Home > Literature, The Environment. > Angry Poetry Week: Trajectory of the ‘Civilized’ – Michelle Beltano Curtis

Angry Poetry Week: Trajectory of the ‘Civilized’ – Michelle Beltano Curtis

Our next poem for angry poetry week comes from Michelle Beltano Curtis, who writes the blog Carving Out a Voice. Michelle writes about a number of issues, including themes about feminism, the environment, otherness, sexuality, aging and illness, in a very distinctive unmitigated voice. Her work has appeared in Ginger Piglet, Voice It!, Lambda Literary Review, and more.

This particular poem from Michelle rails against humanity’s systematic destruction of our planet in the name of Man’s one true god, capitalism. It contains disturbing imagery, and is a very haunting, angry condemnation of the nearly irreversible damage we have managed to wreak upon our planet in a very short time. 

Without further adieu, I give you:  

Trajectory of the ‘Civilized’
Michelle Beltano Curtis
 In honor of Allen Ginsberg
 
                        I
 
The inventor’s hands are speeding cars
following roadmaps of the damned,
metal and glass and gleaming light
of power plants and toy factories
expelling great gasps of endless vapors
hexavalent chromium, strontium chromate,
toxins in our air tongues can only trip on,
turn lakes and rivers neon green, vapid blue,
unthinking orbs mark the journey
skies a burnished haze of baby shit at dawn,
and aren’t the evening skies of dusk delightful
in rainbow shades of obliteration?
An unnatural world in endless trails of duplication
we buy for bottom dollar with the click of a mouse.
Instant gratification for our ultimate destruction.
 Hidden at last in heated ash of an angry Sun
we forgot to fear, respect, worship,
trailing incense, canted whispers,
aberrant kisses for Moloch as the forgotten
ends of some unjustified means bring us closer to the end—
 
to pyramids of rotting flesh, burnt offerings
for Madagascan cockroaches
in endless ecstasies—putrid meat
in razor jaws, and we’re on top where
always they insisted we should be,
skin excoriated by excruciating heat,
querulous children with castigated raisin eyes.
Blank sockets occupied once by pale marbles of
millennia ago— before we discovered the interstellar cacophony,
invented macros for love and invention, bought-sold-bartered
love, friends, sex, emotion, through airwaves
once meant for the simple act of sustaining life, breath.
 
                        II
 
Pale marbles in a vertical reality of grasslands and hippopotami
with angular jaws echoing like caverns
their trembling of equine energies,
organic angels without harpsichords
or unrequited love or beards and skirts
or adam’s imperfection; that fucking rib.
No vindicated harpes of eve
or revelations of marriage beds or boys in backseats
no sin on their minds none existed.
Just thumping flesh and pulsing tides
of tangled ecstasy and moaning limbs,
fucking and crying; enraptured motion and ethereal air
amid fat raindrops or crystalline stalactites
of winter’s clean, crunchy breath.
 
Death was life, cyclical journey of cleansing,
fertilizing the roots of new creation
within the ruins and the world cracked open
in splendiferous greens and vibrant hues of red, ochre, azure,
earth’s children huddled in the bosom of her
protective ranges; no us, them,
only all—in the occupation of survival
in the same rhythm of the world, freed
in the youth of the world to flourish to harvest to die
again and again.
 
                        III
Moloch, they worship you and they will sacrifice us all, and in our blind
passivity we deserve your sweltering damnation.
In the end, only that which birthed us will survive to mend
herself among cooling surf and settling rock to create anew
her own treasures of tree and pheasant and monarch.
And in a million years the scientists and archeologists who begin to discover
remnants of a world torn asunder will someday shake their heads at our
foolhardiness while they marvel at our cleverness
all the while fear brings a palsy to their people upon the revelation –
of greed among their own.

 
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  1. March 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

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