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Friday, April 29, 2016


by Sarah Sadie

“The current slump in frac sand mining has brought about new problems for residents who live near inactive mines because companies have abandoned the sites and are no longer watering huge sand piles to control silica dust. Wright noted two-thirds of the sand that is used in the hydraulic fracturing method of extracting oil and gas in the United States comes from western Wisconsin -- which has led some in the industry to call the region the ‘Saudi Arabia of Sand’.”  —, April 21, 2016. Photo: Frac sand mining operation in Wisconsin via Grassroots North Shore.

Remember before Barriques moved—
the one on Monroe, with the warped wood floors, the tables
too big or too small for our laptops, notebooks, notes and soups.
We’d go over submissions, catch up on festivals, phone calls,
calendars, email, whatever came next,
and one table over, the hummus plate overheard,
interrupted, “You’re looking  for someone speaks Spanish?
I know someone, matter of fact,
she’s native, bilingual, looking for work—”

But we were poets with no money to pay,
so no help to her. He shrugged then, “Poets?
You know, you ought to write—” he backed up. “I’m in sustainable ag. You ought to write—this fracking—nobody wants it. Out in Western Wisconsin? None of ‘em want it. But last night they had a meeting, here at the Capitol, vote taken. And no one allowed to speak. No one. What kind of a—You should write about that. About fracking. About what’s happening. And up North, with the mine. You know, people in Madison ought to get out and see, see the devastation out there—then they wouldn’t—”

We muttered something, nodding, We’re trying. Yes. We know. We know.

“You know why, right?” he asked.
“Because. They don’t want to hear it.
Whatever we’ve got to say, they just don’t want to hear it.”

Sarah Sadie’s chapbook Do-It-Yourself Paper Airplanes was published by Five Oaks Press in 2015 and a full-length collection We Are Traveling Through Dark at Tremendous Speeds is now out from Lit Fest Press. She teaches here and there and hosts occasional retreats for writers and other creative types.