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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


by Thomas R. Smith

What are we, if not our dream of a better world?
Feudal times have returned to mock us, the names
of the new fiefdoms Halliburton and Exxon.

In the Pacific there's a floating mass of garbage
twice the size of Texas. (Google it.) It's spreading,
the first state of the country of the future.

When did we become a trash island filling
space between oceans? Was it when that foolish
actor's voice filled the space between our ears?

I felt sad hearing about Teddy Kennedy's brain
cancer. In Nineteen-eighty the door was still
open to a higher road we might have taken.

We killed our King and dumped his wealth in the sea.
Our talk became wind keening through the mouth
of a plastic bottle washed up on the beach.

Thomas, you cried listening to Al Gore's concession
speech because it meant that the lovers in the song
really were going to die hiding on the back streets.

Thomas R. Smith
is a poet and teacher in western Wisconsin. His most recent books of poetry are Waking Before Dawn (Red Dragonfly Press) and Kinnickinnic (Parallel Press).

Thomas R. Smith's "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is a New Verse News contribution to Blog Action Day, 15 October 2009.