We are fucking with the biosphere. All the animals
in this planet's thin skin of life are dying, are starting
to wash ashore. Last week I found five grown pelicans
 baked in the permanent angles of death
on one beach above Santa Barbara. Next day
the chief nark of Mexico City was eaten by a wave
in revenge and fully clothed, then disgorged
on the sand, a limp mystery. There will be
more marvelous creatures yet come ashore
this winter in high wind, we will not know what is
until we discover its death.

We are fucking with the biosphere. Only my real shit
is biodegradable, the rest is a costly substitute
I make because my ass is too tight. But it's impossible
not to be an accomplice, I feel guilty
every time I touch plastic. In an ark of papyrus
floating on the ocean uncharted, Childe Heyerdahl
encountered technological debris, bearing West
down the centuries in search of the pure original edge
of World. He will never find it, it's gone,
a beer can marks where it sank
and the closing of Dream.

We are fucking with the biosphere. My house plants
are whining, they trouble my dream in behalf
of limp city trees. I light up, my smoke
is evil with chemicals developed for Nam,
I cough like an Edsel exhaust, endlessly,
and wake in insecticide sweat, reach
for the breast of my love. But her milk is unfit
for the public health, by actual tests
that are too hot to handle and measure
how first from her tainted comfort my child
absorbs my death, the dark dragon that acts
through each touch of my care.

We are fucking with the biosphere. Our cities decompose
from the center out, like flags of lichen
on a granite globe, like the patches of life
in an over-ripe culture under the gun
of the microscope. Distilled in gleaming tubes,
Rinso White sponsors the grandest opera yet,
a mellow drama in the suicide of species, starring
*!!~*THE COLLAPSE OF THE ECOSPHERE *~!!* Do you need to ask
what we're acting out in planet theater
by the greeds of power, our blocked and intimate
anger, when it’s amplified by technology
that permits us to hide a tape recorder
in a word as small as trust? Can't you see
your very own Defense Industry working overtime
to clean up the beach, foaming the dark
from its smile, embarrassed to register up-front
that its business is biocide?

We are fucking up the biosphere. It may already
be too late, who knows? wouldn't that be funny,
to happen like that, unnoticed? One bright morning
 there's a knock on your door, it's a telegram
from the President, to certify your premonitions:
We regret to inform you of the death
of Green … blah blah … official study
confirms … blah and may I offer sincere apologies
for an irreversible process? or in the vernacular,
'sorry, we goofed.' Wouldn't your heart leap
like a stranded dolphin, as the tide drew back
down the time of your arteries, exposing
the creatures of sea-history? and wouldn't you rush
like a wave of comprehension
up that violent street, jump from the Sunday sofa
like any boy whose dad's just told him
he need never feel forced to mow the grass
no mo, no never no mo, no mo?


15 October 69
Michael Rossman

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