damming,
diking,
diverting,
building breakwaters,
flooding some land so that other land wouldn't flood,
channeling,
canalizing,
in total
over 26,000 miles of waterways conquered
in the war against nature;
the Corps was even authorized
by Section 13 of The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
to grant permits to pollute the nation's navigable waters!
And at more than just the environmental cost:
"In no single instance in the last several years
have they given us true figure
on estimated costs"
and well before
and well after that statement as well

And
the non-Engineer military did its share too:
contaminating wells with one of the acids
from the breakdown of Sarin nerve gas
(maybe in your backyard?) -----

-Michael Ceraolo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chapter Eleven

The church was renovated atop the
pool where it drowned on a
Saturday approaching noon prior
to the parents arriving home
the phone
did ring.


Friends:

a curious conundrum.

Prancing down stools. Beating you
to death. What is there to do?
I took up the saxophone. But,
my glands swelled to grapefruits.

I let the treasure go.

Behind the waste cap lying tigers
have eaten. I’ve seen it. Let me see it.

Never have I been
allowed to stay up, past
17 seconds prior to sunrise.

But I shall go to bed. Now.
The lamp is slowly dwindling.
The wonder.
I have more.


Pillow

I’ll be it
A loss
But fortune is gone
And the evening is growing
Too short
For my favor


Ten

But it was silence that crawled
through the rock bed uncoupling
the rabbit whores and all their
breast fed mothers scorching to
the ceiling form with the light
wall
did blow.


New Comers

I.

It hung deep blue from the last brigade, smoke
billowing to the north like an ancient.
Clicking twelve. Sunday morning.
“Why is it so wispy with the damned?” No secrets…Nothing sacred.

There are only the dead.

Salivating.

Despondent.

Coming to the western woods, moving through
the town, standing with a face to the east. They
do not look like the others. Bandaged. Weary.
Business to the mourning.

Coming.

Warning.

I know nothing
like these who now entertain my terrain. Asking
for this and that. The clock ticks.

Mother giving gifts to the children. Father teaching
violence for a price.

Look.

Mind.
II.

Kettle drum, clang! So much for six
or seven.
Holes burnt through the flesh
of centered byproduct. Positive positivity.

Cross the bridge. Make the trumpet ring.
Further climb, die in the after brush.

“Tweed the blankets? Zero down.”
Nothing ever happened. Lying in wait.

Surveillance looking to the late-night.

Lockets lying on the sheets.

I have become. They do not know me.
“Eat the hungry.” Wicked answer!
And there they bring the all.

Sun rising on the outer banks, seventeen
bringing hell to stow away. Poison, heaven;
feet ripping like a pull-away centipede. Oxen call,
site marks,

bending time bringing witness to an end. Falling deep
the holy water spoken spooking my senses; stymied
out the catch-all.

Pocket rushes not much better. Running runs it to the deep.


UNTITLED
(Poem)







Weariness delights my confession,
wrestling with the gun barrel on a shoe string trigger set,
mount the scallions,
bully the muzzles,
hold set and forth.
Transfer your newest paperwork to the captain,
No general,
upon completion of exposure,
no calm to the balance beam,
the battery is on fire,
was your mother clean,
nakedness comes to me again.







Why have you not pressed my soul,
the orders were to unleash the rounds,
hounds scream to the bayonet.
Trumpet,
Trumpet







My godless mount transpires fume blessing,
liquidizing the chain bullet ringers zooming by the Cadillac.
Screaming.







Toddlers walk the water park,
gasoline funneling down the tubes,
part parents drink cocktails.
Conclude.







Minstrel cats license each other for demolition and balletic machinery.
Push away from the shore,
paddle your fists,
find my blessing,
continue my glory,
Let loose upon the turnip hounds dressing it up to envision soil pups.



Now you are aware of my desire.

Garrett D. Tiedemann