Green Privilege

 

Generators drone exhausting blue

smoke

like stationary lawnmower engines—

can’t be

without the life breath of electrons

now can we?

No.

 

We pull together, shelter those in need

fight the good fight, now and for the future

at the polls and in our homes

and rail against the P the G and E

the lavish lives of management and board

and all the others held to blame,

 

but this outage outrage is on us all.

Whatever needed to be done was not:

Paradise is lost—

and now so may we all be

as flames race the wind and blacken the vine

we reap red cinders in the storm

and warm salt water

soon will lap upon our lawns.

 

But save the frozen chicken, save the milk!

(The booze we drink at any temperature.)

Save the electrons in the batteries

so we can turn them into photons

in our lanterns and devices,

save the date

the coming of the deadly winds is on

my weather app,

save the trees, the roots, the stock, the seeds,

save the planet and the plant

where my mother used to work.

Save the workplace,

the occupations and the meanings

of our lives: SAVE THE ARTS.

Save the country, as Laura Nyro sang,

save our children’s    children’s    children’s

future

save the waters of the salmon and smelt,

save yourself and everyone you love,

but don’t save the money—

spend it all to save the rest.

 

I am sure we all do what we can.

To save anything, first we must survive.

We are all heroes in our own struggle.

We save our memories and use them

to fuel the fires of our best intentions,

for who will save us now from blistered skin

if not ourselves?

 

But some do more than others.

Support them. Cherish them.

Honor them in life and death.

See them

on the front lines with their hoses,

dozers on the smoking slope,

many so-called volunteers from prison,

a dollar an hour, two for the day,

not really choice, just more modern

slavery,

the trauma team, the cops, the EMT’s,

dispatchers, techs, and line crews,

the press who make the people’s interest theirs,

the victim/heroes helping as they bleed,

the endless twenty-four-hour shifts,

no start of day, no end of night,

for us

and know them for the saviors that they are:

their bodies

through fear fatigue and pain

are focused on their jobs,

their minds

on mothers, fathers, lovers, friends,

and strangers

for whom they may at any moment

give their lives,

on fire, water, ashes, blood,

and tears,

lonely despair that can’t be acknowledged

or they — and we — are lost.

 

So, what to do

when in the morning light of day returns?

Fire up

my five-horse-power Snapper

don

my ear protection,

and mow a lawn

too moist, too lush, too thick, too green

to burn.