I wrote this poem last night on a whim. It’s not super-poetic, just what came out while I was writing in my journal. It’s an indictment of myself, and no one else. A portrayal of myself as representative of all of us who feel powerless at the onslaught of bad news, day after day. Just like this guy.
I don’t mean to criticize people who like Facebook and TV — which is, of course, millions upon millions of people. I used those things to stand for all the things which serve to suck our focus, energy, empathy, life force. And the irony is that, for me, reading about all the terrible things that are happening — and making indignant comments as some or another avatar — is as just a ridiculous waste of time. Yes, I may be aware, but what good is it doing anything?
It’s hard to make any change while you are sitting — unless you are sitting on the street in protest as an Occupier, I suppose. But even they, who gave up the couch and the desk and the movie theater seat and the infectious complacency to rail against the machine, found it hard to effect any sort of change. The question is, what can we possibly do?
Some may say that it starts with you. Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And I do try. But there are billions of us, all dependent on systems that are not sustainable. And we’ve allowed corporations who have little thought for ocean health to have more power than national goverments. The result is we just keep connecting online. Reading each others’ comments. Worrying and wondering — what will the world be like in 50 years? Or in two?
Fast News Day
“Everyone Cheats,” Esquire declares,
While alJazeera features a three-page exposé
On ocean dead zones.
It’s already the 9th most-read.
We all know it’s true
Know about those gyres of plastic trash
Twice the size of Texas.
But we just keep clicking.
Sometimes we make a comment
Or respond to one another;
Mystery people, really,
Invisible friends and enemies out in cyber space.
What will they eat tonight? What will they dream?
What new news will make them cry
Or post a hundred comments
Each more futile than the last.
At least we’re not on Facebook
Posting updates about children’s tantrums
Or incessantly uploading pictures to Instagram,
A self-styled paparazzi jubilee.
At least we opt for the documentary, instead of
That Adam Sandler rip-off, eschew Glee and Mad Men
For a little bit of news.
Does it help to be aware of all the wreckage in the world?
The killed-off elephants, the endangered tigers;
If the last tree falls, where will you be?
Reading about it on Mother Jones at 3:30 the next day
And you think about it, then move on to the Huffington Post.