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Friday, September 30, 2011


by David Thornbrugh

Somali pirates
skinny teens with Kalashnikovs
too ignorant to know how to say aargh matey
or cool enough to perch parrots on shoulders
thugs in small boats holding up our shipments
of Danish modern furniture for IKEA
or the latest Air Jordans for Nike or Puma
our way of life
depends on shipping and flights
and uninterrupted flows of food from foreign countries
who cares how it gets here or what shores it passes by

for twenty years off Somalia
factory fishing boats have been strip fishing
ignoring the local boats
sometimes shooting them up
for years ships from Europe have been dumping
toxic chemicals offshore of Somalia
that steaming pile of sand and ruins
landscape we know only from Blackhawk overflights
and Predator drone cameras

2004 the big tsunami washed mysterious barrels ashore
that burst open dumping radioactive waste
hundreds died
the West yawned

skinny black people sit on the shore watching the freighters pass
full of food and sneakers and clothes
while they starve and are naked
it’s great to shoot pirates
and not have to explain or respond to lawyers
or diplomats the great thing about anarchy is
having the biggest gun

David Thornbrugh is a Ring of Fire poet based in Seattle, Washington. In his poetry, he strives to make sense of existence, and to lessen some of the gloom he feels as the natural world fades further and further into the past and the future looks less and less viable. He finds life without humor not worth the effort, and the idea of being a poet in America pretty funny.