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Monday, June 25, 2007


by Robert Anbian

Don’t drink the bottled water,
it’s stolen. It came from the mountain
and flowed through the town,
where people drank and swam,
where they pissed under the sun, where
they let their sewage collect downstream
where it quaked and stank
until the rains flooded
and swept the banks clean. Who
can deny it? Man is a beast.
He thirsts and goes mad without water.
His shit stinks, but water washes it away.
He raises his face to the warm rain
and heedlessly thanks the heavens.
Tell me, friend, who owns the clouds?
Who owns the time of day the rain falls?
Who owns the riverbed and the cracks in the earth?
Now the water is invisible.
It’s a trickle dying in the sand.
It’s a whirlwind of dust blowing
through towns and villages, where once
men had dug ditches to slake the fields
and women cleared ponds to collect the rain.
Now the water’s running away in a parallel world
of steel pipes and gleaming reservoirs.
Now it’s a Dutch-American-Sino-Arabian concern.
Now it flows via a constant percussion of pumps
until it comes tumbling from the tap smelling
of chemicals and costing locals three times as much.
Now it’s sold worldwide in plastic bottles
adorned with pristine alpine scenes
and costing as much as milk, or a day’s wage,
for most souls on this godforsaken earth.
Do you think the air you breathe today
is free when already it’s traded
on the open market of cancer futures?
Don’t drink the bottled water, friend,
as if your life depended on it.

Audio samples from the poetry and jazz CD, "Robert Anbian and the UFQ: Unidentifed Flying Quartet," are available at www.myspace/robertanbianandtheufq and a video of "Haikus for the White House" is at The CD is available from