The environmental engineers
wrench petrified tree-corpses from the earth
and form a community circle, each one thrashing the spine-ditched back of the engineer in front of him
while the engineer behind thrusts his own misery through tired arms, through charred whip-fingers, and lets it shriek silently upon the blushing, mushrooming flesh before him.
Meanwhile the politicians
split the bill for the last great brown bear, and over bear and wine
assign a rhyme and rhythm to midnight’s naughty list, casting chocolate bets
which senator or custodian will be exterminated first, a circus procedure
by the toxic light of the last stars.
It is the end
of the world,
scrawl sadly the researchers with their bare toes
in the sludge that coats the floor of the gas chamber
where wires spit extra minutes of life intravenously into their sinews, leaving
the taste of a metro clarinet in their mouths, devoid
of speech and soon to be of breath
while their hopeful sea star specimens glisten in festering jars, skeletons crêped with skin.
It is the end of the world.
We who slept in her cradle, whose giggles breathed the apple-crunching slaps of fish abounding her rivers, we who wrote for her the first poems
now have twisted our crib’s mobile into our mother’s noose,
now have kicked the screen door closed
on the outside and the dust-death on the inside
but we can’t live
alone in outer space;
we are not stars.
The end of the world is a devastating thing, which is why
the teachers and the police and the veterinarians cross
their hearts with timber bones, wailing for forgiveness at the deaf round face of a smog-hazed moon. They all will die soon.
But the last writers, impossible to blame for all of this
(for they were as useless as a golden frog
in figuring out the cure to sea star wasting syndrome; and can’t be held
responsible for the engineers’ failure to invent a fuel that wasn’t an anti-sun)
The last writers wait, observe from afar,
dry of the blood,
words unscathed by the air-fire that crackles their throats.
In the midst
of the decease of all those who could have made a difference,
the impractical writers, fate-forgotten, will scratch their chins with pens
and stay, useless
but for to document it all.
For a slightly more scientific point of view on the point of no return that earthlings recently passed, see http://www.alternet.org/environment/time-save-world
Image credits in order of appearance:
By David Falconer, Photographer (NARA record: 1427627) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons