Archives for August 2010

Disposable People (in a Throwaway World)

Hello blogging friends,

It’s been a long time since I ‘ve posted to this blog, but I’ve been very busy writing a new poem, setting it as a blues song, and then struggling with recording it myself. I’ve included the song and the words below, and I do hope if any of you are singers, and find yourself interested in singing this song, you will contact me!

The song, Disposable People (in a Disposable World), was written after the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December. Since then things have gotten drastically worse. We have incredibly disastrous floods in Pakistan, India, and China, a killing heat wave in Russia, drought in Niger (and many other places), to list only a few. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we’ve had the coldest summer since 1972. In other places it’s been much hotter than usual. In Greenland, a huge chunk of glacier has fallen into the sea, threatening the sea lanes. This fall meteorologists have predicted a very bad hurricane season because the water temperatures are much higher.

And yet, the United States, the country that contributes the most to global warming, still refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, our government has made attempts to get other countries like Ecuador and Bolivia to sign on to the US’s own much reduced agreement (that effectively sabotaged the Copenhagen conference) by threatening to curtail aid to those countries. (The President of Ecuador responded by refusing to be either threatened or bribed, and offering instead, to pay the US the same amount of money if they would sign the Kyoto Protocol!)

In the past when I’ve started feeling helpless faced with global warming, war, and the self-destructive greed of humans, I’ve always thought about the smallness of the earth in the vastness of the universe as a kind of solace – a concept you will hear in the song. But the other day my friend Amy said to me, “But we don’t know what effect the death of the earth will have on the universe. It might be like the flap of a butterfly’s wings….” No solace left.

Click the link below to hear the song. Also wanted to let you know that my book, Dancing the Deep Hum, is on sale on my website only for $12 (rather than $18 on Amazon, etc.).  To find out more go to www.deephum.com .

Song:  Disposable Peo 8 10 10 mix_2

The words are below.

Disposable People
(in a Throwaway World
)
Dedicated to the memory of Andrea Lewis of KPFA

Planets dance around their orbits
Comets fly through space
Stars explode with shattering flame
Born anew they wax and wane
It’s all relative they say
Even if the earth dies,
Melting away ‘til it’s dry,
Stars will be alive.

And yet, and yet, I cannot reconcile
The life of one small child.

When rainfall drops
by forty percent in Darfur
Drought and famine lead to massacre.
Add the minerals for I-Pods,
Blackberries and more
Bringing more conflict and civil war.
Disposable people in a throw away world.

Collateral damage is the word we use.
Death of innocents in war.
But there is another war we wage
Where collateral damage is the rage.
War for profits for the few.
It’s all related, don’t you know?
Buying stuff, selling stuff, takes a toll.
What we’ve sold is our soul.

We’ve sold our soul.

And yet, and yet,I really don’t want to see
The death of the Maldives.
Thirty-nine nations,
Island nations
Swept away by the sea.

It’s all related, don’t you know?
Buying stuff, selling stuff, takes a toll.
What we’ve sold is our soul.
We’ve sold our soul.

Eleven thousand people live in Tuvalu.
No major industry.
Little carbon pollution.
Living the way we all should.
What did they ever do?
But the seas wash higher,
The seas grow warmer,
Cyclones grow fiercer
Every year.
It won’t be long
Before they disappear,
Like Lohachara,
Gone now.
Lohachara,
Lohachara
Musical sound.
Lohachara has drowned.

Planets dance around their orbits
Comets fly through space
Stars explode with shattering flame
Born anew they wax and wane
It’s all relative they say
Even if the earth dies,
Melting away ‘til it’s dry,
Stars will be alive.
We’ve sold our soul.