TWO POEMS by Frank Sherlock

from Very Different Animals

They are waving

goodbye or hello

What was I doing

that was so important

the day the water

died    Was I just

thinking could it have

been that deep

~~~~~~~~~~

–Frank Sherlock

~~~~~~~~~~

STATEMENT

I wish we knew what we think we know. Oceanographers like Dr. Sylvia Earle recognize what indigenous villagers of Grand Bayou understand. The fate of waters and our own fate are one. I’d like to say that we appreciate this too, but the disconnect between sustainability and casino capitalism largely remains unspoken. Not that nobody’s talking about it. The local voices of the Gulf Coast these days aren’t just talking, they’re screaming about it from their boats and in the streets. It’s been just about 5 years since the last man-made disaster crippled New Orleans. This August that anniversary will be marked by new funeral marches for oiled pelicans and dead livelihoods. There’s a new presidential face today, but the house money’s the same. So we voted for change, and our shores have since been attacked. How will we respond? A war on terror could detain BP’s Tony Hayward in an undisclosed prison until useful information is extracted to prevent future ecocides. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could face a Guantanamo Tribunal for the deaths of 1,300+ American citizens. Tweak the cliche. If our shorelines die, the terrorists win. It turns out my wish is already granted. We know more than enough to effect sustainability by holding its enemies accountable, including ourselves. Will we? This is deeper than poems because the protection of water requires our own sea change.

~~~~~~~~~~

Frank Sherlock is the author of OVER HERE (Factory School) and a collaboration with CA Conrad entitled The City Real & Imagined (Factory School). His New Orleans collaboration with Brett Evans is entitled Ready-to-Eat Individual (Lavender Ink). Feast Day Gone & Coming (Cy Gist Press) is a new chapbook forthcoming in June 2010. He is a co-founder of PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension and a native Philadelphian.

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