TWO POEMS + VIDEO [Mourning and Witnessing Walk for the Gulf Coast] by Carolyn Zaikowski


Life roars
the centipedes crawling
miraculous sticks,
leaf capillaries,
colors are.

Nuclear bombs exist
but during the moon
when all was apart,
you leapt into the lake
and extracted my roots

When we are radioactive,
lucent with the split,
this is what we will remember



Beneath the army boot
between all violated thighs,
torn hooves, trimmed wings,
under shattered tusks and bloody fingers

Past the desecrated moss
past lacerated feet and ears
clogged gills, bruised breasts
between lashes on skin and feathers

Above the sick organs,
the rotten milk,
the aching backs and godlike bombs,
the tawny-tinted bullets

Beyond words that are knives
and brash thefts of lives, we gather
I didn’t know I needed you
We were horrified by our mutual reflections

We are proof of each others’ bodies,
the body of the earth

The grand rape is over
Silence’s history is sung
The clarity of the ocean
spills over the yellow grass
the uncouth vines
the dogs and chickens
the bobcats and archipelagos
bathing war-blasted lands
and colonized minds
touching all the enslaved
after so much yearning

You animal, I animal
Earth and death riddle

We see one another
and the lock on the golden cage melts at last




Witnessing and Mourning Walk for the Gulf Coast
Northampton, MA, USA
July 3rd 2010

We are here today as individual members of many communities, unaffiliated with any official political or religious organizations. We partake in this silent gathering and walk for the following reasons: We wish to publicly mourn and witness the unspeakable destruction of the Gulf Coast’s ocean, animal, plant, and human communities. We wish to publicly acknowledge and pay respects to the enormous loss of ecosystems and individual bodies. We feel despair, and are at a loss for how to help or move forward. We recognize that, in the face of this disaster’s enormity and what it represents, we are at risk for becoming disillusioned—for shutting down our wellsprings of love, potential, connection, and our drive for a better world. We are here to mindfully contemplate our personal lifestyles, cultures, communities, and possible steps towards individual and collective change, so that we might prevent such atrocities in the future. Without aggression towards ourselves or others, we wish to draw attention to how we personally and collectively, despite our best intentions, factor into this disaster. We invite all people to partake in this mourning, witnessing, and contemplation.

Witness, breathe, & liberate!


Carolyn Zaikowski is a performer, writer, and social worker. Her critical and creative work can be found in Monkey Puzzle, NOO Journal, Fact-Simile, We Are Champion, Apothecary, Nebula: A Journal of Multipdisciplinary Scholarship, and others. She is also the author of the chapbook, Ouch, Humans. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Visit her online at

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