Coastal Poems

AT LEAST 4 GALLONS PER SECOND + Revision by Kaia Sand

at least 4 gallons per second

In the time it takes me to say this, at least 32 gallons of oil will have gushed out of the Deepwater Horizon site.

And now 40.

And now 48.

And now 56.

And now 64 gallons of oil.

In the time since this poem began, gushing out of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling site, I count 120 gallons of oil mixing into the Gulf of Mexico saltwater.

And now 128.

And now 136

And now 144

And now 152

And now 160 gallons

In the time since this poem began, rushing beyond the failed concrete seal poured by Halliburton, I count at least 200 gallons of oil

By this time tomorrow, at least 300,000 more gallons of oil will have leaked in to the Gulf of Mexico seawater.

This as I near sleep in a city near the Pacific, far from Gulf Coast, and near it, too. This, as I go on, burning oil BP drills for me each day, despite myself, oiled ease. This, as each second, more than 4 gallons of oil defy barriers and become the difficult ecology of now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STATEMENT #1

I hope this poem becomes irrelevant quickly. This poem is a ledger, an accounting of the movement of oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster as I go about my day: this poem grasps at simultaneity as a way to experience the local and the urgent-elsewhere, too. Revision of this poem is a way to update my ledger, my consciousness, and I have revised/updated the poem five times since the April 10 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. This most recent iteration is at 10:30 PM on June 23, 2010: I used the lower estimate released by National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Task Force (I converted into gallons—there are 42 gallons to a barrel—because it is easy for me to imagine a gallon of milk, and even then, subtracted the amount of oil that BP is supposedly catching, using numbers from the Environmental News Service). These numbers, then, are not an exaggeration; you can actually assume much higher numbers. This poem reported much higher numbers (20 gallons per second) a few weeks ago when none of the oil was “caught.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

at least 20 gallons per second

In the time it takes me to say this, at least 160 gallons of oil will have gushed out of the Deepwater Horizon site.

And now 200.

And now 240.

And now 280.

And now 320 gallons of oil.

In the time since this poem began, gushing out of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil drilling site, I count 600 gallons of oil mixing into the Gulf of Mexico saltwater.

And now 640.

And now 680

And now 720

And now 760

And now 800 gallons

In the time since this poem began, rushing beyond the failed concrete seal poured by Halliburton, I count at least 1000 gallons of oil

By this time tomorrow, at least 1.7 million more gallons of oil will have leaked in to the Gulf of Mexico seawater.

This as type in a coffee shop in a city near the Pacific, far from Gulf Coast, and near it, too. This, as I go on, burning oil BP drills for me each day, despite myself, oiled ease. This, as each second, more than 20 gallons of oil defy barriers and become the difficult ecology of now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

STATEMENT #2

BP removed the containment cap this morning from the Deepwater Horizon site, so now the oil is rushing out unchecked. I revised my poem-ledger at 10:45 AM June 23, 2010, to account for the abundant increase of oil.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit - Jessi Boykoff

Kaia Sand’s new book, Remember to Wave (Tinfish Press) and ongoing poetry walk investigates the political history and present-goings-on of a swathe of land in Portland, Oregon, where she lives. She is the author of a poetry collection, interval (Edge Books), a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year, and co-author with Jules Boykoff of Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space (Palm Press). Sand has created several chapbooks through the Dusie Kollektiv, and her poems comprise the text of two books in Jim Dine’s Hot Dreams series (Steidl Editions). She is currently working on The Happy Valley Project, poetry dwelling on the distribution of human dwelling, including housing foreclosures.

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