On the Occasion of a 9.1 Earthquake
And the earth jiggles like the bosom of a crazed dancer.
And concrete dominoes smack each other and
A worn nuclear power plant is bruised up and
Popped like a ripe banana
Dropped into boiling salt water like sea food,
Turning red as the water grows hotter
Screaming radioactive steam into space
Even as the waters in Tokyo begin to glow in the dark,
We must have these things in this way.
We must have attack dogs and
Policemen willing to use lethal force
And the ability to make toast with radioactive electricity,
And dreams that glow during an eclipse.
As the biggest moon in decades rises over the smoking ruins of a nuclear pile,
We read that 10 million units of something like
Which used to be sealed away in science
Inside a concrete containment vessel
Is no longer a mythical, mathematical mummy.
The stone has been rolled away by the blast of
Hydrogen seeking oxygen with a vengeance.
We are certain we need this energy.
For something, something…
We don’t know what.
But we are working had on finding the answers.
All of them,
Once we have enough energy to power Deep Think
Or Deep Thought,
Or whatever we shall call our new electronic master
Once we have built him,
He will tell us why radioactive toast was a good idea after all.
Shifting the Planet Off Its Axis
Continents aren’t meant to play jump rope
Or to smash one another in the face
Like hockey players
Or play catch with buildings of a major industrial nation.
But sometimes they do.
All the things we failed to nail down in our haste
To build more and newer and bigger and brighter things
Rip loose from their flimsy moorings
And going flying off into space—an inch or too—
Until like cartoon characters,
they remember gravity,
And come crashing back down,
broken in two.
10 Million Times Normal
What does that even mean?
Enough radiation to kill 10 million men?
Or to kill one man 10 million times?
Or do the radiation workers
get to be happy
for 10 million more seconds
before their eyes sink into their heads,
and their hair thins and recedes
and all their teeth fallout,
and their bowels turn to blood.
For a 30 year old man it would be like
Ding, Ding, Ding.
I will take 10 million more seconds of life,
Less than half a year,
For the happy, happy radiation workers, Alex.
For those who are about to die,
We salute you.
Draw back the brackish waters
Briefly taking what you once gave so freely
Offering the world the wonder of stranded fish flopping on wet sand.
And the world is water…
torrents, sheets, pools, rivers, lakes, oceans of water,
a planet full of water.
Sometimes man forgets that the earth is 3/4 covered with water.
Nature is here to remind you
and none too gently.
There was no use looking at it.
So she turned her back and walked.
She went out on to the beach–that wasn’t there yesterday.
She smiled at the wonders she had found.
“Look” she said excitedly to her husband.
“Not everything was washed away. “
“I found her bridle!”
who cared for his wife,
as he did no other living thing,
failed her utterly, nonetheless.
As she smiled hopefully and looked into his eyes
he dropped his guard and for an instant,
a look of dread briefly appeared on his face
and was gone just as quickly.
In that moment his wife was crushed.
It was as though the waves had come again.
She dropped the bridle in the sand
and walked on down the endless beach
crying silently now,
her husband shuffling close behind.
Somewhere behind them,
lay the horse she loved for many years.
The horse that would never wear that bridle again.
Burning out their radioactive half lives.
Men used up like a book of matches.
Taken from their day to day lies,
flaring up brightly as they
hold back the invisible with the inevitable.
Used up and disposed like toxic waste.
Waiting for the day when the tumors show up.
Hoping they won’t live that long.
Fire Flowers and Radioactive Oceans
A radiant sun over a radioactive sea
It rained radiation down on the fields and farms
We grew radiation in bunches like carrots
At night we skimmed phosphorescent bacteria
From the radio waves.
And the next day we ate foods that glowed in the light
And forced brand new shiny widgets
Down radioactive production lines.
And we ran in the radioactive rain
Past the downed power lines.
And the mud.
Road Trip to the End of the World
Liquid stone, so hot it would make bones melt.
with molten metals in its veins
and burning eyes that glow all night long.
Cherry blossoms and ash clouds.
Disfigured by nuclear fire.
Scalded by boiling oceans.
Soon you will ooze liquid cement from every pore.
When they only used water,
none could satisfy your hellish appetite for long.
A man-made volcano.
He is my pet fire,
or so you told your neighbor.
he does not bark or bite.
He breathes fire now and again
but we need to him
he makes good toast.
Fire flowers cooled by ocean waves.
Drawn up from a pool of liquid fire.
An sea of flames.
A pool of acid.
Etched in salt water and rimmed in radioactive dreams.
Purified until the brink of death.
Stones with hearts of fire.
The rock that burns.
Pouring saltwater on old molten wounds.
Washed in burning blood.