for Jonathan Skinner
How is it where you live? If there are no wealthy people and/or the poor are nurtured and protected, then maybe this exercise is not for you? I have been littering in wealthy neighborhoods with JOYFUL PROTEST for some time now! It is exciting to SEE “refuse” in the open, not hidden in landfills, if only for a moment. Here in Philadelphia taxes pay for uniformed workers to clean prosperous neighborhoods of cigarette butts, cans and wrappers all day, each day, while completely ignoring working class and poor communities. Philadelphia public school students have a 51 percent dropout rate, and 25 percent of the city’s population lives below the poverty line (That’s 1 in 4 people THAT’S 1 IN 4 PEOPLE!). The police patrol and protect the rich while they INFAMOUSLY threaten, beat and rob the poor (just ask Philadelphia Daily News reporters Barbara Laker & Wendy Ruderman). WE MUST RESIST! WE MUST BE RESISTANCE! Take initial notes on the class structure of where you live.
Save your “garbage” for a week, packaging, and containers, especially plastics. Take notes about each item, tracing its origin of production from label information or the manufacturer’s website. Find other companies they work with, for instance a candy bar needs chocolate from South America, and plastics, inks, and glue for wrappers. Trace on a map the distance each item needs to travel to the candy bar factory, then from the factory to your city. Calculate gasoline and oil consumption per mile. And consider that plastics are petroleum byproducts. And not just the packaging, but in fact many goods themselves are made from oil: hand lotion, shoes, ballpoint pens, disposable diapers, glue, rubbing alcohol, soda and milk jugs, credit cards, nail polish, ink, crayons, and more. Much of the modern world IS oil. Toys, televisions, telephones, microchips, luggage, cars, condoms, it’s in the air, water, soil, food, IT’S IN OUR BODIES! Take notes about oil, take notes about your discovery of oil consumption in ways you had never considered or realized. After immersing yourself in this information STOP! Then write nonstop for 30 minutes, WHATEVER comes to mind, just write! Let it flow! THIS is where the best language for our poems will arise!
Real change needs creativity and action! Using a black marker write suggestive notes on your “garbage”. Littering in wealthy neighborhoods is precarious but gratifying! Just IMAGINE them reading your used tampon marked US WAR! and puzzling over the message. Make the rich THINK! Or at least make their children think! OIL OIL EVERYWHERE! Write on old shoes, sandwich wrappers, cans, bags, snotty tissues, used condoms, THIS OIL WAR! On an empty bottle of hand lotion OIL THIS WAR! On a cereal box THIS FAGGOT WORLD VICTORIOUS! On a soda bottle YOUR SISSY CHILDREN SAVE THE WORLD FROM YOU! As citizens it is our duty to communicate the temperature of SUFFERING! Littering helps us SEE our planet’s transmuted elements before they’re swept into trucks and hauled to the dump, far, far away, leaking toxins into the water and soil. A tidy sidewalk does NOT EQUAL thoughtful, mindful citizenry! CITIZENS OF THE WORLD RISE UP AND FILL THE STREETS OF THE AFFLUENT WITH YOUR SHIT AND “GARBAGE” TODAY! Let them SMELL and READ the products of THEIR WARS! Write on your “garbage,” WE DEMAND A PLANET SAFE FOR ANIMALS AND OTHER HUMANS! Take notes about your littering excursions. Take notes about the neighborhoods you visit with your deposits. Take notes, take MANY notes, then STOP! Write for 30 minutes on autopilot. Always remember to carry your notes with you wherever you go to pull and wrench your poem into existence.